Corruption to Another?
Gibraltar Judge Promoted to Supreme
Rod Dozor in Gibraltar and Victor L. in New
February 11, 2010 (updated December 6, 2010)
After nearly three years
of vacancy of the position of Gibraltar Chief Justice, on February 1, 2010, the Governor of Gibraltar announced
the appointment of judge Anthony Dudley as
the island judiciary's new chief.
Previous Gibraltar Chief
Justice Derek Schofield was suspended in September 2007 amidst
investigation of corruption. In November, 2009, the Privy Council
chaired by Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, ruled: “We’ve reached the
conclusion that the actions of the Chief Justice and his wife have
rendered his position as Chief Justice of Gibraltar untenable”,
The Lawyer reported. The decision also said: "The conduct of
the Chief Justice has brought him and his office into disrepute."
Dudley, the new Mr.
Justice of Gibraltar, now has a difficult task of cleaning up the office
of the Chief Justice in order to bring the credibility to the tiny
island's court system. However, allegations that Dudley's own
appointment was a product of his foul play persist.
Days before Dudley's
appointment, he concluded a long tumultuous case relating to a much
reported battle over the inheritance of Badri Patarkatsishvili, a
Georgian billionaire-philanthropist who passed away in London in March
2008, under murky circumstances. Allegations persist that the tycoon was
murdered by his former partner Boris Berezovsky and his estranged-wife Inna
Gudavadze, often dubbed "black widow" in Eastern European press, to seize control of his fortune. Dudley handed Gudavadze
victory in the case.
Ousted Gibraltar Chief Justice
"brought his office into disrepute"
Dudley's decision, reports appeared about Gudavadze openly
boasting that she secured the favorable decision in Gibraltar court
because her lawyer, British Lord Peter Goldsmith promised Dudley "to pull strings in London" to get
promoted to the post of Gibraltar Chief Justice. Gudavadze subsequently
denied making these statements. But doubts remain..
Gibraltar, a flourishing tax haven, is a tiny
3.5 KM enclave
with a population of 29 thousand is located at the southern tip of Spain. Gibraltar is an
overseas territory of the United Kingdom. Gibraltar’s senior judges are
formally appointed by the Queen of England through her Gibraltarian
significant number of sub rosa offshore trustees because of its
laws permitting to disguise identity of the real owners with complex
unregulated trust structures. Especially popular are the so-called
"asset protection trusts". IMF and other international organizations
advise that despite certain improvements in the Gibraltar legal
framework, activities linked to money laundering, corruption and drug
Lord Goldsmith, a former
U.K. Attorney General, dubbed "Lord of Controversy" for his admitted
extra-marital affairs and much reported U.K. - Saudi shady arms deal, was Gudavadze’s lead counsel in
Gibraltar new Chief Justice
The record of Gibraltar proceedings is
plagued with the perjurious testimonies of Gudavadze’s witnesses. In June,
2008, Esther Meimoun, a former common law wife of Joseph Kay, Gudavadze’s
principal opponent in the Badri's estate battle, filed a
her previous affidavit. Meimoun explains that
Gudavadze contacted her after hearing about her falling out with Kay.
Gudavadze paid for Meimoun’s ticket from Miami to London and for
accommodations in the five-star Hilton Park Lane Hotel. The pair met at
Gudavadze’s mansion in Surrey, where Meimoun stayed overnight. Next morning Meimoun
was driven to the office of Goldsmith. There, she signed a sworn
statement prepared by Goldsmith which was "completely
untrue". For her signing of perjurious sworn statement Gudavadze paid
Meimoun €19,231.21 (approximately US$35,000) with a promise of paying her "an
additional success fee" of €1 million (approximately US$1.4 million) if
Gudavadze wins in Gibraltar. Meimoun attaches to her affidavit a copy of
the wire transfer.
Meimoun apologized for her previous "false
and misleading statements" and said: "I realized that I have made a big
mistake in making the first statement " Meimoun explains
that she did so "because [she] was very angry with Joseph Kay", and "because
[she] wanted to receive that money [she] provided them with a statement even though
[she] knew the contents of it to be untrue."
David Aim, a young French-Moroccan, another Gudavadze
witness in Gibraltar, admitted on
cross-examination* that he was paid $30,000
per month by Gudavadze for part-time "consulting" consisting
solely of providing testimony in the Gibraltar case. Aim testified that he
also was offered a "bonus" when Gudavadze prevails.
Nonetheless, in January 2010,
for Gudavadze. Gudavadze’s opponents appealed. Peculiarly, on appeal
from his own decision, Dudley also sat as the appellate judge, even though
Gibraltar law expressly prohibits this. Dudley quickly dismissed the appeal.
corruption" one lawyer familiar with the case said.
Dudley declined our
request for comment.
* SEE COURT DOCUMENTS BELOW
statement of Esther Meimoun
Excerpt from court testimony of David Aim
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