A former KPMG companion who went bankrupt after investing in French ski chalets is suing legislation agency Herbert Smith Freehills for allegedly inflicting him to lose his job by tipping off KPMG about his debt issues when he requested for authorized recommendation.
Graham Martin, a companion at KPMG Singapore, requested Herbert Smith to signify him in July 2017 after lenders secured a worldwide freezing order towards him and sued for money owed of £3.26mn linked to his funding in three chalets in Chamonix.
Martin has filed a £22mn authorized declare towards Herbert Smith within the Excessive Court docket in London after it shared particulars of his threat of chapter with KPMG — a shopper of the agency — which he alleges induced him to lose his job.
In courtroom paperwork seen by the Monetary Instances, Martin mentioned Herbert Smith had opted to “please and procure favour” with its long-term shopper KPMG “somewhat than adjust to its obligation of loyalty” to him. Martin accused Herbert Smith of breach of fiduciary obligation, negligence and breach of confidence.
Herbert Smith, which turned over greater than £1bn within the 12 months ended April 2021, is among the many largest worldwide legislation companies primarily based in London.
The agency mentioned: “We’re assured that Mr Martin’s declare has no advantage and the agency will defend it vigorously.” It should file its defence to the declare subsequent month.
In line with the declare, Martin employed Herbert Smith in a private capability in July 2017 to struggle a authorized motion introduced towards him by lender Creditforce after he borrowed cash to develop the chalets, which later contributed to his chapter.
Martin, a restructuring adviser at KPMG Singapore, requested Herbert Smith companion John Corrie to defend him in a Excessive Court docket listening to in regards to the freezing order.
The lawsuit alleges Martin informed Corrie he didn’t need KPMG to find out about his monetary scenario till he had reached a settlement with Creditforce, however that on the identical day that Martin despatched him papers regarding his money owed, Corrie informed KPMG’s London workplace about his shopper’s debt issues and subsequently informed them that the freezing order was in place.
KPMG then handed this data to its Singapore workplace, together with the chance Martin could be made bankrupt.
Martin’s authorized declare summarises Herbert Smith’s place as being that Corrie explicitly obtained Martin’s consent to inform KPMG that the agency was aspiring to signify him concerning the debt points — one thing Martin denies. Corrie is just not named as a defendant within the case.
After KPMG Singapore was informed about Martin’s monetary scenario, he was known as right into a sequence of conferences with the agency’s administration, at which he requested time without work, earlier than he was stripped of his management positions, in keeping with his declare.
Martin, who reached a settlement with Creditforce on this interval, mentioned he tried suicide after being faraway from his management roles.
He claims he was left with no possibility however to resign in February 2018 and that he may have saved his job if he had been in a position to break the information of his monetary scenario to KPMG himself after he reached a settlement together with his lender.
He was subsequently made bankrupt in June 2018.
Corrie, Martin and KPMG declined to remark.
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