Former SFO chief heads up Cameron McKenna inquiry

Cameron McKenna has instructed George Staple, former head of the Serious Fraud Office, to investigate allegations that are contained in two unfair dismissal claims against the firm.

Top fraud lawyer Monty Raphael, senior partner of Peters & Peters, has been instructed by lawyers acting for the complainants.

Staple is head of Clifford Chance’s financial services investigations and disputes department. The Lawyer understands he has been given until the end of this week to investigate allegations in claims brought by former lawyers in Cameron McKenna’s CIS group, Dmitri Chebotarev and Natasha Thomson.

The allegations are understood to be in addition to the allegations of sex and race discrimination made against the firm in Chebotarev and Thomson’s claims. The CIS group is headed by Elena Kirillova.

Jill Andrew, a partner at Langley & Co, who is representing Chebotarev and Thomson, says: “We have been advised by Lewis Silkin, who have been instructed by CMS Cameron McKenna, that their clients are currently investigating our clients’ claims and that George Staple of Clifford Chance has also been instructed in this regard.

“It is evident from the available information that these claims raise issues which go beyond the scope of normal employment claims. We have offered to assist on a number of occasions with the appropriate investigations but so far we have not been requested to do so.

“Further, we too have sought additional support in these matters and, in particular, have previously consulted Monty Raphael of Peters & Peters.”

Cameron McKenna managing partner Robert Derry-Evans and senior partner Bill Shelford released a statement saying: “As is now public knowledge we can confirm that two former employees Dmitri Chebotarev and Natasha Thomson are making claims against the firm following redundancy. Lewis Silkin have been instructed by us in this matter.

“However, in view of the nature of certain allegations, for which to date we have not found any supporting evidence, we have asked Clifford Chance to make inquiries and report back to us. Until this is completed we would not propose to make any further comment.”