Nobody was really surprised when the Irish government finally confirmed that it had accepted an EU rescue package including a £3.2bn loan from the UK.
But what was surprising, however, was the UK Treasury’s decision to pick Allen & Overy (A&O) over longstanding adviser Slaughter and May on the bailout, as exclusively revealed by Lawyer2B.com’s sister title The Lawyer on Monday (read more).
Slaughters had been widely seen as having a lock on high-end Treasury work since the start of the banking crisis in September 2007, when it acted on the restructuring of Northern Rock. Between then and December 2009 the firm pulled in £33m in fees from Treasury work alone.
It is understood that A&O won the Irish mandate without the Treasury putting the work out to tender. Global banking chief Mike Duncan and special global counsel Philip Wood, who headed the banking group in the 1990s, are leading on the transaction.
The Treasury attracted criticism last year from the Liberal Democrats, when they were in opposition, after it emerged that Slaughters had netted £22m in fees between 2007 and 2009.
Elsewhere, almost all talk this week has focused on WikiLeaks and the arrest of the website’s editor-in-chief Julian Assange who is being advised by Finers Stephen Innocent media partner Mark Stephens (read more).
Assange appeared in front of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (7 December) but was denied bail in a hearing related to possible extradition to Sweden.
The WikiLeaks boss was arrested at a London police station at 9.30am on 7 December by officers from Scotland Yard’s extradition unit. He has been accused of one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape by Swedish authorities. Two women in Sweden claim they were sexually attacked by Assange in separate incidents when he visited the country in August.
Assange denies the charges and claims the arrest represents an attack on media freedom after WikiLeaks released thousands of classified US government documents. And despite Assange’s arrest the revelations continue.