Clydes and Irwin Mitchell brought in on Abacha case

Byrne & Partners, the firm set up by former Decherts fraud specialist partners, has brought in Clyde & Co and Irwin Mitchell to act for the family of deceased Nigerian dictator General Sani Abacha in pending High Court litigation.

Bernard O’Sullivan, the relationship partner for the Abachas who is now at Byrnes, has brought in the two firms to act in the so-called ‘security vote’ action that will determine whether the Abachas stole $2.2bn (£1.3bn) from Nigeria.

Irwin Mitchell partner Peter Wylde is leading a team for Mohammed Abacha, the son of the Nigerian dictator, and Clyde & Co’s experienced fraud partner Julian Connerty is acting for the general’s former partner Abubaker Baguda. It is understood that they were brought in, at least in part, because of a potential conflict if Byrnes represented Mohammed Abacha or Baguda in this action.

The security vote action will be preceded by actions starting in the High Court today in which Mohammed Abacha will be represented by Byrnes.

The firm, which recently won a High Court action unfreezing some of Mohammed Abacha’s assets held in London accounts, is currently fighting a request by Jersey authorities for Baguda to be extradited to the island. In the High Court, Mr Justice Neuberger has rejected claims for more of Mohammed Abacha’s funds to be released to fund his litigation in Luxembourg and Liechtenstein.