Tax lawyer sues SFO and Law Society

The Serious Fraud Office and the Law Society are being sued for linking an Isle of Man tax solicitor to jailed fraudster Charles Deacon, a lawyer who swindled clients out of £5 million.

The case has all the trappings of a James Bond film with the writ highlighting a complex investment scheme involving gold deposited by the former president of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos.

The writ also makes reference to plans for the gold to be transported in US warships to the former Soviet Union.

Isle of Man practitioner Patrick Taylor is claiming damages for malicious falsehood. Monarch Assurance, where Taylor is managing director, is also a plaintiff.

Former SFO employee Katherine Mckenzie and Neil Rogerson of the Law Society's compensation fund in Leamington Spa are also named as defendants.

Taylor is being represented by London firm Jeffrey Green Russell.

The writ refers to a complex investment scheme allegedly sketched out in a letter from the SFO's Mckenzie to the Attorney General of the Isle of Man.

The letter, which is contained in the writ, talks about an investment plan Taylor allegedly put to one of his clients in the early 1990s. The plan offered the prospect of a profit of $7.5 million on an investment of $8 million, the letter says. It adds that substantial sums were transferred to Deacon and that the client lost his entire investment.

Part of the investment was designed to “unlock vast quantities of gold held in Swiss banks, originally deposited by Ferdinand Marcos. The gold would be taken in US warships to the Soviet Union.”

According to the letter quoted in the writ: “In the course of transactions between Taylor and Deacon, Deacon gave a personal undertaking that the use of the money invested by Taylor's client would provide a return to Taylor of $35 million by 30 April 1990. Taylor subsequently sued Deacon and obtained judgment against him in the sum of $35 million.”

The writ continues that in meetings and subsequent correspondence between the SFO and the Law Society, suggestions are made that he and Deacon were co-conspirators and that Taylor was involved in criminal activity.

The Law Society's Neil Rogerson “felt that disciplinary proceedings should be taken against Taylor and he might be struck off the roll”.

A spokesman for the Law Society said that Taylor's claim was “an absurd allegation. We will defend this writ vigorously.” The SFO said: “A writ has been issued and we can't comment further.”