SIMMONS & Simmons partner David Sandy is being extradited to New York to face three charges relating to suppressing evidence about the collapsed Bank of Credit & Commerce International (BCCI).
The Sandy affair has also led to Simmons & Simmons being replaced by Macfarlanes as solicitors to the BCCI majority shareholders in Abu Dhabi, after four years of work.
Sandy is facing prosecution by the Manhattan District Attorney (MDA) Robert Morgenthau and a maximum sentence of eight years in prison after allegedly concealing computer disk and hard copy versions of the business diary of Zafar Iqbal, BCCI's former chief executive officer.
He is understood to be leaving of his own volition. But, if he does not, he will be arrested and taken as a prisoner, which could have negative consequences for bail application in New York, say MDA sources.
Sandy faces two felony counts of tampering with evidence, each with sentences of up to four years, and a misdemeanor count of conspiracy, sentences for which would run concurrently.
Four other unnamed Simmons partners are said to be implicated in the alleged conspiracy, but cannot be extradited on purely misdemeanor charges, it is understood.
Simmons & Simmons refuses to comment, and was unable to confirm comments by Alistair Neil, its own managing partner, in the Financial Times that the firm tendered its resignation in December over the Sandy affair.
However, other sources confirm the resignation was initially not accepted, and that Abu Dhabi placed Macfarlanes to work alongside the firm.
A handover to Macfarlanes was completed several weeks ago. Macfarlanes was unable to comment last week.
Morgenthau says the deliberate destruction and concealment of evidence is always a grave matter.