Dentons India: how the fixer crossed the line

SNR Denton has finally got to close the book on a long-running bribery saga, after its former India head was ordered to pay costs to the firm and its insurers (see story) for her involvement in wheeler-dealing.

The case stemmed from a 2008 negligence claim against legacy firm Denton Wilde Sapte by two Indian company directors. The two directors had lost £400,000, which Denton’s then-India head Gauri Advani told them to pay as an initial deposit for a general sales agency from Air India that never materialised.

The directors’ claim failed on grounds of illegality – the £400,000 payment was held to be a bribe – but Dentons and its insurers Travelers then brought an action against Advani to recover the money it lost defending the negligence.

The court has taken Dentons and Travelers’ side. As a result Travelers can reclaim the £500,000 it spent on Advani’s defence to the negligence claim since she acted dishonestly or fraudulently, while Dentons could claim from Advani the £87,000 it failed to recover from the Indian directors, on the basis of breach of contract.

Advani, who left Dentons to join Eversheds in 2007 (but later left the latter), has since been struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

Risky business, abroad.