Fired SFO prosecutor who led Unaoil probe has employment case postponed

4 December 2019 10:36am

29 November 2019, by Martin Coyle

A prosecutor fired from the UK's Serious Fraud Office for gross misconduct has had his unfair dismissal case against the agency postponed until next year, MLex has learned.

Tom Martin, who led the agency’s sprawling Unaoil bribery probe, was due to face a London employment tribunal at a three-day hearing scheduled to start on Dec. 11. That has now been put on ice until late spring at the earliest, MLex understands.

The case has the potential to throw light on the inner workings of the SFO and in particular on its probe into suspected corruption involving Monaco-based Unaoil, which provides services for energy companies. That investigation was dropped earlier this year.

Former Unaoil executives Cyrus Ahsani and Saman Ahsani pleaded guilty in the US to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations in March, shedding light on a huge bribery scheme involving millions of dollars in payments and 27 companies.

Martin was suspended in September 2018 and then sacked in December that year over allegations that he swore at a US FBI agent in a London pub in 2016 and called him a “quisling,” a term for traitor coined during the Second World War.

Martin claims he was unfairly dismissed and is seeking to be reinstated in his job as senior case controller, which he held for four years and three months. The maximum he can claim for loss of earnings in the case is 72,000 pounds ($90,000).