Sacked UK SFO prosecutor won't face action by regulatory body

20 February 2020 00:00 by Martin Coyle

A former prosecutor fired by the UK's Serious Fraud Office for gross misconduct won't face any action by the country's Solicitors Regulation Authority, a body governing lawyers, MLex has learned.

Tom Martin, a registered solicitor, was sacked by the SFO in December 2018 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.

He will face off against the SFO in a central London employment court in September, in a five-day hearing that threatens to expose the inner workings of the UK's chief fraud prosecutor.

Martin, a case controller who worked on the SFO's mammoth Unaoil investigation and led the agency's first Bribery Act prosecution, faced scrutiny by the SRA, which began investigating the allegations against him in 2019.

MLex understands that the SRA informed Martin in December that it didn't consider it "proportionate" to take any action against him. The regulator said it was satisfied there was "insufficient evidence of professional misconduct" against him.

It is understood that the SFO supplied a cache of documents to the lawyers' body, following a request by the SRA.

The SRA has the power to strike off solicitors from working, and can impose financial penalties when it finds malpractice. It can also suspend lawyers from working.

Martin is claiming unfair dismissal 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).

The SRA and the SFO didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Martin declined to comment.

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