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Lawyer Who Threatened Free Beacon Steps Down From Firm Amid Hacking, Kidnapping, Racketeering Claims

Two top leaders at Dechert law firm are stepping down from their roles, one month after the legal powerhouse was hit with a pair of racketeering lawsuits related to its alleged role in a hack-and-leak operation on behalf of a Gulf state sheikh.

The departure of CEO Henry Nassau and chairman Andrew Levander—who threatened to sue the Washington Free Beacon three years ago for reporting on separate litigation related to the alleged hacking plot—comes as Dechert faces at least six lawsuits in London, New York, and Washington, D.C., accusing the firm or its attorneys of misconduct.

Most of the allegations involve Dechert’s former head of global litigation Neil Gerrard and one of the firm’s former clients, the leader of United Arab Emirates kingdom Ras al-Khaimah.

Dechert confirmed the shakeup on Thursday and said the company “achieved tremendous success under Andy and Henry’s leadership,” according to Reuters.

Jay Solomon, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, filed a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) suit against Dechert in October in Washington, D.C. Solomon said he was fired from the Wall Street Journal after Dechert lawyers helped orchestrate a plot to steal and leak emails between him and one of his sources, Aviation magnate Farhad Azima. Dechert’s client, the leader of United Arab Emirates kingdom Ras al-Khaimah, was reportedly feuding with Azima at the time of the hack.

Azima filed a similar RICO case against Dechert in New York last month and has ongoing litigation against the group in London. Former Georgian politician Gela Mikadze sued the firm in London in September. Two Jordanian businessmen are also suing Dechert in London as part of a kidnapping and torture case involving the kingdom of Ras al-Khaimah.

Dechert and Gerrard lost a lengthy legal battle earlier this year against the Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation, an African mining company and former client. The ENRC claimed Gerrard secretly leaked damaging information about the company while serving as its lawyer to induce it to pay him higher legal fees.

In the ruling, a London judge said Gerrard “lied continuously” throughout the case and was “so obsessed with making money from his work that he lost any real sense of objectivity, proportion, or indeed loyalty to his client.”

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