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EDINBURGH — Paul O’Sullivan, a forensic investigator who has made it his business to take on the captured in the criminal justice system, has put the spotlight on global law firm Hogan Lovells in his quest to clean up South Africa. He argues that the firm created an “enabling environment for capture of the criminal justice system and unlawfully shored up the criminal structures that then went on to protect state capture”. O’Sullivan details his rationale in a lengthy letter to Hogan Lovells. The letter has been published on BizNews as well as across South African media outlets. Lord Peter Hain, a former anti-apartheid activist who is a member of Britain’s House of Lords, is also pushing for Hogan Lovells to be punished for its work for a corrupt faction within the South African Revenue Service that played a role in pushing former finance minister Pravin Gordhan to the political sidelines. O’Sullivan says Hogan Lovells is behind the legal strategies of graft-tainted individuals including former Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza and SA Revenue Service commissioner Tom Moyane. But Hogan Lovells SA leader Lavery Modise has strenuously denied the allegations. He says O’Sullivan is fighting for a noble cause but he has his facts wrong about the lawyers and has misunderstood the rule of law as it relates to the relationship between lawyers and clients. Here is the Hogan Lovells letter, published in terms of the BizNews policy to provide a right of reply. – Jackie Cameron
Response to Paul O’Sullivan’s letter on behalf of Lavery Modise, Chairman of Hogan Lovells SA.
I have received a copy of Paul O’Sullivan’s letter. He is a passionate anti-corruption campaigner, but his understanding of the South African legal system and his attempt to lay the genuine suffering of our country at our doorstep is incorrect and not well-founded.
I have no doubt that we serve the founding principles of the constitution of this country with professional dignity, professional independence and responsibility. The rule of law means listening to the evidence, adhering to attorney-client confidentiality, decent representation, and due process – for individuals, corporations, and the state.
We stand by these principles and the South African legal system and will vigorously defend it as would every reputable law firm in South Africa. It is what separates us from the rule of the mob and conviction by accusation and guilt by association.
We welcome any review of our work by the appropriate authorities and by parliament.
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