The emirate chose Tomlinson to litigate the case and the barrister quoted directly from Azima’s stolen emails in a high court claim filed in September 2016 for his client. There is no suggestion that Tomlinson had any involvement in the hacking of Azima’s emails, but he was aware that they were the product of a hack and would have been professionally obliged to deploy them if instructed to do so.
The claim alleged that Azima had defrauded the investment authority. Almost instantly, Azima issued a counterclaim in the US, accusing Ras al Khaimah of orchestrating the hacking of his personal data.
The two cases would take years to work their way through the courts. In the meantime, on 2 June 2018 according to the leaked database, “Nick” instructed Jain to target Cynthia Beudjekian, an associate of Azima who had exchanged messages with him about the hacking.
Emails stolen from Beudjekian were also later used by Ras al Khaimah in court. Tomlinson told the court her emails had been sent unsolicited by an “anonymous source” to the offices of Stewarts Law – a London firm that later represented Ras al Khaimah.
The solicitor instructing Tomlinson at Dechert was Neil Gerrard, the global co-head of the firm’s white-collar crime practice. He had initially been assisted by a Dechert colleague David Hughes, who had joined Stewarts Law – hence its involvement in the case.
Gerrard and another private investigator called Stuart Page – another former Met officer – gave evidence at a January 2020 hearing into the fraud allegations that Azima’s emails had been discovered innocently on the internet by an Israeli journalist. They said they did not know how the information got there.
Their testimony was effective. The judge dismissed Azima’s claim that the Ras al Khaimah side had orchestrated the hacking. Azima lost his case and was ordered to pay £3.4m in damages.
However, last year Page retracted his evidence in a statement sent to the supreme court. His new testimony alleged that the story about the Israeli journalist had been invented to cover up the fact the emails had been found by an investigator who had commissioned hacking for the emirate.
Page claimed to have been present at a meeting held in Cyprus in November 2018, in which this story he now claimed was false had been agreed with Gerrard and Hughes. He further alleged that he met with Gerrard and the Israeli journalist at a boutique Alpine hotel just weeks before the fraud case against Azima was heard.