Ha ha ha gurgle, snort

Commonwealth HQ lawyers facing charges of corruption

Well, OK. That’s not funny.

Joshua Brien, an expert on the law of the seas, and his wife, Melissa Khemani, a renowned anti-corruption expert, worked at the headquarters of the Commonwealth in central London.

That is.

Ms Khemani, 40, is facing two charges of acquiring, using or possessing £62,000 of criminal property. She is due to appear at court on October 22. She had worked in the criminal law section of the Commonwealth Secretariat helping member countries to implement the United Nations convention against corruption.

The Canadian-born lawyer was then appointed an anti-corruption legal expert with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris. She is now a lawyer for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) working on due diligence on transactions and introducing anti-corruption reforms.

Quis cutodiet ipsos custodies…..

16 thoughts on “Ha ha ha gurgle, snort”

  1. The Meissen Bison

    It is axiomatic that the wealthiest individual in a developing country is the one responsible for awarding projects funded by overseas aid. The exception to this rule is where there is an anti-corruption commissioner in which case it is he who is wealthier than the one awarding the contracts.

    The times article is disappointingly dull – it gives us the charges but not the story behind them. Who but a lawyer can appreciate this:

    …charged with fraud by abuse of position, concealing or transferring criminal property and possessing criminal property…

    …and what is fraud by abuse of position in any case?

  2. TMB fraud by abuse of position? If you are the CFO of a company, you are supposed to look after the financial interests of the company. So if you make contracts that enrich your family eg buying goods and services from them at higher than market rates, what would you call it?

  3. 10-4, TMB.

    ‘is facing two charges of acquiring, using or possessing £62,000 of criminal property.’

    Is it two out of the three? Are there two £62,000s? Did the clerk write it up in duplicate?

  4. Diogenes – well I appreciate that your example would constitute a criminal offence but I can’t relate that readily to the accused man in this article.

    My gripe is that the journalist has simply turned up at the magistrates’ court on the opening day of this process and listed the charges which are just so much mumbo-jumbo except to m’learned friends. The cases against the husband and wife will presumably go on to the Crown Court and subsequent reports will contain more and more interesting detail.

  5. So Much For Subtlety

    Ms Khemani, 40,

    Nice to see a hard working immigrant fighting stereotypes about corrupt Middle Eastern rug merchants. I mean, who would have thought that an Arab, originally Iranian – so Lebanese? – would be corrupt?

    is facing two charges of acquiring, using or possessing £62,000

    It is not my end of the market, but that would be … a nice Mercedes Benz? Someone gave her a car she did not declare. She isn’t Middle Eastern, she is a Wabenzi

  6. Mr B, in my experience about 99.9 per cent of all journalistic coverage of what happens in English courts is complete tosh. It’s not just that they lack the panache of Dickens’ reporting, it’s laziness, a complete lack of interest in their subject and, to be fair, they’re paid next to nothing.

    I will provide an exception, tho’. The Fail’s coverage of the Depp trial was pretty good in a performing minkee kind of way: their staff provided something akin to sensibly edited transcripts of the proceedings. It wasn’t elegant or tidy, but it was full and cluttered only by its own voluminousness.

  7. Of course she could be scrupulously honest and this is what happens when you get up the noses of the powerful corrupt.

  8. How embarrassing for EBRD to receive public money – and this is their top anti corruption expert?

  9. This looks bad for whoever hired this anti corruption expert at EBRD…. who is running their corruption department, another “anti corruption expert”?

  10. FFS. “ipsos custodes”, not “ipsos custodies”.

    You’re old enough to have actually done Latin at school, you should know this. Custodiet is second person future (he will guard), custodes is plural of noun custode (guard).

    I’ve noticed that inaccurate quotation from you before, which is why I’m bothering to point it out now.

    I like your stuff, wherever it appears.

  11. I did very little Latin at school. Certainly dropped it before O Level. Oddly, the school I was at from ages 8 to 10 didn’t teach Latin at all – given that it was in Italy.

    It is actually a problem because, given my age, it means I never had a thorough grounding in grammar in any language. Sure, I know what the past tense is but struggle mightily to know the difference between an adverb and an adjective. And certainly couldn’t point to a sentence in English and tell you which was which.

  12. From Court News UK –


    An international lawyer has appeared in court charged with money laundering and defrauding the Commonwealth Secretariat over a five year period.

    Joshua Brien, 47, allegedly carried out the fraud by creating false invoices while employed as a legal adviser at the headquarters of the Commonwealth in central London.

    After becoming general counsel at US law firm Cooley, Brien allegedly failed to inform them of the reason he has been dismissed from his previous employer, Westminster Magistrates Court heard.

    Brien’s wife, Melissa Khemani, a renowned anti-corruption expert who also worked at the headquarters of the Commonwealth, faces two money laundering charges.

    The couple were charged as part of an investigation by the Met’s Economic Crime Command.

    Prosecutor Jason Seetal said: ‘It is an allegation that while the defendant (Brien) was employed by the Common Wealth Secretariat he created a number of false invoices.

    ‘The total amount was around £1.3million.

    ‘It is alleged this defendant was subsequently dismissed from that post and he took employ with an American firm, Cooley.’

    Brien is further accused of fraud for allegedly not informed his new employer the reason he had been sacked.

    He appeared in court via video link and spoke only to confirm his name and address.

    Brien, of Darnley Terrace, Notting Hill, west London, is facing three charges of fraud by abuse of position, two charges of fraud by false representation, three charge of acquiring criminal property, concealing criminal property and possession of an article for use in the course of fraud.

    The charges date between 1 January 2015 and 29 October last year.

    He was granted conditional bail ahead of a preliminary hearing at Southwark Crown Court on September 1.

    His bail conditions are to remain in his residence, for his two passports to remain with the police, not to apply for any travel documents that allow him to leave the country and not to contact certain individuals at Cooley.

    Canadian Khemani, 40, faces two counts of acquiring criminal property, namely a total of approximately £62,000.

    She is due to appear on Westminster Magistrates Court on 22 October.

  13. Who hired this so called “anti-corruption expert” Melissa Khemani at the EBRD? So she is not even a lawyer in any country, and was never able to pass any bar exams? There needs to be an investigation into how she got hired at the EBRD’s anti-corruption division. Did she send business from EBRD to her husband’s former law firm Cooley? Did she have accomplices at the EBRD? Disgusting waste of public funds, especially since neither EBRD nor Commonwealth Secretariat employees pay taxes. Shameful.

  14. https://courtnewsuk.co.uk/anti-corruption-expert-laundered-her-husbands-fraud-proceeds/

    Are they also charging her for defrauding EBRD or is only Commonwealth?

    “An anti-corruption expert has denied laundering part of the proceeds of her lawyer husband’s alleged £1.3m fraud. Joshua Brien, 47, allegedly defrauded the Commonwealth Secretariat by creating false invoices while employed as a legal adviser at the organisation’s headquarters at Marlborough House, Westminster. Brian’s wife, Canadian Melissa Khemani, 41, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court wearing a black suit to deny laundering £61,000 between October 2018 and 2019.”

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