Bhadresh Gohil, the Ibori’s UK family solicitor from May 2005 to December 2006, appears to have been discriminately dragged into the Ibori case by the lead detectives from the Met’s Proceeds of Corruption Unit.


Fearing, that Ibori may well escape their clutches and in desperate need for results, the officers audaciously manipulated the evidence to entrap the prominent London lawyer. Emerging details of the sheer scale of their actions betray words.


At the time, senior detectives in the Unit appear to have been put under intense pressure for results from the Department for International Development, which provided the police with funding for the James Ibori investigations.


In May of this year, the two senior officers leading the case, DI Gary Walters and DC John McDonald together with two former serving police officers who worked for the private detective agency RISC Management Limited – all deeply involved in the case were arrested and bailed on suspicion of bribery/corruption and misconduct charges.


They are all under criminal investigation and facing probes from the Independent Police Complaints Commission.


From the outset, Gohil co-operated fully with the detectives but had professional duties of client confidentiality which prevented wholesale disclosures; it was this professional duty which set Gohil onto a direct collision with the detectives desperate to prosecute Ibori.


Fundamentally at the heart of the case is the fact that the police conceded during the trial that the funds Arlingtons Sharmas Solicitors handled  had all emanated from recognised British banks that had actually undertaken their own due diligence and did not form any suspicions. The banks communicated this to Arlingtons Sharmas and had cleared the funds for Ibori’s subsequent use.


It now appears that McDonald and Walters deliberately isolated Gohil, withholding much of this information and set out to build a case based on self created inferences which were implemented to subvert Gohil’s case and woefully mislead the courts and a jury.


Incriminating documents show incredibly reckless violations of long established and enshrined legal principles by the investigating detectives. For one, it has now been discovered that the detectives, through RISC were secretly obtaining Gohil’s legally privileged material and at the same time manufacturing a non-existent inference based case for apparent due diligence failures.


Gohil became the focus of the officer’s attentions in 2006 after his firm; Arlingtons Sharmas Solicitors had acted for Ibori in two routine transactions in 2005.  The first was the purchase of a UK property in Dorset and the other was Ibori’s investment in a Challenger Jet. Gohil was accused by these officers of failing to undertake the requisite due diligence on the funds the firm received.


The case also exhibits unsavoury traits of potentially endemic racial discrimination. It appears to have been one of the underlying factors in the personalisation of the persecution by the officers.


Gohil, a prominent Asian lawyer was the only professional targeted. Other advisors who also received funds at the same time and sources for Ibori as Gohil’s firm did included English solicitors, bankers, accountants and trust agents but were never questioned.


Arlingtons Sharmas Solicitors received Ibori’s funds in 2005 from reputable banks, when there was nothing adverse about Ibori or his affairs in the public domain; the funds passed the firms requisite money laundering and direct bank checks. No cash was ever handled by the firm. The firms due diligence was considerable and nothing pointed to concerns.  It was in fact Vijay Kumar Sharma, the Senior Partner who actually handled the firm’s finances and not Gohil. 


McDonald/Walters and their colleagues appear to have systematically engineered a series of false accusations against Gohil.


Bhadresh Gohil’s prosecution has been long considered a grotesque abuse of process that should never have been permitted. Judicial authorities repeatedly ignored the many warning signs and concerns regularly raised by defence lawyers. It has resulted in an abject failure of justice. In furthering their personal ambitions and those of their paymasters, McDonald, Walters and others sabotaged the search for the truth and abandoned the needs of justice.

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