Disappointment for Madiba's lawyer

Johannesburg - A lawyer for Nelson Mandela, Iqbal Meer, has stated that he is disappointed by a London's judge ruling in which he (Meer) was accused of "classic blind eye dishonesty."

According to a London Guardian report earlier this month, London high court judge Peter Smith made this remark while ruling that two London law firms, including one run by Mandela's personal UK lawyer, were involved in a conspiracy to launder part of $46m (£23m) "plundered" by a former African president.

Both firms were under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office and the City of London police for handling the proceeds of crime. One insider has described the investigation as the "flagship corruption case for sub-Saharan Africa".

The Gaurdian report said that in a damning 220-page judgment Smith accused ex-president Frederick Chiluba of Zambia, who left office in 2001, of shamelessly defrauding his people and flaunting his wealth with an expensive wardrobe of "stupendous proportions".

The lead defendant in the London case is the central London law firm of Meer Care & Desai who handled $10m of the stolen money, which was used to fund lavish lifestyles for Chiluba's family and friends.

Meer is Mandela's lawyer in London who handled the business end of his best selling autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. During the course of the trial Mandela provided a character reference.

The judge concluded that Meer, despite his "long and distinguished career", must have known that the money was tainted.

"I am satisfied that no honest solicitor in his position would have done what he did." His unquestioning acceptance of the money - transferred to a London bank account by the Zambian intelligence service - was "classic blind eye dishonesty".

The Guardian added that Meer's lawyers said: "Mr Meer is disappointed with the outcome. He maintains that he acted honestly at all times and he is consulting with his legal advisers regarding an appeal."


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