Philip Merrills-Dearn, aged 35, of Kilcock, Co Kildare, formed a company for carrying out the work but used his solicitor employers’ offices and headed notepaper to add credibility, it was claimed.
“It was not a minor deal, it was big money with big money players,” said Mr Jon Goodwin, for the Law Society.
Mr Merrills-Dearn denies allegations of conduct unbefitting a solicitor by attempting to introduce investment to the oil company, which “brought himself and the profession into disrepute.”
Added Mr Goodwin: “He used his status to lend credibility to the scheme.”
It arose after an Israeli lawyer, Lawrence Becker, had a conversation with his nephew who worked in the same department at London solicitors Nicholson Graham Jones.
Following a conversation between the nephew and Mr Merrills-Dearn, a £100 off-the-shelf company called BKMD was formed for this purpose.
Proposed investor Lenstar was to buy an interest in the licence for drilling for
$82.5m which could produce $594m
Mr Merrills-Dearn’s newly formed company would receive an introduction fee of $500,000 and a 16% share for the introduction.
Although no money was received, his involvement “could only add credibility,” said Mr Goodwin.
Givot, an Israeli oil exploratory company, based in Jerusalem, was granted a licence in 1993 and floated the company on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
“In six years they drilled two wells and needed $10m for a third,” said Mr Goodwin.
During the course of the work, Mr Merrills-Dearn told Mr Becker in a taped conversation that $10m was being held on client account.
Mr Richard Nelson, for Mr Merrills-Dearn, submitted there was no case to answer. He said $1.4bn was to be made when the “oil came out of that well.”
Mr Merrills-Dearn emphatically denied telling Mr Becker $10m was being held on client account, but agreed he forwarded the false bank letter without investigating it, saying: “It wasn’t my role.”
The hearing continues.