Pond Scrum?

Did you hear the one about the broker who threw his laptop into a pond?


In the truth is stranger than fiction category, a U.K. High Court judge has rebuffed a motion to stay contempt of court proceedings against Euan Nicolson, a senior London market energy broker who was allegedly  involved in a noncompete dispute.

According to Business Insurance, Nicolson, a former managing director in the construction team of Marsh’s energy practice in London left Marsh & McLennan in 2009 to join Aon.  He has now admitted to throwing his laptop into a pond – in order to cover up his involvement in a bid to win business that Marsh says violated the terms of a six-month notice period, during which he was supposedly barred from working for or with a competitor of his former employer (Marsh).

While in that notice period, Nicolson – who presently heads Aon’s upstream and offshore division, according to the Telegraph – was allegedly helping Aon win the business of Milan-based energy company Saipem S.p.A., an account previously brokered by Marsh. 

In addition to tossing the laptop into the pond, Nicolson has now also admitted “disposing” of a number of computer memory sticks containing personal and Marsh-related data in a river.  What makes that even worse is that he was under a court order not to destroy, tamper with, cancel or part with possession of any equipment—including computers and memory sticks—or destroy, delete or tamper with any documents relating to the case.

The Telegraph notes that Nicolson later admitted that the laptop was used to send and receive emails for Aon and for work on the Saipem tender. He also admitted that the computer (which has since been recovered) was also used to stay in contact with five other Marsh colleagues who resigned at a similar time, and were also due to join Aon. 

In his separate witness statement in March, Nicolson said he was attempting to protect Aon, himself and the team, admitting he had been “scared” and “under great pressure” before apologizing for his conduct.

In court documents seen by The Daily Telegraph, Marsh said the USB devices have still not been recovered, with 41% of the data on the computer also lost.

The High Court case is Marsh Services Ltd. & Marsh Ltd. and Euan David Nicolson, Alister Gavin Laird & Aon Ltd., HQ09X04381.