Bryan Cave calls in SAS for Iraq recce

Increasing numbers of lawyers are braving the hostilities in Iraq, with US firm Bryan Cave sending an SAS-backed mission to the countrys southern cities.

Bryan Cave has sent partner David Pfeiffer, a Middle East transaction specialist, to scout southern Iraq as a prelude to establishing an office there.

Pfeiffer hopes that the office will serve as a conduit between Kuwaitis planning to develop islands near the southern Iraq town of Umm Qasr and local Iraqi authorities.

An office will also enable Bryan Cave to act on the ground for Western clients in Iraq largely construction specialists based in massive armed camps and Kuwaiti clients.

Pfeiffer said: Our clients are very active in Iraq. Were inclined to consider establishing an office there at the right time and my trip was part of the process of considering this issue.

Meanwhile, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringers investigation into corruption during the Oil for Food Programme in Iraq has ground to a halt following a political spat between the countrys two rival authorities, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and the Iraqi Governing Council (ICG).

The US-dominated CPA has appointed Ernst & Young in New York to investigate and recover what could amount to tens of billions of dollars allegedly stolen by Saddam Husseins henchmen during the Baath regime. US lawyers have yet to be announced.

Commenting on the move, Claude Hankes Drielsma, an adviser for the Iraqi-led ICG, which had already appointed KPMG and Freshfields, said: Its totally unacceptable for the CPA to attempt to undermine the sovereignty of the IGC.

The new investigation is clearly a smokescreen its clearly politically motivated.

The CPA could not be reached for comment.