The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has slapped down the Solicitors Regulation Authority for its conduct in a disciplinary case involving alleged money laundering, describing it as having “verged on the shambolic” and dismissing five out of the seven charges laid.
A solicitor’s convictions for money laundering have been overturned by the Court of Appeal in a case involving corrupt payments linked to a multi-million dollar UN medical aid contract for the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was convicted despite the judge finding him unfit to be cross-examined.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has dismissed all charges made against a solicitor including alleged breaches of accounts rules and money laundering regulations, and failing to supervise properly a consultant who had been struck off the roll. It is unusual for charges to be thrown out wholesale.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has opened a second front in its campaign for full separation from the Law Society by appealing to the Treasury to intervene over the issue of money laundering. The Ministry of Justice is expected to reveal its plans on separation after the EU referendum.
Law firms that charge clients for money laundering due diligence checks are at risk of breaking the rules, the Solicitors Regulation Authority has warned in a report that in the main painted a positive picture of how firms are approaching their responsibilities in relation to anti money laundering.
The government has pledged radical reform of the suspicious activity reports regime and its replacement with an intelligence-led, risk-based focus. The proposals include removal of the existing consent regime, and with it the scrapping of the existing statutory money laundering defence.
A solicitor has been convicted of helping launder money on behalf of a man who claimed to be Pope Francis’s banker as part of a massive scam. Buddika Kadurugamuwa will be sentenced later this week after being found guilty of one count of transferring criminal property.
A solicitor who allowed her firm’s client account to be used as a banking facility by a property investment company has been suspended by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. Theresa Quartey was described by the SDT as “inconsistent, contradictory and at times evasive” in her evidence.
There has been a massive increase in the number of lawyers disciplined by their professional bodies for breaking the rules on money laundering, a Treasury report has found.
Many lawyers, particularly solicitors and barristers, complain about their practising certificate (PC) fees, but there are high levels of ignorance about what they are paying for, a major cost of regulation survey has found.