“Dishonest” ABS owner banned for multiple breaches


SRA: Rarely used power

A non-lawyer owner of an alternative business structure (ABS) responsible for multiple rule breaches – including a £3.6m shortfall on his firm’s client account – has been banned from working in another one.

A finding of dishonesty was made against Mohammed Yasin and he was made subject to a disqualification order under the Legal Services Act 2007 that prevents him from owning or working for another ABS.

As Ipswich firm Mayland Porter is an ABS, a different and to date rarely used statutory regime applies to that the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) uses for traditional firms.

According to a decision published yesterday by the SRA, Mr Yasin made improper payments from the firm’s client account which led to a minimum identified cash shortage of £3.6m as at 31 August 2017, money that was not replaced “promptly or at all”.

He also allowed Mayland Porter – which according to the SRA is in the process of closing down – to become involved in conveyancing transactions “which bore the hallmarks of fraud”.

Other breaches were that Mr Yasin:

  • Allowed false and misleading documentation, including correspondence and undertakings, to be provided to solicitors for other parties in conveyancing matters;
  • Transferred client money to third parties without authority or instructions from the relevant clients. On one matter, he transferred client money to a bank account in his personal name, without the client’s authority or instructions;
  • Failed to carry out adequate enquiry in relation to the identity, employment history and practising status of an employee.
  • Failed to exercise appropriate supervision over the firm’s London office and the staff who were working there;
  • Failed to notify serious misconduct at the firm to the SRA and to co-operate with the SRA in its inspection of the firm.
  • Failed to manage an orderly closure of the firm and to engage with the firm’s professional indemnity insurer.

This breached no fewer than five of the SRA principles.




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