SDT clears Dentons of anti-money laundering rule breaches

Dentons: No order for costs

Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, was yesterday cleared by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal over alleged breaches of anti-money laundering (AML) rules.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) allegations arose while the firm acted for a politically exposed person or his associated entities between around May 2013 and June 2017.

They focused on it not taking adequate measures to establish the client’s source of wealth and/or funds and then not conducting enhanced ongoing monitoring of the relationship, in breach of various SRA principles.

But the tribunal dismissed the case and made no order for costs, with the full reasons to be published in the coming weeks.

The SRA is often able to claim costs even in unsuccessful prosecutions on the basis that it is acting in the public interest and the case was properly brought.

A Dentons spokesman said: “We welcome the tribunal’s finding that the SRA’s case is dismissed. There has been no breach of the SRA principles and therefore no sanction against Dentons.

“It was accepted throughout the case that Dentons at the time had ‘gold standard’ AML systems and processes.

“Notwithstanding this, we recognise that risk management and regulatory compliance requires constant vigilance and attention and, since the period in question, we have significantly enhanced our capabilities and procedures.

“We remain committed to upholding the highest standards of professional conduct and have co-operated with the SRA throughout its investigation.”

The SRA said it would await publication of the full judgment before deciding on any next steps.

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