Lawyer Struck Off For Facilitating Saudi Prince Supercar Transaction

| General

Lawyer Struck Off For Facilitating Saudi Prince Supercar Transaction

The legal profession is respected right across the globe for adhering to the professional standards of honesty and integrity, upholding its public image and not condoning those in its ranks who use the firm as a bank. A recent case highlights the type of conduct lawyers should avoid and is a lesson for those at all levels.

What Happened In The Case?

On 1st July 2022 news emerged which shocked the legal world. A lawyer operating in the Lancashire area had climbed the legal mountain, found himself in the privileged position as an owner of a firm of solicitors and on the surface all appeared to be fan dabby dozy for him. However, he found himself under investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and facing numerous serious allegations in relation to his conduct as a solicitor.

What Were The Allegations?

The Solicitors Regulation Authority uncovered evidence which appeared to link the solicitor to numerous transactions involving the purchase of three top-of-the-range supercars. Astonishingly, paperwork was disclosed that appeared to link a Prince from the State of Saudi Arabia to the three transactions. When the regulator examined the account entries associated with the respective car transactions it found that the monies had inexplicably been paid from an account belonging to a client of the law firm. In fact the situation was so serious that the law firm owner had been using the client account to facilitate the transactions. The client account money had been used by the Saudi prince in an attempt to purchase a Bugatti and two Ferraris.

The law firm owner also faced accusations of neglecting to oversee the activities of a consultant working at the firm and was discovered to be unqualified. Evidence emerged appearing to show the consultant transferring about eight million pounds from the client account to what were described as third parties. The consultant had apparently sought neither oral or written permission from the client to make the transactions. He had apparently disregarded the need for such instructions or consent and proceeded regardless. The monies were sent to a person who was only described colloquially as a leading member of the Saudi Royal Family. However, the rumours surrounding the person’s identity are rife and it is thought to be Prince Bin Abdulaziz, a Saudi Arabian Government minister.

Court documents appear to show around ten million pounds being paid into the law firm client account. However, correspondence revealed that the Prince had never reported receiving the assets or a refund. In another transaction around one million pounds was reportedly transferred to an account in the Northern African republic of Tunisia. There was no evidence of any money laundering checks being carried out related to this payment.

How Did The Lawyer Respond?

When confronted by the allegations the lawyer appears to have seen sense and made admissions to facilitating the three car transactions by permitting, procuring and failing to stop them from progressing through the law firm’s bank account using client monies.

Pages Turned…Lessons Learned

In light of this case lawyers should be adhering to the following strategy:

  • acting with honesty and integrity at all times
  • avoiding the sacrosanct client account being used as a banking facility
  • not assisting senior members of foreign state royal families to purchase lavish assets using client monies
  • ensuring staff are properly supervised in the provision of their services and
  • carrying out thorough due diligence such as of Anti-Money Laundering checks.

Following this strategy will ensure future lawyers mitigate against the risk of facing future sanctions.

The Legists Content Team

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THE ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN USING THE FOLLOWING SOURCES

[1] Bennett, Paul – A question of honesty: solicitor struck off for fare evasion – 5th July 2022 – The Law Society - A question of honesty: solicitor struck off for fare evasion | The Law Society

[2] Solicitors Regulation Authority Ltd v Raja Shazad Khan and Colin Anthony Goldring – Case Number 12263-2021 – Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal - 12263.2021.Khan (1).pdf (solicitorstribunal.org.uk)

[3] Lancashire Telegraph – Lancashire lawyer’s ban after £7.2m Saudi prince supercars deal goes sour – 11 July 2022 - Lancashire lawyer's ban after £7.2m Saudi prince supercars deal goes sour | Lancashire Telegraph

[4] Rule 14.5 Solicitors Accounts Rule 2011

[5] Principle 4 Solicitors Regulation Authority Principles 2011

[6] Principle 5 Solicitors Regulation Authority Principles 2011

[7] Principle 6 Solicitors Regulation Authority Principles 2011

[8] Principle 7 Solicitors Regulation Authority Principles 2011

[9] Principle 8 Solicitors Regulation Authority Principles 2011

[10] Principle 10 Solicitors Regulation Authority Principles 2011

[11] Rule 20.1 2011 Accounts Rules

[12] Section 31 Solicitors Act 1974

[13] Section 9 Administration Act 1985

[14] Section 83 Legal Services Act 2007

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