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Clyde & Co faces record fine in SDT hearing for money laundering offences

Clyde & Co faces record fine in SDT hearing for money laundering offences


Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal issues a joint-highest £500,000 fine to Clyde & Co and Edward Mills-Webb for money-laundering lapses

In response to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal's (SDT) recent hearing on Clyde & Co and Edward Mills-Webb, the statement from Paul Philip, Chief Executive of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), underlines the gravity of money laundering in legal services. He emphasizes the crucial role firms play in preventing their services from being exploited by criminals, urging them to implement robust Anti-Money Laundering (AML) processes.

The £500,000 fine imposed on Clyde & Co by the SDT serves as a stern wake-up call to law firms neglecting their responsibilities. This penalty, joint-highest in SDT history, parallels the previous record set in 2017 against Locke Lord. The latter faced the hefty fine for inadequate supervision of a partner involved in dubious investment schemes.

Money laundering fines have been escalating, with Mishcon de Reya receiving a £232,500 penalty in January 2022 from the SRA. Notably, this fine was issued to the firm as an alternative business structure.

The SDT's order, issued on January 11, 2024, outlines the penalties: Clyde & Co LLP is to pay a £500,000 fine and contribute £128,197.48 towards the SRA's costs, while Mr. Mills-Webb faces an £11,900 fine and a contribution of £54,941.77 towards costs.

Admissions made by both Clyde & Co and Mr. Mills-Webb highlight failures in carrying out Customer Due Diligence (CDD) and ongoing monitoring, contravening money laundering regulations. These breaches led to a violation of SRA Principles and the Code of Conduct.

SRA and legal representatives for Clyde & Co and Mr. Mills-Webb played pivotal roles in the tribunal. The legal landscape's increasing focus on preventing money laundering underscores the need for stringent compliance and vigilance within the legal profession.

The record fine underscores the legal community's obligation to maintain the highest standards of diligence and integrity, serving as a stark reminder of the consequences for failing to combat money laundering within legal practices.

Photo: By Adhib - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,