A former partner at London firm Mishcon de Reya has been ordered to pay £21,000 for his role in a money laundering scandal, which in January led to Mishcon being hit with a record £232,500 fine.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) fined former Mischon partner Michael Nouril £17,500 and told the M&A lawyer he must pay an extra £3,500 costs, for his role in a money laundering scandal which saw Mishcon fined a record £232,500 in January.
The fines come after Mishcon worked on behalf of two individuals, and two separate companies linked to those individuals, in their efforts to acquire two separate entities, between 2015 and 2017.
In both cases, the acquisitions presented a “higher risk of money laundering or terrorist financing” due to involving companies based in offshore jurisdictions, such as the British Virgin Islands, the SRA said.
Following an investigation, the SRA found that Mishcon had failed to carry out proper due diligence, in failing to gather sufficient documents.
The investigation also found that Mishcon had allowed £1.7m of payments had been made in and out of its client accounts, as the SRA said Mishcon had essentially permitted its accounts to be used as a “banking facility.”
Mischon also failed to send bills to the two entities it had been representing before it charged those entities money which it paid using the client account, the SRA said.
The investigation found that Nouril had been responsible for Mishcon’s relationship with the two clients, as Nouril admitted breaching anti-money laundering laws.
The fine comes as Mishcon de Reya pushes forwards with plans for its IPO, after the firm in January delayed plans to float on the London Stock Exchange, citing volatile market conditions.
In recent weeks, Mishcon and other City of London law firms have also faced mounting pressure to exit their relationships with Russia, amid heightened scrutiny over the role that law firms have played facilitating Russian oligarchs.