The Solicitors Regulation Authority announced on its website today (9 August) that it will refer Clyde & Co and former shipping partner Ed Mills-Webb to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal for allegedly failing to comply with anti-money laundering procedures and breaching money launching regulations relating to matters spanning a period of over four years.
Mills-Webb and an associate were referred by Clyde & Co to the SRA in 2019 for allegedly breaching accounting rules. Mills-Webb resigned from the firm, with Roll on Friday reporting at the time that at least four other shipping partners had resigned “in protest”, forming boutique law firm Preston Turnbull, where Mills-Webb is a consultant.
The announcement from the SRA today means that they believe that there is a case to answer but that “the allegations are subject to a hearing before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and are as yet unproven.”
Clyde & Co issued a statement today saying: “In early 2019 we suspended a partner, Ed Mills-Webb and referred him to the Solicitors Regulation Authority of England & Wales in relation to matters concerning the application of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 and the SRA Accounts Rules 2011. We assisted the SRA fully with its investigations and during that time Ed Mills-Webb resigned from the firm.
“We are aware that the SRA has decided to charge the firm as well as Ed Mills-Webb in relation to breaches of the Money Laundering Regulations and procedures relating to a client and companies used by the client. We hold ourselves to the highest professional and ethical standards and take responsibility for ensuring we meet them, and we are reviewing these charges. It would be inappropriate to comment further.”
We have reached out to Mills-Webb for comment.
Clyde & Co in 2017 received a record fine for breaching AML rules, after three of its partners allowed a client account to be used as a banking facility. Clyde & Co admitted in that case to having failed to put in place adequate procedures to deal with dormant client balances. The SRA did not dispute the fact that the mistakes were honest and inadvertent, and Clyde & Co issued a statement to say that it had reviewed and strengthened its approach to risk management.