A City solicitor has been struck off the roll after a tribunal found him liable for ‘very serious’ dishonesty on multiple counts.
Alexis Maitland Hudson has also been ordered to pay interim costs of £300,000, one of the largest orders for costs the tribunal has ever made following one of the SRA’s biggest ever investigations. Further costs will be subject to determination. He was also ordered to pay £57,000 in relation to a previous strike-out hearing.
The hearing, originally scheduled for 15 days, lasted 20 days over four months. The solicitor, former owner of the now dissolved Maitland Hudson & Co, denied all charges.
Among the proven charges brought by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) were that Maitland Hudson made ’misleading representations’ in a battle for the control of a TV station in Ukraine and agreed loans and a subsequent settlement agreement with former billionaire businessman Steven Cosser that were ‘disadvantageous to Cosser and advantageous to Elite Partners Limited (EPL)’- a British Virgin Islands-incorporated company. During submissions, the SRA said that EPL, and the Re-group trust which it sits under, is the ‘alter-ego’ of Maitland Hudson.
Ed Levey, for the SRA, said today that it would not be fair for the profession to bear the costs of this case, despite claims by Maitland Hudson that he had no money. The SRA had previously offered to pay Maitland Hudson £7,500 to fund counsel, make closing speeches and argue over costs.
Levey told the tribunal that the only evidence it had regarding Maitland Hudson’s financial situation was his statement of means. Levey added that it would be an ‘irregular approach’ for the tribunal to accept this at face value, given it had found him liable for ‘very serious dishonesty’ on multiple counts. He added: ‘The evidence you have looked at shows that this is a man who has access to large amounts of money.’
Levey said Maitland Hudson is able to ‘borrow hundreds of thousands of pounds’ from EPL on an unsecured basis and that the tribunal had also heard that Maitland Hudson had sold a property for £3.5 million but ‘does not have that money any more’. He added: ‘If, after a full determination it turns out he was right and he can’t pay the costs then so be it.’
Maitland Hudson was not present for today’s determination and was not represented.