In a 122-page judgment published last week, the SDT outlined its findings against the ‘manipulative’ Alexis Maitland Hudson.

A former City solicitor struck off for what the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal described as ‘elaborate concealment and dishonesty’ has been hit with one of the largest costs bills ever handed down by the SDT.

Alexis Maitland Hudson has been ordered to pay £300,000 in costs, plus a further £57,720 in relation to a previous strike-out hearing, after being found liable for dishonesty on multiple counts. The outcome was determined last month and a full 122-page judgment published last week.

The SDT described Maitland Hudson as a ‘very experienced solicitor’ who ‘used that experience to manipulate each situation to his own interest’.

One of the main proven allegations centred on a falling out between Maitland Hudson and Australian businessman Steven Cosser. Cosser, a former TV mogul with mining interests in Africa, had fallen on tough times and approached Maitland Hudson for help in brokering short-term loans.

The tribunal found Maitland Hudson had agreed loans totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds on terms that were ‘disadvantageous’ to Cosser and advantageous to Elite Partners Limited (EPL) – a British Virgin Islands-incorporated company. The tribunal found Maitland Hudson, despite claiming he was not the company’s ‘alter-ego’, had a beneficial interest in EPL and was ‘actively involved’ in its management.

A ‘deed of sale’ was also agreed whereby Cosser transferred two offshore companies, a property in London’s Belgravia and shares in a Sierra Leone mining company to EPL. The tribunal observed that ‘in return for lending £5,000, EPL received assets potentially worth millions’. The tribunal said it was satisfied a conflict of interest arose.

A settlement agreement, under which Cosser agreed to pay Maitland Hudson £500,000, was described by the tribunal as ‘outrageous’ and ‘egregious’.

Maitland Hudson was also found liable for his actions in a US case surrounding the battle for control of a TV station in Ukraine, TVi. The SDT accepted the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s case that Maitland Hudson helped ‘plan and cause dilution and trade marks transfer’ from one company to another.

The SDT’s £357,720 costs order will be subject to detailed assessment. Maitland Hudson claimed in his financial statement that he could afford to pay £2,000 per month in instalments. However, the tribunal cast doubt on this, citing his ability to instruct counsel for a strike-out application during proceedings and the fact he had transferred some assets to his wife. The tribunal said his statement ‘raised questions he had not answered’.