A City solicitor accused of transferring £350,000 of client money without authorisation has claimed an ex-client fabricated emails and text messages in order to incriminate him.
Tony Norman Guise, ex-chair of the Commercial Litigation Association (CLAN) and a former member of the Law Society civil justice committee, was cross-examining the former client before the Solicitors Discplinary Tribunal. Guise is accused by the Solicitors Regulation Authority of making dishonest and unauthorised transfers between 2014 and 2015.
Guise told the tribunal that the client, identified as 'Client A', had agreed to invest the money in his digital litigation start-up. Client A denied this, saying he ‘desperately needed the funds to rebuild my life’. The money formed part of a £600,000 divorce settlement.
Addressing the tribunal this morning, Guise claimed there were never any requests for statements of account until March 2018 – two years after the alleged incident – and that Client A had not asked him to return the money at the time in question.
'I put it to you that...nine emails that were fabricated. Do you agree?' Guise said. Client A strenuously denied this under cross-examination.
Guise is also accused of transferring £20,200 from CLAN Commercial Services – a separate entity to the Commercial Litigation Association – without authorisation in 2014 and 2015. The SRA alleged this money was used for matters that were ‘clearly private and personal’, including a meal at London restaurant Coq d’Argent and a Netflix subscription.
Earlier this week, Guise alleged that a witness, a former director of CLAN Commercial Services, had blackmailed six solicitors on the executive committee of the Commercial Litigation Association to force them to send a letter of complaint to the SRA.The witness denied the allegation.
Guise denies all wrongdoing. The hearing continues.