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It's important not to jump to conclusions. But there are questions that need answering.

Mr Clarke’s first version may be true. It was against his interest to make it in the form that he did by taking sole responsibility for what happened. Against that his resignation letter seems rather formal or stilted - and why write it anyway - when contrasted with his reported speech patterns at interview.

On the other hand, the money was taken over a period seeming to span three calendar years and therefore two accounting ones. And no one noticed.

There also seems to be no indication of how precisely the money was actually spent. What was the firm’s position before drawings/profit and what effect did the money have on it? Did the owners draw money?

The closeness of the two hearings [I’ve not done a timeline] gives me the impression that Mr Clarke’s change of heart/story was known before the SRA signed off the plea deal or at least before it was presented to the SDT. If I’m wrong no doubt someone will give chapter and verse. If I was the chair of the first SDT concerned I would want to know pronto.

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