Clyde & Co LLP, Christopher Duffy, Simon Gamblin and Nick Purnell

  • Application 11599-2017
  • Hearing 21 March 2017
  • Reasons 12 April 2017

The SDT ordered that the first respondent (recognised body) should pay a fine of £50,000; and that the second respondent (admitted 1983), the third respondent (admitted 1994) and the fourth respondent (admitted 1996) should each pay a fine of £10,000.

All the respondents had allowed the firm’s client bank account to be used as a banking facility, contrary to rules 6 and 14.5 of the SRA Accounts Rules 2011 and principles 6 and 8 of the SRA Principles 2011, and had thereby failed to achieve outcome 7.4 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.

All the respondents had failed to act in accordance with their obligations under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007, contrary to principles 7 and 8, and had failed to achieve outcome 7.5.

The first, second and fourth respondents had failed to heed the guidance in the Law Society’s fraudulent financial arrangements warning and the Warning Notice on Money Laundering, and in so doing had acted contrary to principles 6 and 8 and had failed to achieve outcome 1.3.

The first respondent had breached rules 15(3) and (4) of the Solicitors Accounts Rules 1998 and rules 14.3 and 14.4 of the rules, and in so doing had acted contrary to principle 8 and failed to achieve outcomes 7.2 and 7.3.

Each of the respondents had let down the profession and their actions would tend to diminish rather than maintain the trust the public would place in them and in the provision of legal services. The defaults in question were particularly glaring as the firm was a large and previously reputable firm; it would be expected to set an example to other firms in its compliance systems.

The fact that there was a significant risk that the respondents had given credibility to possibly fraudulent schemes which might have involved money laundering was itself sufficient to cause damage to the reputation of the individuals and the firm, as well as the profession as a whole.

However, there was no suggestion that there had been any lack of integrity, probity or trustworthiness on the part of any of the respondents.

The respondents were ordered to pay costs of £82,454 on the basis of joint and several liability.