Pair who operated SDLT avoidance scheme at Abode Solicitors suspended on appeal

Two solicitors whose firm was closed down by the SRA in 2012 have been suspended from for three years.

Richard Chan and Rajob Alli ran Abode Solicitors fro Harrogate which until it was closed down by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority was a top ten earning firm per partner in 2011.

The pair were originally fined £15,000 each by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in September 2014. The SRA were given leave to appeal the decision which resulted in Chan and Alli being suspended for three years (backdated to September 2015) and being ordered to pay further costs of £5,500.

The original tribunal was told that Mr Chan and Mr Ali operated various SDLT schemes, including advising clients on the scheme through their own separate Seychelles-based business, which took a commission.

The Tribunal found both liable for twenty breaches of the Code of Conduct including not informing clients of their arrangements, twelve breaches of the Accounts Rules including using the funds of one client to benefit another as well as other matters such as disposing of old client files in a skip

David Middleton, SRA Executive Director, said: “We welcome this new sanction by the Tribunal. Mr Chan and Mr Ali were not acting in their clients’ best interests when involving them in these schemes – they were acting without integrity and their independence had been compromised.

“We warned solicitors in 2012 that there was a risk of serious consequences if they did not comply with the professional principles while promoting or facilitating SDLT avoidance schemes. Solicitors need to do the right thing and act with integrity. This new sanction sends out a strong message about how important that is.”

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