UK Solicitor suspended for AML breach.

A London solicitor dealing in six-figure international transactions apparently having no previous experience doing so has been suspended indefinitely.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal found Biplab Jumar Poddar, who practised from Hamlet Solicitors LLP, had accepted £122,000 from a Chinese client and went on to pay out £112,000 of those funds to other parties.

Poddar did not properly estblish the parties involved in the transaction and was relying on supposed personal knowledge. The tribunal furher found he was aware of anti-money laundering regulations but willingly did not comply, failing to question parties paying or receiving funds into a client bank account.

The tribunal found these mistakes were obvious and would have sounded ‘alarm bells’ to any solicitor who read the document that this had the hallmarks of being dubious.

The tribunal concluded thatPoddar ‘never stopped to consider that the parties had had hidden and vest interests and had chosen him, a solicitor with no practical experience in international transactions of high value, as their puppet, and someone who would not ask the searching and probing questions which were required in these circumstances.’

‘In essence, he had surrendered his independence and he carried out whatever his client told him to do.’

The tribunal further added that his actions were not spontaneous and he pursued a course of action ‘blind to his own lack of expertise’ in such matters. In doing so he breached the general trust the public placed in a solicitor.

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