Hello and welcome to the Fides Weekly Update. Take a look at this week’s key trends, moves and developments in legal and compliance.
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1.) Clifford Chance likely to come under SRA investigation after clearing RBS of fraud
Clifford Chance is to face possible questions from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) for allegedly overlooking allegations of fraud during its investigation into Royal Bank of Scotland’s treatment of small companies in financial difficulties.
The firm was accused by a small business owner of failing to act upon evidence of mistreatment by the bank’s Global Restructuring Group (GSR), which Clifford Chance cleared of fraud allegations four years ago.
In 2014 RBS commissioned Clifford Chance to prepare an independent report on allegations made by Lawrence Tomlinson, entrepreneur in residence at the former department for Business, Innovation & Skills, who claimed that the bank deliberately misinformed viable businesses in order to pick up their assets cheaply.
Although the report concluded that there was no evidence to support these claims, critics argued that CC’s investigation did not go far enough.
In 2015, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) undertook its own review which found the bank guilty of ‘systemic mistreatment’ of distressed small businesses, but cleared the lender of the most serious allegation that it forced businesses to default for its own benefit.
The SRA is now reviewing the evidence presented by Clive May, one of the small business owners interviewed by Clifford Chance as part of the 2014 report, to decide whether a formal investigation will be necessary.
2). Movers & Shakers
Patent litigation partner Christopher Stothers is joining A&O with a team of four lawyers made up of counsel Laura Whiting and associates Paul Abbott and Ammina Rao.
City partner Chris Brennan to join the regulatory team at White & Case
Global securitisation head Jonathan Walsh to join the firm next week
Partner Marcus Booth is moving over to lead the firm’s private equity practice in the Middle East with a small team of London associates
Mergers & Alliances