Firm falsely advertises services of commercial barrister jailed over £600,000 VAT fraud

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By Thomas Connelly on

Fails to mention he was stripped of QC status

A barrister who was jailed, disbarred and stripped of his QC status after evading more than £600,000 in tax, is being promoted falsely on the website of a London firm.

According to Global Legal and Business Consultants, “Rohan Pershad QC” is “a highly skilled commercial lawyer” who was appointed to Queen’s Counsel in 2011. However, what the firm profile (in full below) omits to mention is that Pershad was subsequently stripped of his two-letter title after failing to file a tax return for 12 years.

Previously a tenant at 39 Essex Chambers, a top commercial set in London and home to some of the country’s wealthiest lawyers, was jailed for three and a half years in 2013, and disbarred two years later, for pocketing over £600,000 of Value Added Tax (VAT) paid to him by his clients.

? Screenshot of Rohan Pershad’s profile

As the website RollOnFriday explains, a barrister’s silk status isn’t automatically scrubbed at the point of disbarment. The decision, which the Bar Council has described a “serious and drastic step”, must be conferred by a Letter Patent, a legal instrument in the form of a published written order and signed by a monarch.

Unfortunately for Pershad, this is exactly what happened when, in 2016, the Queen’s Counsel Appointments, the independent body responsible for administering the letters, stripped him of his legal title. Not that you’d have known that from his online profile, which remains live on the firm’s website.

On this point, Cemil Gursel, a solicitor at the firm, told the website that he’d become “aware” of the oversight recently and had “intended to tell the website to remove [Pershad’s] name”.

During Pershad’s high-profile trial, London’s Blackfriars court heard how the “financially astute” lawyer, who was called to the bar in 1991, used the cash to purchase two properties worth £1.5 million and to privately educate his four children. Denying any wrongdoing, the fraud specialist insisted he was simply “extremely poor at paperwork”. Legal Cheek was unable to reach Pershad for comment.

A spokesperson for the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) said: “Solicitors have an obligation under the Code of Conduct to make sure that publicity for their firm is accurate and not misleading.”

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