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Mishcon fined £25k over football agent fees

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Breached account rules

Mishcon de Reya’s London office

London law firm Mishcon de Reya has been fined £25,000 for allowing multi-million-pound payments to be made through its client account to agents involved in football transfers.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal’s (SDT) sanction came after the firm admitted four breaches of account rules relating to transactions between 2011 and 2015. The firm had denied a fifth breach, but this was found proven by the tribunal.

It was previously reported the payments were made to individuals who could stop transfers from going ahead. Solicitors’ rules stipulate money flowing through a law firm’s account must relate to legal services.

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Responding to the tribunal’s ruling, a firm spokesperson said it continues to make “robust efforts to ensure compliance with our regulatory requirements” in what they described as an “ever-evolving regulatory landscape”.

They continued: “Any findings are of course most unfortunate, and the firm must and will pay heed to them in our process of continuous improvement, but there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing beyond these limited findings.”

Meanwhile one of Mishcon’s former partners, Liz Ellen, was cleared of allegations that she “caused or allowed” the firm’s client account to be used as a banking facility. In reaching its decision, the tribunal noted the sports law specialist was “relatively junior” at the time and “had no power to authorise the payments”.

In a statement Ellen’s solicitor said: “Ms Ellen welcomes the tribunal’s decision, dismissing the allegation made against her. The matter dates back over ten years when Ms Ellen was a junior solicitor working under the direct supervision of experienced partners at the firm. She has and always will continue to take her regulatory obligations seriously.”

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