White-Collar Crime

Ousted BigLaw Partner Gets 5 Years for Helping Client Trick Swiss Bank Into Making $28M Loan

A British lawyer ousted in 2008 from his equity partnership at Mishcon de Reya was sentenced today to 5½ years in prison for helping a client trick a private Swiss bank into making a loan of some $28 million.

Solicitor Kevin Steele, 51, helped his client, Michael Shephard, present fake documents to persuade EFG Private Bank that Shephard had access to offshore assets of at least quadruple the amount of the loan, the Guardian reports.

The Southwark Crown Court was told half the loan money went to fund a resort hotel development in Turkey and the rest went into Shephard’s account at the law firm. Then Steele used about $2.8 million of the money from Shephard’s account to reimburse a Russian client to whom Steele had given negligent advice, the newspaper recounts.

Steele was given two concurrent 5½-year terms for conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and conspiracy to use false instruments.

In addition, he was sentenced to a concurrent four-year term for committing fraud by abusing his position at the law firm. That charge related in part to Steele’s alleged theft of about $2.8 million from Shephard’s client account.

Legal Week and Reuters also have stories.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Ex-Mishcon Partner on Trial for His Alleged Role in Helping Perpetrate $28M Fraud on Swiss Bank”

ABAJournal.com: “Ex-Mishcon de Reya Partner Convicted in $28M Loan Scheme”

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