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Aberdeen solicitor struck off for multiple rule breaches
A solicitor formerly in practice in Aberdeen has been struck off for a catalogue of breaches of the accounts rules and other failings.
Ian James McDougall, who ran his own firm of McDougall & Co, was found guilty by the Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal of professional misconduct by effecting multiple transfers of funds between clients without their authority; taking fees without rendering fee notes; failing to keep proper accounting records; failing to show compliance with the Money Laundering Regulations; retaining multiple client balances that should have been paid out; multiple failures to carry out risk assessments or undertake sufficient client due diligence to establish the identity of the firm’s clients or retain records having done so, which would comply with the Money Laundering Regulations 2007; and failing to address these breaches, itself a course of conduct amounting to a deliberate breach of the rules.
Mr McDougall, who did not appear at the tribunal hearing, was suspended from practice in June 2015 and sequestrated in November that year.
In its decision the tribunal said his conduct was "extremely serious". Bad practice and multiple breaches of the rules over a significant period of time had been identified and discussed with him following an inspection by the Law Society of Scotland at the end of March 2015. Despite assurances being given by Mr McDougall, the practice continued. The conduct directly related to his handling of client monies and placed his clients at risk. It was impossible to assess from the firm’s books and accounts its true financial position.
The course of conduct was likely to damage the reputation of the profession, and the only disposal that would reflect the seriousness of the misconduct and protect the public and the reputation of the profession was to strike Mr McDougall's name from the roll of solicitors in Scotland.
Click here to view the tribunal's decision.