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£3,000 professional misconduct fine for Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh

16 January 2019

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, the solicitor and former SNP MP, was yesterday censured and fined £3,000 by the Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal for professional misconduct while a partner of the former legal firm of Hamilton Burns.

Ms Ahmed, along with director Alan Mickel, with whom she ran the practice and who received the same penalties, failed to keep proper accounts in relation to a trust set up by Mr Mickel in 2012 on behalf of his sister, and used trust funds to make loans to the firm when it ran into financial difficulties.

At the hearing it was accepted by the Law Society of Scotland, which brought the disciplinary case, that the pair had not acted dishonestly but had acted in the genuine but erroneous belief that the trust was a private, family matter, whereas it should have been treated as a client of the firm.

Dorothy Bain QC, for Ms Ahmed-Sheikh, who was cashroom partner at the time, said she accepted that she "should have analysed the state of the firm with more vigour vis-a-vis the trust". None of the family involved with the trust had raised concerns about how it had been run.

After considering the case overnight the tribunal decided that the breaches of the rules were serious enough to amount to professional misconduct.

Afterwards Ms Ahmed-Sheikh, MP for Ochil between 2015 and 2017, said she was pleased that the tribunal had decided to impose the lower penalty rather than striking off.

She and Mr Mickel both hope to continue their professional careers, Mr Mickel by moving to England.

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