SRA launches probe into Panama Papers law firms
15 April 2016
After the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) ordered every financial services company in the country to report on their involvement with Panama, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has woken up and politely asked a grand total of four law firms if they were aware of any rum goings-on.
Earlier this week the FCA told all British financial institutions to disclose whether they have conducted business with Mossack Fonseca, the law firm
at the centre of the Panama Papers. And having climbed out of bed, buttered two slices of toast and opened its copy of the Guardian, the
SRA is now taking action too. Although its investigation is far less ambitious as it is only contacting those law firms which have already
been expressly named by the media in connection with the Panama Papers.
||A voiding might occur
The four firms named in the media so far are:
- Simmons & Simmons
. The firm, which was recently caught by RollOnFriday manipulating
its trainee retention results, was revealed in the Panama Papers to
have worked alongside Mossack Fonseca providing English law advice in
relation to the formation of Blairmore Holdings, the offshore fund set
up by the British Prime Minister's father.
. The firm was an adviser to UAE president Khalifa bin Zayed bin
Sultan Al Nahyan in relation to his dealings in the UK. He was revealed
to be the beneficial owner of companies established in the British
Virgin Islands which held properties in London worth more than £1
- Pettman Smith
, a London firm now known as Child & Child
its merger. The London firm has also been named as an adviser to Al
. The firm has been named in the leaked documents as an
adviser to Baroness Pamela Sharples, a Conservative member of the House
of Lords who has been shown to be a major shareholder of
Bahamas-headquartered Nunswell Investments.
A spokesman for the SRA told RollOnFriday that it was writing to the firms to "ask for assurances that they have looked into the matter and have acted appropriately".
To which "oh yes
" would seem the best answer. He added that the SRA was
also liaising with other regulatory bodies.
dragged into the story is awkward for the named firms, but it doesn't sound like the SRA's probe is going to be particularly invasive. Trethowans managing partner Chris Whiteley told RollOnFriday that the firms has "answered all of the questions without this causing us any concern
However none of Simmons, 2Children or HFW would dare comment.