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K&L Gates sued for A$31m after partner pilfered client funds
26 August 2011
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Ex-K&L Gates partner, Navin Kumar Aggarwal, has admitted stealing money from his former firm's client accounts to fund his gambling habits.

In the ever-expanding list of law firm partners who've been accused of having their hands in the till, 44 year-old Aggarwal may be the most audacious. Rather than merely fiddling his expenses or pilfering the odd hundred thousand from the firm's partners, Aggarwal stands accused of misappropriating up to A$31m of money from the accounts of some of K&L Gates' biggest clients.

    A hard day at the office yesterday

According to a Bloomberg report, Aggarwal - ironically a member of the firm's Betting and Gaming practice - resigned from the K&L Gates partnership in June after being confronted with allegations of theft and admitting to taking cash from client escrow accounts to fund his long-term gambling problem. Days later his assets were frozen and the firm launched a claim against him for breach of trust.

Aggarwal will appear before the Hong Kong court this month to face the allegation that he stole A$2m from the account of RIM China before transferring the cash to Wynn International, which operates a luxury casino in Macau just a short ferry hop away from Hong Kong. But given that his former firm is now staring down the barrel of lawsuits worth up to A$31 from clients seeking compensation for its errant employee's alleged stealing spree, it's unlikely this will be his only court appearance.

And with Minter Ellison's former CFO standing accused of raiding the partners' accounts, and the number of UK partners accused of dipping their hands into the cookie jar, it's a sorry old time for law firm partners.


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