Oscar

"To have one SRA sanction may be regarded as misfortune, twice looks like carelessness."


A former Penningtons consultant has been fined by the SRA for breaching account rules, having been struck off the roll in 2009.

Vinay Veneik was a high-flying rainmaker in real estate at BLP (pre-merger with Bryan Cave) in the early-noughties. However, he failed to pay stamp duty and Land Registry fees on eight transactions over a seven year period, and took money from a client account to pay off the penalties.   

BLP discovered his deception in 2008 and Veniek resigned. The subsequent SRA investigation found that he had misused over £558k in total. In 2009, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal ruled that Veneik’s conduct was “dishonest", but "at the lower end of the scale" and struck him off the roll, but granted permission for him to work as a consultant in the legal profession, under certain conditions.

Shoosmiths hired Veniek as a consultant in 2015, before Penningtons Manches (now Penningtons Manches Cooper) gave him a job, two years later.

In permitting Veniek to be be employed by Penningtons, the SRA said at the time that it was satisfied that his employment would "not put public confidence in the administration of justice and the provision of legal services or the interests of clients at risk".

However, the SRA has now fined Veneik £6,750 and £1,350 in costs. for breaching accounts rules in 2020 while he was employed at Penningtons. He has now left the firm.

The regulator stated in a published decision that Veneik had requested two payments from Pennington's client account that were not related to an underlying legal transaction.

The regulator said that Veneik's "misconduct diminished the trust the public placed in him and the provision of legal services".

But the regulator placed his conduct at the lower end of the financial penalty bracket, as "it did not form part of a pattern of misconduct"; there was "limited risk of repetition" and "there was no evidence of actual loss sustained by clients or the firm".

Penningtons declined to comment. 

 

Tip Off ROF

Comments

Anonymous 27 October 23 09:43

I worked at Shoosmiths when this joker was hired. They put out an all-firm email about how he had not committed any dishonesty (the opposite of what the SDT had found) and went ahead despite multiple warnings. That worked out well then didn't it Mr Duff?! 

Anonymous 27 October 23 10:36

Classic SRA.

Senior guy found to have committed repeated acts of dishonesty and misuse of client funds over several years. Resistant to reforming his ways even after initial sanction.

Little slap on the wrist for you.

 

 

Why waste time rooting out fraud and graft in the profession when you could fill your days with the far more important activity of grinding up NQ's into sausage meat for misplacing a document on a train?

Not fit for purpose. Scrap the whole institution.

Virgil 27 October 23 11:44

£558,000 “at the lower end of the scale”.  I guess it is compared to £64,000,000 nowadays.

Ash 27 October 23 11:47

and yet, when a trainee or paralegal does something dishonest, like forge a signature (wrong of course) under pressure but no loss caused, they get disbarred immediately and future career hopes ruined.  Why the difference?

Loose Pooshits 27 October 23 12:05

Yup. He joined Shoos to get his practising certificate back and he wasn't allowed any access to client or office account - which turns out to have been a very good thing - and left within a couple of years (without getting his certificate back) while we were still at Tower 42. I blame Simon Boss "Hogg" for that one.

Word of warning - "rainmakers" almost always do dodgy stuff and bring in dodgy clients doing dodgy deals with dodgy money. 

And the John Grisham book, the Rainmaker, said it best:

"Every lawyer, at least once in every case, feels himself crossing a line that he doesn't really mean to cross... it just happens... And if you cross it enough times it disappears forever. And then you're nothin' but another lawyer joke. Just another shark in the dirty water."

Oscar Fingal O'Fflahertie Wills Wilde 27 October 23 16:14

He could resist anything but temptation, it seems.

Gutter? 27 October 23 16:48

Possibly now in the gutter, but without the stars bit...

Defund the SRA 27 October 23 17:58

So this absolute joker is allowed to be a repeat offender while trainees and NQs get castrated for sneezing the wrong way? And the SRA also thinks it can make all of us pay for their mishandling of Axiom Ince? Honestly, just torpedo the entire SRA because they are not fit for purpose.

This was... 28 October 23 00:16

...entirely predictable.

Scep Tick 28 October 23 14:23

Why the difference?

Because forging a signature is dishonest. I can’t get why this is so hard for some people. Lying about stuff is game over. That was drilled into me in training. Has teaching changed over the years?
 

This particular fine may have been the classic “instead of sending the money back to me can you send it to this chap I owe money to?” sort of thing. Wrong but not dishonest. 

Silent Majority 30 October 23 16:56

How was he let near client money again...?  Beggars belief.  One rule for the large firms and senior people there; another for everybody else.

Related News