Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Two years later, Police Chief refuses to name crooked lawyers & accountants in SCDEA ‘swoop’ because Law Society & ICAS ‘are still investigating’

Scdea_logoScottish Crime & Drug Enforcement Agency have chased crooked lawyers for two years yet no names, no prosecutions. THE Director General of the Scottish Crime & Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA), Deputy Chief Constable Gordon Meldrum has been forced to admit to the media this week he cannot identify a so-far unnamed, mysterious group of crooked lawyers & crooked accountants who allegedly work for Scotland’s top crime gangs & bosses, because two self regulators, the Law Society of Scotland who regulate solicitors & the Institute of Chartered Accountants for Scotland (ICAS) who regulate Scottish accountants, are still investigating the allegations & complaints.

Since 2009, the SCDEA have claimed around 241 “specialists”, such as crooked lawyers and accountants, were linked to the organised crime groups operating in Scotland. To-date, not one crooked lawyer or accountant has been charged with criminal offences relating to the now yearly claims made by the Police organisations. However, this year, the figure has now apparently risen to 291 such individuals, as the SCDEA’s recently released crime map lists 360 gangs, 200 of them based in Strathclyde Region, and 4472 members, including the specialists.

In a report published in the Herald newspaper on Monday 6 June, the SCDEA’s director general, Deputy Chief Constable Gordon Meldrum, is reported as claiming 12 of the specialists “taken out” were key players acting as lynchpins for the top 20% of Scotland’s 360 organised crime groups.

Mr Meldrum is quoted : "We found out that these 12 undoubtedly operated on behalf of a number of gangs. By taking out one of the specialists, you can impact on, say, eight groups because they all draw a particular type of advice from one of the individuals. We know for a fact that a number of specialists sit as nexus points in a number of groups. We have got to a position where we have undertaken investigations in to all of them and we have undertaken some kind of action against all of them."

The Herald went onto report “Mr Meldrum is unable to name any of the 12, because of ongoing proceedings against them involving the Crown Office, the Law Society of Scotland and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.”

Law Society of ScotlandSecret investigations or simple cover-up ? Law Society of Scotland ‘are investigating’ claims of lawyers working for gangsters yet none have yet been identified. Today, it can be revealed the cases before the Law Society of Scotland have been held up over the concerns of the legal profession that the rot involving the so-far unnamed crooked lawyers allegedly working for gangland kingpins goes a lot further than the Law Society would like made public. Some within the Law Society are concerned the numbers of crooked lawyers eager represent gangs has risen, due to falling profits of law firms in what is one of the worst business periods for decades for Scotland’s law firms used to bringing in vast profits for their partners.

A legal insider speaking this afternoon on the two year old scandal said it was unusual that solicitors accused of involvement with criminal gangs were able to remain anonymous and at large, while also endangering the reputation of the Scottish legal profession as a whole. He also questioned why no arrests had taken place.

He said : “We have reached a dangerous state of affairs where one of Scotland’s top Police organisations have alleged criminal activity on the part of members of the Scottish legal profession yet not one single member of the legal profession has yet been identified in public, along with any of the allegations they face.”

He continued : “These individuals are still at large which, in the light of the SCDEA’s claims must be a threat to the reputation of Scotland’s legal services industry. If the Police have the evidence against them, then why have these solicitors or advocates not been charged with criminal offences and why has it been left to their own regulatory bodies to deal with the cases which now seem to be developing a life of their own.”

A justice campaigner pointed out innocent clients may end up being caught up in the long running saga if no action is taken. He said : “If these alleged crooked lawyers or accountants have been using innocent clients to front their criminal activities, the Law Society, Police and accountants regulators should have taken action a long time ago otherwise innocent people are going to be dragged into this mess.”

A Government insider commenting on the long running saga of gangland crooked lawyers said today he feared a rerun of the Niels Lockhart-Scottish Legal Aid Board scandal, where serious complaints of Legal Aid irregularities made by the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) against solicitor Mr Lockhart were negotiated away by the Legal Defence Union and the Law Society of Scotland and the case closed without any charges after the Law Society took FOUR YEARS to investigate complaints made by SLAB against Mr Lockhart.

I reported on the Lockhart case in an earlier articles HERE, and exposed the involvement of the Legal Defence Union in the case, which the Law Society closed without a result, here : One law for lawyers : Secret Report reveals Legal Aid Board, Law Society & Legal Defence Union ‘cosy relationship’ in Lockhart case

The insider said : “I fear the SCDEA may well end up with egg on their face if organisations such as the Legal Defence Union take the upper hand in representing the interests of members of the legal profession who are being investigated by the Law Society of Scotland over allegations of criminal behaviour. I think any ordinary person would be justified in asking why are the Law Society involved in this anyway, given the consideration of accusations of crime is clearly a subject the Law Society tend to avoid in complaints handling.”

Asked to confirm whether the Legal Defence Union had been involved in previous Law Society investigations where allegations of criminality against solicitors had been made, the official said : “I believe so. Put it this way, if there are no announcements from the Law Society it has struck off a handful of lawyers acting for gangsters as a result of the SCDEA’s claims, it wont be the first time a solicitor accused of criminal activity has been let off.”

2366Scots accountants regulator ICAS equally useless in regulation, did nothing over accountant Norman Howitt filing false statements with Police to cover up embezzlement and attempt to swindle. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) are as poor at regulating crooked accountants as the Law Society are at regulating crooked lawyers. In my own experience, a Borders Accountant, Norman Howitt now of the JRW Group accountants, filed a false statement with Lothian & Borders Police to cover up his actions in taking money from my late father’s estate to his business accounts, possession of my late mother’s pension and an attempt to take control over her entire assets. Even though the Police were satisfied Mr Howitt’s statement was false, without foundation, and they received evidence of his actings in my late father’s estate, nothing was done. ICAS and its investigator, Dr TM McMorrow, initially found Mr Howitt to blame yet refused to act or punish the crooked accountant, who remains in practice as an accountant in the Scottish Borders to this day.

An individual familiar with the practices of ICAS regulation said : “As for ICAS, don't expect much from them. They are a law unto themselves like the rest of the financial regulators unless there is a bit of PR in it for their end to claim they finally did something.”

No one at the SCDEA was available for comment. The Crown Office have not issued any statement on any charges or investigations concerning these mysterious crooked lawyers & accountants so far not publicly identified by the Scottish Crime & Drug Enforcement Agency.

If any readers have worries their solicitors or accountants may be involved in criminal activities,they should contact Scottish Law Reporter at scottishlawreporter@gmail.com with their suspicions.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hasnt it occurred to you the reason Meldrum cant name them is because he thinks there's a chance the Law Society or Crown Office will do nothing?
When was the last time you saw or heard of a lawyer being prosecuted in Scotland for what the SCDEA allege they did?
Never?
If he fails to get a prosecution will we be treated to another yearly whisper in the ear of journalists about the Crown Office,Law Society & ICAS being time wasters?

Anonymous said...

"Scottish Crime & Drug Enforcement Agency have chased crooked lawyers for two years yet no names, no prosecutions."

Prepare for another 2 years of pi**ing about at the Law Society!

Anonymous said...

Yes all put to bed quietly like Lockhart and no more will be said about it..

Anonymous said...

If this had been some rapist or mugger their faces would be all over the tv ages ago so why the special secret treatment for lawyers or accountants?

Anonymous said...

Law Society of Scotland = stay out of jail for crooked lawyers

Anonymous said...

You could be right about the LSoS stalling over the investigations.
The Herald story reads to me as Gordon Meldrum being frustrated with the time the LSoS & ICAS are taking although as your insider says why were these people not charged if they had the evidence.
It sounds a bit stupid if a Police agency puts in a complaint about a lawyer to the Law Society when they have the power themselves to do something about it or do they think the Crown Office will not support them?
Tricky and lots of politics wrapped up in this story.

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 8 June 2011 15:00

Fair point ...

# Anonymous @ 8 June 2011 15:28

They are given special treatment because the legal profession perceive themselves to be above the law ...

# Anonymous @ 8 June 2011 15:45

... possibly, although the Law Society appear to be working towards a quiet settlement of the cases, unless perhaps with this week's publicity they feel they have to sacrifice a few members to maintain credibility or generate some useful PR as has already been alleged ...

Anonymous said...

There is nothing to prevent any one of the clients who have lodged complaints with the Law Society of Scotland mentioning that to the press.

Anonymous said...

Why wait? The Law Society of Scotland and the criminal justice system are not mutually exclusive.

Any more delay and these cases will soon be time barred.

Anonymous said...

perhaps if Meldrum had come to you instead of the Law Society you would have given him instant guilty verdicts on the crooked lawyers?

Anonymous said...

In response to the comment at 15:45 surely you cant be serious?
Are you implying the Police have to seek permission from the Law Society of Scotland to prosecute a lawyer for a crime ?

Anonymous said...

SPIN SPIN SPIN FROM KENNY MACASKLL AND THE SCDEA WE'VE BEEN HEARING ABOUT THESE CROOKED LAWYERS/ACCOUNTANTS FOR YEARS NOW AND NOT ONE FACE NAMED OR JAILED!
WHEN SOMEONE SAYS THE LAW SOCIETY RUNS THE JUSTICE SYSTEM EVERYONE LAUGHS AT THEM BUT IT NOW LOOKS LIKE EVEN THE POLICE HAVE TO GET LAW SOCIETY PERMISSION TO GO AFTER A CROOKED LAWYER WHAT A DISGRACE MACASKILL HAS TURNED SCOTLAND INTO

Anonymous said...

“Mr Meldrum is unable to name any of the 12, because of ongoing proceedings against them involving the Crown Office, the Law Society of Scotland and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.”

Since when have the Police been so timid in naming suspects or even the wrong suspects?

Is this a case of the Law Society pulling strings in the background and nothing will happen just like with Niels Lockhart?

Terrible.

Anonymous said...

Stephen House (Chief Constable of Strathclyde) isnt so timid,have a look at this : http://news.stv.tv/scotland/west-central/251701-chief-constable-criminals-should-have-to-prove-they-earned-money-legitimately/
He's asking to limit the right to silence, limit the right to see a lawyer and limit just about everything going but you can bet none of these limits will ever apply to some lawyer dragged into one of his stations.
Disgusting we have a Police state and one rule for those in the legal system and another for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Mr Meldrum is quoted : "We found out that these 12 undoubtedly operated on behalf of a number of gangs. By taking out one of the specialists, you can impact on, say, eight groups because they all draw a particular type of advice from one of the individuals. We know for a fact that a number of specialists sit as nexus points in a number of groups. We have got to a position where we have undertaken investigations in to all of them and we have undertaken some kind of action against all of them."

What kind of mystery action is Meldrum talking about? They can either charge them or not.Why sit around waiting on the Law Society doing nothing if the evidence is solid or is it?

Anonymous said...

Its too disgusting to laugh at really if the cops have to wait on the Law Society deciding what to do/not do

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Police should go visit Norman Howitt for advice on crooked accountants since he is as crooked and anyway giving false statements to the Police is an offence is it not so why was he not charged too?Another cover up and no wonder no one trusts the Police any more

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Police should go visit Norman Howitt for advice on crooked accountants since he is as crooked and anyway giving false statements to the Police is an offence is it not so why was he not charged too?Another cover up and no wonder no one trusts the Police any more

Anonymous said...

This yearly nonsense from the SCDEA is starting to get stale.Has no one bothered to ask them why each year they come out with the same without any convictions to show for it?
I just visited their website and there's a headline about someone done for indecency but nothing to do with crooked lawyers or accountants what kind of operation is it and how much money are they soaking up from real policing?

Anonymous said...

What a stupid idea for the Police to go to the Law Society who is the person behind it? There should be an investigation into why they went the Law Society route instead of just charging the crooks like they should be doing!

Anonymous said...

Today, it can be revealed the cases before the Law Society of Scotland have been held up over the concerns of the legal profession that the rot involving the so-far unnamed crooked lawyers allegedly working for gangland kingpins goes a lot further than the Law Society would like made public.

I laughed so hard when I read this part.Face it Meldrum you are no match for the Legal Defence Union and the Law Society.You should have banged the handcuffs on these twerps as soon as possible.Now you've missed the boat and they will claim all sorts of human rights crap at the Law Society and that old chestnut of professional privilege and all these weird immunities lawyers think they have from the laws of the land.

Anonymous said...

Comment 8 June 2011 20:11

"what kind of operation is it and how much money are they soaking up from real policing?"

Correct.Ask any decent copper and they will tell you the SCDEA are a burden to the service.Of course the Scottish Government will argue otherwise because they see it as a great addition to Policing because it can give them grand sweeping statements like the annual taunt of crime gangs and clean ups which Scotland's Police Forces could easily manage themselves.

A political monster at the very least and yet another example of the politicisation of the Police Service.

Anonymous said...

So let me get this right this Police Chief believes Frank Mulholland will prosecute a bunch of crooked lawyers or accountants working for crime gangs?
I dont see it happening.Maybe they will be persuaded to jump off a cliff or a quick dash to the Cayman Islands to avoid any embarrassment at the Law Society.Incidentally the Cayman Islands isnt such a bad idea because some very crooked Scottish lawyers already dash off there with cash in the bag.I wonder why the Police dont investigate those ones do you know?

Anonymous said...

Well as a law enforcement officer I am sorry to see your Scottish Police dragged into this debate on crooked lawyers.They should have known better and busted their asses at the time not talk about it for 2 years and then asked some asshole lawyer to investigate the crooked guys!!

Anonymous said...

TM McMorrow formerly of McMorrow & McMorrow Falkirk?

No wonder he did nothing about Howitt - he might work at ICAS but he's actually a lawyer and also a member of the Law Society!

Anonymous said...

I read this on Monday and also believe its spin.Nice timing to take the heat off MacAskill & Salmond over the Supreme Court fracas.Too convenient by half!

Anonymous said...

The LDU will be coming after you Peter as their involvement in these cases was supposed to be secret..

Anonymous said...

Maybe they will have to do something now you've revealed the Law Society are up to their usual tricks.I wonder if Meldrum has read this and decided to find out for himself how rotten the Legal Defence Union is.

Anonymous said...

Doesnt surprise me one bit the Law Society are dragging their feet even when the Police complain although I've never heard of such a thing before where the Police have to complain about a lawyer to get something done about it!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the Law Society & SCDEA will be talking today about how to avoid any mutual embarrassment and you can bet the criminal aspect of all this will come last not first.

Clearly no one knows the Law Society better than you Mr C.

Anonymous said...

Well all this is very odd Mr Cherbi because my wife went into our local Police station to report our solicitor for misusing our titles and the Policeman said they couldnt do anything about it.I then wrote to his Chief Constable and we were visited by 2 detectives who took statements one of them said it sounded like fraud which it is because the solicitor used our titles in a mortgage scam and then someone wrote back saying they could do nothing about it because "it is a civil matter" even with the solicitor signing me and my wife's names on papers we eventually managed to get hold of from the bank.If you want the details I can send them to you and you might want to look into the fact a close relative of the solicitor is a senior Policeman and we all think this is why he got away with it.

Anonymous said...

Quite funny to see the Police have no powers against crooked lawyers isnt it well not funny more like CORRUPT.

Anonymous said...

No wonder the Law Society of Scotland resists tooth and nail any publically availble list of its members who have been found wanting - where would it end?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Quite funny to see the Police have no powers against crooked lawyers isnt it well not funny more like CORRUPT.

9 June 2011 15:54

Yes well they could ask for more powers like they usually do when asking to write their own search warrants or limit the right to silence but no they obviously dont want anything to do with being able to arrest lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Police Chief offers up interview has his hand bitten off for easy money no facts just spin end of story

Anonymous said...

The story is so old I do not trust the line from the Police on these anonymous crooks and adding the Law Society to it just makes it worse.Nothing will happen believe me there will be no crooked lawyers dragged out for us to throw rotten tomatoes at!

Peter Cherbi said...

Thanks for your comments & emails on this article.

There is a comment tonight which cannot be published due to certain identifiable details within it, however I would respond as follows :

Within material seen but not in possession, it appears a certain organisation is arguing the Police have no right to complain against certain professionals as they were not the clients of the professionals, nor were they being provided with a service by those professionals.

# Anonymous @ 9 June 2011 16:11

I agree .. and let there be no doubt about it, the Law Society have used extraordinary means to protect themselves from any requirement to publish the identities of their members, particularly those on the committees and the case reporters ...

# Anonymous @ 9 June 2011 14:22

Yes I would like to see more of your case, you can contact me via scottishlawreporters@gmail.com

# Anonymous @ 8 June 2011 22:51

... because they have been told not to investigate I assume .. or are afraid of what they may find out if they do ...

You can tell me if you like and I will see any money laundering Scottish lawyers on regular trips to the Caymans get front page billing ...

Anonymous said...

So the Law Society are treating it as a 3rd party complaint? The Police will be so happy to hear it..

Anonymous said...

Clearly there are more questions raised by the SCDEA media hype than answers.Why did they go to the Law Society and why is the SLCC not mentioned given they are the first point of call for complaints against solicitors in Scotland ?

I fear another cover up in the making..

Anonymous said...

This is very far from a Police force more a political animal that will go after anyone who shines a much needed light on it.I'm sure you will remember this :
http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/2008/12/07/former-top-cop-graeme-pearson-blasts-under-fire-police-authority-78057-20952356/

Former top cop Graeme Pearson blasts under-fire police authority

Dec 7 2008 By Russell Findlay, Sunday Mail

ONE of Scotland's most experienced crime-busters yesterday slated a crisis-hit police authority.

Former Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency head Graeme Pearson spoke out as Scottish Police Services Agency chief David Mulhern prepared for legal action against his bosses.

Mulhern - who is on leave because of "significant concerns" believed to focus on his management style - has gone to court to block any disciplinary action.

And last night Pearson said: "It's not really about Mr Mulhern but the whole culture and approach that was wrong."

The Sunday Mail has exposed a series of scandals at the SPSA since Mulhern became boss last year.

Pearson, who quit his SCDEA position blaming friction caused by the new authority, added: "All the mistakes that have happened over the past three years will only now begin to unpack and they will be able to identify the right way forward.

"The whole situation is unusual but the birth of the SPSA and its culture were unusual.

"While at the front door of that administration was Mr Mulhern, it was the whole administration that was ill thought-out.

"The politicians cobbled together something that was a complete mess, which I spent two years dealing with. If it becomes personalised, it becomes trivial but this is a significant issue.

"It's about the heart and soul of the SCDEA."

The s84million-a-year SPSA runs the SCDEA, along with the country's fingerprint and forensic services and the Scottish Police College.

It was created to cut costs by centralising services.

But a number of police chiefs fear that they are aiming to effectively create a nationwide super-force in charge of the most important work.

Pearson was one of several highprofile figures to quit because of SPSA red tape.

Strathclyde Police's deputy chief constable Ricky Gray, who stood down last year, said: "I am concerned by the lack of accountability of the SPSA, which is a quango."

The Sunday Mail exposed how Mulhern broke the law by having blue police lights on his civilian car and how his millionaire wife had poached a key SPSA colleague for her business.

Last month, we told how the SPSA had spent more than s2million on consultants.

And Mulhern was accused of talking "absolute nonsense" by Grampian chief constable Colin McKerracher in a row over plans to close Aberdeen's forensic lab.

UNDER FIRE

December 9, 2007: We reveal how Strathclyde deputy chief constable Ricky Gray quit in fury at SPSA meddling. He said interference could weaken the force "to the point that it is not viable". He said: "I am fed-up fighting against civil servants. It saps your energy."

July 20, 2008: We expose SPSA boss David Mulhern for flouting the law with flashing blue lights on his s30,000 BMW. He risked a s2000 fine for having the lights, only allowed for serving officers and emergency workers. He later removed the lights.

October 26, 2008: In a bizarre move, one of Mulhern's key aides quit her SPSA post to join his wife's business. Top civil servant Sheila Proctor was poached to run millionaire Ann Mulhern's Willow Tearooms in Glasgow. The SPSA said it was a "personal decision".

Anonymous said...

Also dont forget SCDEA officers met with cocaine head Steven Purcell and no charges resulted yet look what happened to him.Those who shine a much needed light on the SCDEA better watch they dont end up in a box.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot more probems at scdea than will appear in any paper trust me