LONDON (Within the Law) - In a blow to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, a solicitor who was struck off in 2011 for money laundering has been restored to the roll.
According to a disciplinary tribunal, ‘much water has passed under the bridge,’ since Shadab Ahmed Khan was convicted of money laundering in 2009. Khan has been convicted of one count of money laundering and two counts of failing to disclose suspicion of money laundering after he had become involved with a drug dealer.
Khan laundered the proceeds of crime through various conveyancing transactions and served two years of a four-year sentence.
This is the second time he has attempted to restore his name. Back in 2018, a tribunal said he had not shown enough insight to understand the gravity of his offenses. This time, Khan insisted he now understands the seriousness of his transgressions and the tribunal agreed. It said Khan ‘now saw matters as they truly were and had removed the gloss which he previously applied.” The tribunal rejected a submission from the SRA which argued he should remain banned. According to the tribunal, this was one of those ‘narrow categories of cases where there was a route back into the profession for those who had made demonstrable, credible and real steps to rehabilitate themselves.
In his December appearance Khan, now aged 49, said: “My remorse is plain, absolute and unwavering.”
Since leaving prison he has worked in the legal department of Bradford Council as a legal officer and, after August 2019 with permission from the SRA, worked as a paralegal with Certus Solicitors. However, the SRA still opposed his restoration claiming evidence of his rehabilitation was limited and should be balanced against the severity of his offense.
Although the tribunal granted the application with conditions on his practicing certificate it ordered him to pay the SRA’s £3,000 costs in full.
Money laundering continues to be a growing problem in the legal profession. In 2019 the SRA reported a 43% rise in reports of possible money laundering. Technology, combined with the interruptions of lockdown, is creating a fertile environment for fraudsters despite attempts from regulators to tighten safeguards.
(Written by Tom Cropper, edited by Klaudia Fior)