Top British Law Firm Pays Record Fine Over 'Serious Breaches' of Anti-Money Laundering Rules

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The fine came as Mishcon De Reya, which is known for representing the wealthy, prepares to go public on the London Stock Exchange and is expected to seek a value of about £750 million ($1.01 billion).
Leading British law firm Mishcon De Reya has been fined a record sum of £232,500 ($314,373) over what a regulator said were "serious breaches" of anti-money laundering regulations.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) noted in a statement on Wednesday that the breaches had the "potential to cause significant harm by facilitating transactions that gave rise to a risk of facilitating money laundering".

In addition to the hefty fine, the London-based firm agreed to pay £50,000 ($67,601) towards the costs of the investigation carried out by the SRA.

Mishcon De Reya, for its part, said that they are "pleased to have come to a settlement with the SRA relating to two separate and historic investigations in relation to which we have made appropriate admissions".

"Mitigating factors such as our cooperation with the SRA throughout the investigations and the corrective action we have taken since to prevent a recurrence have been recognised by the SRA in reaching this outcome", the company said.
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The regulator's probe pertained to work the firm conducted for two unnamed individual clients and connected corporate vehicles between September 2015 and April 2017.

The SRA inquiry found that Mishcon De Reya's work included the proposed acquisition of two separate entities that had a "higher risk of money laundering or terrorist financing" under relevant anti-money laundering legislation because they involved companies in high-risk jurisdictions.

The regulator found that Mishcon de Reya failed to carry out the required level of due diligence or ongoing monitoring.
Founded in 1937, the firm currently employs more than 900 people, with over 500 lawyers. It is regarded as forming part of the elite "Silver Circle" of the most prestigious law firms in the UK.
The firm's high-profile cases include its acting for Princess Diana during her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996 and the 2016 Gina Miller case against the British government over its authority to implement Brexit without approval from parliament.
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