Legislation agency Mishcon de Reya is being sued for £2.9m by a property funding firm for accepting doubtlessly “tainted” cash from a former shopper as cost for authorized charges.
The lawsuit is linked to a bitter family dispute involving property govt Edward Wojakovski and the Tonstate Group, which he owned along with his former father-in-law.
A gaggle of firms related to the Tonstate Group, which went into liquidation this month, is suing Mishcon over cash Wojakovski used to pay authorized payments associated to the dispute.
The lawsuit claims the cash was wrongfully taken from Tonstate and that due to this fact Mishcon mustn’t have accepted it.
Within the details of the declare, filed on the Excessive Court docket this month, the Tonstate firms cite a 2017 WhatsApp message from Mishcon’s govt chair Kevin Gold to Wojakovski’s ex-wife allegedly referencing a Singapore checking account from which the legislation agency acquired cost.
The funds had been “doubtlessly tainted however I believe there’s sufficient round to be sure that everyone seems to be made good”, Gold allegedly stated within the message.
The Tonstate firms accused Mishcon of creating “some belated and halfhearted inquiries of their shopper, however nonetheless proceeded to obtain cost from the Financial institution of Singapore account with out in actual fact having established the provenance of these funds”, in response to the declare.
The dispute between Wojakovski and his ex-wife’s family is over funds they declare he took from Tonstate. Excessive Court docket rulings present that Wojakovski admitted to extracting cash from the group however argued it was with the prolonged family’s settlement. In 2019, he was ordered to repay nearly £13m. A freezing order was imposed in 2020 and he was declared bankrupt.
Wojakovski’s former father-in-law, Arthur Matyas, additionally admitted to taking cash from the Tonstate firms and agreed to repay the cash in 2020.
The claims in opposition to Mishcon observe related allegations made by Tonstate in opposition to different corporations which have represented Wojakovski. Earlier this yr, Excessive Court docket Justice Antony Zacaroli rejected claims of regulatory failings in opposition to legislation corporations Keidan Harrison and Rayden Solicitors.
Strict guidelines govern the best way legal professionals deal with shopper cash to attempt to forestall cash laundering.
The Tonstate lawsuit is the most recent occasion the place Mishcon has been accused of mishandling funds. In October, the agency was fined £25,000 by the legal professionals’ regulator for England and Wales for letting football agent clients channel commission payments by its shopper checking account.
Mishcon stated in a press release: “We take our regulatory obligations very significantly. There was no wrongdoing on our half. Our full response might be set out in our defence which has not been filed but.”
Shlomo Rechtschaffen, a lawyer for the Tonstate firms who has additionally represented Matyas, didn’t reply to a request for remark.
Luke Harrison, a lawyer for Wojakovski, said his shopper was “significantly involved in regards to the collateral assault on varied of his legal professionals by Tonstate”. Harrison famous that Justice Zacaroli had referred to as an analogous declare in opposition to his personal agency “strikingly aggressive”.
“While Mr Wojakovski is topic to a put up judgment proprietary freezing order he has concern that it’s being utilized in a fashion that in follow prevents him from acquiring authorized recommendation with a view to burying him in technical breaches of court docket orders and procedural non-compliance,” Harrison stated.
“Freezing orders are an necessary treatment of the English courts however the means to confidentially get hold of authorized recommendation should be preserved if a celebration to litigation will not be being disadvantaged of their Article 6 rights to a good listening to.”
Mishcon sued for £2.9m after family dispute Source link Mishcon sued for £2.9m after family dispute