Former Lawrence Graham partner Michael Fielding is understood to owe a massive £12m to the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and is now the subject of an investigation by the Metropolitan Police.
Fielding's case is due before a hearing today (9 July) to have him declared bankrupt. A source who has seen the petition from RBS has told The Lawyer that his debts amount to £12m. Fielding left the country last month amid allegations of financial wrongdoing. He is accused of taking around £2m from his biggest client, London & Regional Properties. The petition is understood to include a combination of guarantees and personal borrowing obligations, with some of the guarantees having been called in. The claims are said to date back over 15 years, to Fielding's days at his own 20-partner firm Grangewoods; the banking and asset finance practice subsequently merged with Brecher & Co. Fielding joined Lawrence Graham several years ago from his post as a director at Minerva Corporation. RBS has appointed a special manager to oversee Fielding's affairs, and is being represented in the case by South East firm Cripps Harries Hall. Ernst & Young partner David Pallen has taken on the role of special manager. It is known that Ernst & Young only deals with large-scale personal bankruptcies. Concerning the investigation into Fielding by the Metropolitan Police, a police spokesman said: "We've received allegations of theft from a firm of solicitors and will be fully and thoroughly investigating." A spokesman for Lawrence Graham said that an internal investigation was still underway at the firm and until that was completed the firm could not comment. Fielding is understood to be in the US and suffering a mental illness. He is being represented by Radcliffes partner Gillian Benning. Benning refused to comment on today's proceedings.