Bank wins first round against Lawrence Graham's disgraced former partner
Sandra Fielding, the wife of disgraced former Lawrence Graham partner Michael Fielding, has been found liable for a debt of £3m that was incurred on the pair's personal joint account.
Last week, a judgment was handed down in a case brought by Cripps Harries Hall client Royal Bank of Scotland against Sandra Fielding, which revealed that Michael Fielding had deceived not only his firm and clients, but also his wife and his bank.
In 2001, after running up millions of pounds of debt with his bank, Michael Fielding allegedly took £2m out of client London & Regional Properties' account. The judgment stated that on 2 June that year, Michael Fielding cleared his desk at Lawrence Graham, leaving a letter to the senior partner in which he confessed that he had removed substantial amounts of clients' funds and stating his intention "to be abroad for some time". The same day, he and his wife jetted off to Miami, where they are still living.
Mr Justice Hart ruled that although the bank could not produce the original mandate that the Fieldings signed agreeing to joint liability on the account, he was satisfied that the document would have been signed as a matter of routine. Therefore she was liable for the debt her husband had run up.
However, Judge Hart said that Sandra Fielding presented a convincing picture of a woman who had been bewildered and traumatised by the double blow of discovering that her "hitherto respected and financially prestigious husband was in all likelihood a thief", and "that the bank held her liable for over £3m".
On at least two occasions, the judgment states that Michael Fielding forged his wife's signature on major financial documents.
Sandra Fielding, advised by Kendall Freeman, has been granted leave to appeal, and is considering her position. Michael Fielding, who was adjudicated bankrupt in 2001, remains in Miami and the Metropolitan police investigation continues. Michael Fielding could not be reached for comment.