SFO convicts ex-Mishcon partner of fraud

Former Mishcon de Reya property partner Kevin Steele has been convicted of forgery and fraud offences by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

The case dates back to 2008 when, still a partner at the firm, Steele helped former client Michael Shephard and his friend Mark Pattinson to fraudulently obtain a €22m (£18.4m) loan from Zurich-based EFG Private Bank.

The fraud was committed using fake letters that purported that Shephard had on deposit the sum of £76m held in two accounts at the Guernsey branch of Bank Julius Baer, which was later accepted as security for the loan.

15 New Bridge Street’s David Aaronberg, prosecuting, told Southwark Crown Court that this was “all lies”.

Additionally, Steele faces a further charge of abusing his position at the firm between October 2007 and September 2008 along with using false instruments and conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.

His co-defendants pleaded guilty to two charges on the indictment. All three are due to be sentenced in January 2012.

Steele was removed from Mishcon in September 2008 when the firm referred the matter to the police and the SRA. It is understood that he was also a non-executive director at QPR football club.

A Mishcon spokesperson said he was unable to comment on the matter.

Commenting on the result SFO director Richard Alderman said: “I welcome today’s verdict.  It’s a victory for honesty and fair dealing in business.”