By Elizabeth Hearst
One of the United Kingdom’s most prestigious law firms, Mischon de Reya, is currently under investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in connection with alleged money laundering and tax evasion.
The Guardian reports that the investigatory body has spent over two years examining the firm that represented Diana, Princess of Wales, in her divorce from Prince Charles amid suspicions relating to transfers of Premier League footballers.
The investigation was initiated after the SRA received individual reports between 2017 and 2018 that detailed a series of allegations about the law firm. One of these allegations involve suspicions relating to a fee paid by Newcastle Football Club to an agent following the signing of Senegal international Demba Ba in 2011.
Separately, The Times reports that the law firm is also being investigated in connection with its relationship with a former client, Luis Nobre who was subsequently jailed for 14 years after being convicted of laundering £100 Million.
The law firm has grown significantly in the last ten years, with revenue jumping from £48 Million in 2009-10 to £188 Million in 2019-20. It’s believed that at least one of these investigations resulted from a self-referral by Mischon de Reya to the SRA.
Speaking about the investigation, Mischon de Reya said: “There have been no adverse judicial or regulatory findings against our firm or any of our partners or employees in relation to the matters described.”
The SRA opened an investigation after the body received a report about a 2017 high court judgement in a case between Newcastle United Football club and HM Revenue and Customs. Although Mischon de Reya was not a party in the case, it was used to transfer the majority of fees paid to sign Demba Ba to companies linked to him and unlicenced football agents.
Although complaints to the SRA are frequent and result in roughly 6000 investigations per year including those companies who refer themselves to the body.
When asked about the investigation, the SRA spokesperson said: “We do not normally comment on the details of our investigations. It is only if action is necessary that it becomes a matter of public record.” They added: “There have been no adverse judicial or regulatory findings against our firm or any of our partners or employees in relation to the matters described.”
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