Ex-Mishcons partner convicted of forgery and fraud in €22m loan case

Former Mishcon de Reya property partner Kevin Steele has been found guilty of forgery and two fraud offences in a €22m (£19m) loan scam.

Steele was convicted at Southwark Crown Court today (5 December) and is set to be sentenced on 9 January 2012.

Steele’s former client, property developer Michael Shephard, and a third defendant, Mark Pattinson, an employee of Shephard, were also charged and pleaded guilty before trial.

The trio were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud after making a false representation to Zurich’s EFG Bank that a total of £76m held in accounts at Bank Julius Baer in Guernsey was available to be used as a security for a loan of €22m for Shephard.

The defendants have also been found guilty of conspiracy to use false instruments – letters purporting to originate from Bank Julius Baer – with the intention of inducing third parties to accept them as genuine.

Steele has been prosecuted further for abusing his position as a partner at Mishcons “by dealing with the affairs of Michael Andrew Shephard in such manner as would inevitably expose the firm to risk of loss, in breach of section 4 of the Fraud Act 2006″.

Steele was convicted by a jury trial that found him guilty on all three counts.

The case has been pursued by the Serious Fraud Office since November 2008. Steele was removed from Mishcons’ partnership in September that year when the matter was referred to the police and Solicitors Regulation Authority.