Solicitors who received money from Cayman Island fund are struck off


Four solicitors have been struck off after a tribunal ruled they took out “excessive and reckless” loans from a Cayman Island investment fund.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal struck off Richard Emmett, Louise Emmett, Matthew Stokes and Mary Hunter.

The four Preston based solicitors have also been ordered to cost of the tribunal which came to £252,000.

David Rae and Dale Stephenson have also been banned from working in the legal profession and ordered to pay fines of £200,000 and £50,000 respectively.

The case – one of the biggest ever brought in relation to the Cayman Island-based Axiom Fund – was centred on Preston firm Emmetts.

An investigation was carried out by the Serious Fraud Office in 2014 into the collapse of the Axiom Legal Financing Fund.

Emmetts took 71 payments from the fund between May 2010 and October 2010 which came to almost £30m.

The money should have been used to fund litigation but was instead used to pay salaries and expenses. It was also used to set up a property company in Dubai.

According to the tribunal Emmett was “dependent” on Axiom funding. At the same time the firm “engaged in borrowing that was excessive and reckless in that the sums incurred were so large as to there being no prospect of it being repaid”.

The law firm eventually went into administration.

All six people were partners in Emmetts and received cash from the fund.

Richard and Louise Emmett were paid a total of £1.9m from the Axiom Fund.

Stokes and Hunter each received £300,000, while companies owned by Rae, who was the firm’s chief executive, received almost £600,000.

Stephenson was paid almost £55,000.

Richard Emmett was struck off and ordered to make an interim costs payment of £58,916.

Louise Emmett was struck off and ordered to pay the same amount.

Matthew Stokes was struck off and ordered to make an interim payment of £25,250.

Mary Hunter was struck off and ordered to make an interim payment of £8.416.

David Rae was fined £200,000 with costs and Dale Stephenson was fined £50,000.