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MAR
07

New Enhanced Penalties for Driving Whilst Using a Mobile Phone

mobile drivingOn the 1st  of March 2017 the law changed in relation to using mobile telephones and other hand held devices whilst driving a motor vehicle.  There is now a mandatory minimum endorsement of 6 points and a fine of 200.00 pounds. Previously the offence carried 3 points and a 60.00 pound fine.

The offence is committed if a hand held device is held whilst it is on. So even if the driver is not seen by police to be speaking into a phone or sending a message he can still be convicted for driving whilst using a mobile phone. The reason for this is that a phone can still be in “use” by virtue of the fact that it is receiving data.

However, the police have to prove that it was on whilst being held by the driver. This is a matter of evidence that will have to be served on the defence and relied  on in court. This can involve a trial and the instruction of an expert. At Lewis Nedas Law we have team of experienced solicitors and court room advocates who specialise in road traffic offences and can help you with this highly  technical and complex area of law.

The fact that the endorserable penalty points have increased to a mandatory minimum of 6 will place 1000’s of drivers with 6 points already on their licence in a precarious position. The reason for  this is that if  you tot up 12 points within 3 years you face a 6 month disqualification. A driving ban can have far reaching effects both financially and socially. It can, however be avoided if a court determines that the driver would suffer exceptional hardship.

The courts do not routinely accept exceptional hardship applications. They have to be expertly presented at court and supported with both oral and documentary evidence. The solicitors and barristers that Lewis Nedas Law has at it’s disposal are highly effective at presenting these types of cases at court. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you find yourself in this position, we can help.

 

Contact Our Specialist Driving Offences Defence Solicitors

Call us today by calling 0207 387 2032 or by email through our online enquiry, here.

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FEB
14

City Financers get 47 Years for Corruption

Following a five-month trial at Southwark Crown Court, a former senior HBoS manager and his associates recently received jail sentences totalling 47 years for their involvement in a £250 million loan scam.

The case, which concerned corrupt and fraudulent behaviour from ten years ago, followed a six-year investigation and the examination of nearly 500,000 documents, serves as a reminder of the ‘long arm of the law’, as well as the sophisticated investigative methods and prosecution techniques deployed by the CPS Specialist Fraud Division when trying to secure a conviction in complex cases.

In this blog post, we take a brief look at the case and provide an overview of when corrupt behaviour may be found to amount to criminal conduct. At Lewis Nedas, our partner-led Serious Fraud team has vast experience defending clients involved in complex fraud and corruption cases. Our multifaceted approach, including a dogged pursuit of Crown disclosure and in-depth forensic analysis of evidence, marks our Serious Fraud lawyers out as a distinctive and progressive team that takes special care to protect our clients’ interests. For more information on how we may be able to assist you or your business, please contact us.

A corrupt elaborate fraud scheme involving ‘deliberate mismanagement’ and ‘plunderings’

Earlier this month, Judge Beddoe sentenced David Mills (a consultant and financier) to 15 years’ imprisonment, Lynden Scourfield (a former HBoS manager) to 11 years 3 months, and their associates (Michael Bancroft, Mark Dobson, John Cartwright and Mill’s wife Alison) to between 3½ years and 10 years for their roles in a complex fraud carried out between 2003 and 2007.

The scheme involved Scourfield, in return for cash and gifts, requiring his clients (businesses in financial difficulty) to engage Mills as a consultant in order to obtain further lending from the bank. Large amounts of money were then advanced to these businesses, which then paid high consultancy fees to Mills and others, despite there being very little chance of the debt ever being recovered.

Commenting on the case, Specialist Prosecutor Stephen Rowland, from the CPS Specialist Fraud Division, said:

“Many people have had their lives ruined by the corrupt behaviour of Lynden Scourfield, David Mills and associates.

 

“Scourfield worked in a section of his bank which was supposed to help struggling businesses but instead, motivated by greed, he went about stripping them of their assets.

 

“This was a complicated prosecution due to the volume and complexity of the financial transactions and the large sums of money involved. But in the end thanks to the work of prosecutors and investigators the jury were left in no doubt that the actions of these six defendants were criminal.”

A Brief Overview of the Law of Corruption in England & Wales

There is no single, specific offence of corruption under the criminal law of England & Wales; instead, criminally corrupt behaviour is captured by a range of statutory and common law offences. For instance, the defendants in the case mentioned above were charged and convicted of, amongst other things, conspiracy to corrupt, conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime and fraudulent trading. Four were also disqualified for over 10 years under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986.

When the alleged criminal conduct occurred also determines which offences will be charged. This is because although the Bribery Act 2010 repealed much of the common law, introducing a modern and particularly strict approach to the issue of corruption and bribery, some conduct alleged to have occurred prior to the Act coming into force (1 July 2011) will be caught by the older law, such as the Prevention of Corruption Acts.

Despite these nuances, and very broadly speaking, any conduct that involves the giving of a financial or other advantage in connection with the improper performance of a function connected to the public, business or professional sectors, whether or not it is carried out in the UK, will amount to an offence.

The UK’s anti-corruption legislation is also very far-reaching. Both the Bribery Act 2010 and Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 arguably have near-universal jurisdiction. Under the 2010 Act, an individual or company may face prosecution if they have links with the UK. While the reach of 1906 Act was extended even further by the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 to cover cases where agents and principals have no connection with the UK.

Taken together, this presents a complex legal framework capable of catching many different types of conduct, in many different jurisdictions. If you have reason to believe you or your business may be connected with an incident of corruption, it’s vital to act fast and get expert legal advice and representation to mitigate the potential consequences. At Lewis Nedas, we can help you navigate the complex legal framework relating to bribery and corruption. We have vast experience and offer specialist legal advice and assistance in relation to compliance, investigations and prosecutions.

Lewis Nedas Law – Specialist Business & Financial Crime Defence Solicitors London

Our expert Serious Fraud team has over 30 years’ experience successfully defending clients against fraud and financial crime allegations. We are also ranked in Chambers and the Legal 500 for the high quality of our fraud work, and our expert solicitors are described as 'precise', 'steely determined' and 'always mindful of securing the best outcome'. Our specialist financial crime & fraud solicitors, based in the heart of London, therefore have extensive experience of preparing successful defences to fraud prosecutions, including corporate fraud, whether these are brought by the Crown or a statutory body such as the FCA or the Department of Business innovation and Skills. For more information, please contact Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhain Egan on 020 7387 2032 or contact us online.

 

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NOV
17

Can you claim HS2 compensation?

hs2Here at Lewis Nedas we can process your potential claim for a ‘Blight Notice’ with the High Speed Two Limited (HS2).

In accordance with current statutory powers, certain home owners in specifically designated zones next to the proposed HS2 line are entitled to statutory compensation should they serve a Blight Notice.

A Blight Notice can only be made in compliance with various criteria which we have expertise in reviewing and assisting with. If successful, a home owner is potentially eligible to make claim with HS2, a non-departmental body of the Department for Transport which would ultimately be for the sale value of their home at an agreed market price and an additional pay-out of statutory compensation including payment for home-moving expenses.

During the course of this specialist conveyancing, we would assist you in processing your claim with HS2 and work with your independently appointed surveyor to guide you through the legal process for the statutory sale.

We would be particularly interested in speaking to you if you are a residential or business owner with property located for at least the last 6 months in the following locations within the Camden area:-

(i) Nash House and Park Village East

(ii) Mornington Terrace

(iii) Delancey Street

(iv) Clarkson Row

(v) 1-60 Eskdale

(vi) 1-39 Ainsdale 

(vii) Silverdale

(viii) Vardnell Street

(ix) Hampstead Road

(x) Cardington Street

(xi) Melton Street

(xii) Eversholt Street

(xiii) Coburg Street

(xiv) Varndell Street

(xv) Euston Square

(xvi) Barnby Street

 

Please note the above list of streets is by no means definitive of the potentially blighted HS2 blight zones.

Please call Richard Greenby on direct dial  020 7691 4560 to discuss matters in greater detail.

Alternatively, please email on rgreenby@lewisnedas.co.uk for a free initial review of your property claim.

   

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NOV
15

Tesco Scandal - Allegations of Fraud and False Accounting

Back in 2014, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) commenced a criminal investigation into accounting practices at Tesco in respect of an estimated £326 million missing from the supermarket group’s accounts. Although the investigation is still underway, the SFO has decided to prosecute three former executives in respect of their roles in the scandal. Last week, their trial date was set for next September, when they will each face charges of fraud by abuse of position and false accounting.

In this blog post, we take a look at these two offences and our approach to defending against allegations of serious financial misconduct. At Lewis Nedas Law, our solicitors have been successfully defending clients against allegations of fraud and other financial crimes for over 30 years. We are particularly well-known and respected for our work helping individuals and companies deal with regulatory and criminal business investigations, such as those conducted by the SFO. Our aim is to take action early on, to help mitigate the consequences. For more information on how we may be able to assist you, please contact us.

Fraud by abuse of position

The offence of fraud by abuse of position is one of three classes found in the Fraud Act 2006 (the other two offences being fraud by failing to disclose information (section 3) and fraud by false representation (section 2)). Although it shares some elements with the other two offences, such as the need for dishonesty and an intention to make a gain or inflict a loss, it is a distinct offence that is committed where someone:

  • • occupies a position in which they’re expected to safeguard another’s financial interests, or at least not act against those interests, such as a director in respect of a company or a trustee in respect of a beneficiary;
  • • dishonestly abuses that position, either by act or omission, by failing to safeguard another’s financial interests; and,
  • • intends, by means of that abuse, to: make a gain for themselves or another; or, cause loss or expose another to a risk of loss. This final element, i.e. there being no need for actual loss or gain and the risk being sufficient, is common across all fraud offences.

Because ‘abuse’ is not legally defined in the act, it can cover a wide range of acts or omissions. Further, there is no need for an individual to know that they are in a position where they’re expected to safeguard another’s financial interests – a conviction is highly likely to follow if the prosecution can prove that abuse was dishonest and there was an intention to make a personal gain or cause another loss. If an accused is convicted of fraud by abuse of position, the maximum penalty is imprisonment not exceeding ten years, an unlimited fine or both.

False accounting

The offence of false accounting is found in section 17 of the Theft Act 1968. It is committed where someone:

  • • dishonestly, coupled with a view to gain or with intent to cause another loss;
  • • destroys, defaces, conceals or falsifies any account, record or document made or required for an accounting purpose; or,
  • • furnishes information that produces or makes use of any account, record or document which, to their knowledge, is or may be misleading, false or deceptive.

This offence also covers a wide range of scenarios, including both the act of making a false entry and the omission of material particulars (where the omission may have the effect of significantly misleading), as well as covering someone who does not actually make a false entry or material omission but only concurs with the false entry or material omission. Further, a company will be guilty of the offence if it is committed by an officer of the company whose conduct can be attributed to the company.

Although the act doesn’t shed any light on the required degree of knowledge an accused must have in order to be guilty of the offence, the courts have clarified that the accused must have acted deliberately in making or concurring with a false account, i.e. they knew the account to be false or capable of being misleading. As such, the prosecution does not need to prove that there was an intention for any specific person to be misled. If an accused is convicted of false accounting, the maximum penalty is imprisonment not exceeding seven years.

Our approach to serious fraud defence

Our partner-led Serious Fraud team has vast experience defending complex fraud cases, many with a large international dimension. We employ our experience of working across jurisdictions in all cases being investigated by the SFO. Our multifaceted approach of involving specialist professionals to assist our client’s marks our Serious Fraud team out as a distinctive and progressive law firm that takes special care to protect our clients’ interests. We structure our approach to SFO investigations and prosecutions in a way that insulates our client’s from the majority of the administrative and logistical issues, allowing them to concentrate on working directly with our specialist solicitors to formulate a strategy to deal with the investigation. Find more information on SFO investigation and prosecution defence, and the approach of our pragmatic, practical and effective team here.

Lewis Nedas Law – Specialist Fraud Defence Solicitors London

Lewis Nedas Law have over 30 years’ experience successfully defending clients against fraud prosecutions. We are ranked in Chambers and the Legal 500 for the high quality of our fraud work. Our fraud solicitors are described as 'precise', 'steely determined' and 'always mindful of securing the best outcome for our clients'. Our specialist financial crime & fraud solicitors in the heart of London have extensive experience of preparing successful defences to fraud prosecutions including corporate fraud, whether these are brought by the Crown or a statutory body such as the FCA or the Department of Business innovation and Skills. Please contact Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhain Egan on 020 7387 2032 or contact us online.

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NOV
11

The Property Update; November Newsletter

black and white housesThe Lewis Nedas Property Newsletter is back!

We took a break over the Summer and the early Autumn, to assess the ramifications of the Brexit vote and its effect on the Housing Market. It is still far too early to say what the true effects are, because there have been so many other variables to consider (the drop in the pound being one such major variable). It's accurate to say that the market is much quieter and price growth is much reduced.

The London prime markets, i.e. Zones 1 and 2, have however seen a marked reduction in prices, a record average drop of over £100,000!

Fewer people are able to buy property; in fact the number of under 35’s who are property owners has decreased by 1/3 since 2011, to 334,000 this year. The U.K is now outside Europe’s top 20 countries for house sales.

 

Buy to Let Market

It's plain that there are issues on the horizon for buy to let investors; they will see less tax relief and less mortgage availability the supply of housing is on a rising curve and rents are increasingly unaffordable.

Additionally those BTL landlords who used a supposed loophole, which appeared to allow landlords (before the increase in SDLT in April this year) to transfer properties into limited companies in an attempt to avoid the increase in tax, are likely to come to the attention of HMRC.

Such a device is likely to fall foul of HMRC and tax avoidance legislation, and could easily attract allegations of both tax and mortgage fraud. It is anticipated that HMRC would assume that such transfers to limited companies were artificial structures.

 

Residential Property

We have seen the usual contradictory reports about the market - the NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) report that confidence in the housing market is back to pre- Brexit levels and an increase in demand in September 2016, though in the same month mortgage approvals were markedly reduced (by 15%) when compared with September 2015.

There was also a slight dip in the number of residential properties coming onto the market, again when compared with last year.

Sales of homes are now taking longer than in 2015, in fact they are taking an additional month longer and it can take 91 days to secure a sale.

John Lewis report that new build / newly converted properties in this country are now the smallest properties in Europe, and are on average 92% of the recommended size.

Property Partners latest research suggests that it would take the average Londoner on an average salary of £34,000 faces a period of 121 years before they could afford to save the average necessary deposit to buy a property in London, if they are unable to rely upon the bank of Mum and Dad.

The drastic fall in the value of the pound has attracted increased foreign interest in the London market, but the canny US/Chinese/Middle Eastern potential purchasers would appear to be hanging back to see if any further falls in the pounds value would benefit them more.

Certainly they would also seem to be casting their nets wider than the prime London zones 1 and 2.

Those areas likely to be affected (or benefited by) Crossrail and HS2 are also of increasing interest, in particular to shrewd Chinese investors.

Additionally we have noticed that foreign investors have computed that because of the increased SDLT, it makes more economic sense to buy a number of smaller flats in areas such as Colindale and Hendon, rather than pay the same amount of SDLT upon the sale of one larger property.

Our specialist property lawyers have also dealt with a large increase in clients seeking advice about potential compensation as a result of HS2 expansion - Our very own Richard Greenby (rgreenby@lewisnedas.co.uk) is the lawyer to contact in that issue.

This brings us neatly to the issue of the Third Heathrow Runway expansion, recently given the official go ahead by government.

According to reports this is likely to depreciate the value of properties in the area by 20%, some 783 homes are expected to be demolished. It is said, that government are prepared to pay a purchase price of 125% of the value of the property together with stamp duty and related fees, the likely cost of which is rumoured to be in the sum of £1.5bn.

It is also said to offer a potential boost to the construction industry to the tune of £18bn.

 

Commercial Property

Again this sector is experiencing some major changes, a great many investors have removed themselves from this market.

The 'gig' economy is also have a huge effect on the market, Young flexible companies do not wish to tie themselves up with lengthy commercial leases of 20 years, instead the average lease is now about 7 years and likely to reduce further.

Business centres that offer office facilities are increasingly in demand and are proving to be a lucrative investment.

 

Equity Release

This sector is still booming away and has increased by 1/3 over the last 12 months.

An interesting demographic change in the type of Equity Release applicants has revealed increasing demand not just those from the lower socio- economic demographic but also those who on paper would certainly appear to be wealthier (with properties worth £1 million plus) but who have reduced incomes.

 

If you require an advice / assistance with any of the above issues, please contact our specialist and highly skilled property lawyers on 020 7387 2032 or use our enquiry facility on www.lewisnedas.co.uk

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