Lawyer for Michelle Thomson contacts Police Scotland to assist investigation
Lawyer acting for Michelle Thomson contacts Police Scotland to express her wish to assist ongoing investigation into “alleged irregularities relating to property deals”
A lawyer acting for Michelle Thomson has contacted Police Scotland to express her wish to assist the ongoing investigation into “alleged irregularities relating to property deals” carried out on her behalf, which saw her solicitor struck off for professional misconduct.
Thomson’s legal advisor, Aamer Anwar, MPthe SNP and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon knew nothing of “the detailed nature of Michelle Thomson’s business dealings several years before she became an MP”.
Thomson’s solicitor, Chris Hales, was struck off by the Law Society after a ruling by the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal in May 2014 – a year before Thomson became MP for Edinburgh West – after being found guilty of professional misconduct in carrying out property deals on behalf of Thomson and her business partner.
MP Michelle Thomson, who insists she always acted within the law, withdrew from the party whip and was automatically suspended from the SNP after Police Scotland confirmed it has launched an investigation into “alleged irregularities relating to property deals”. She now sits as an independent.
Anwar, Thomson's legal adviser, said: “Over the last few days individuals have demanded full transparency from the SNP and the First Minister as to what they knew of the detailed nature of Michelle Thomson’s business dealings several years before she became an MP – the simple answer is none at all.
“Michelle Thomson maintains that she has always acted within the law.
“In the interests of her constituents and her party she thought it best if she voluntarily withdrew from the party whip.
“There was no requirement for her to do so, even though she knew it would automatically lead to her suspension from the party. She did so in order to clear her name and return as quickly as possible to the front line politics.
“To that purpose we have contacted Police Scotland at Mrs Thomson’s request advising them of her wish to assist with their investigation if or when they wish to speak to her.
“In the meantime we would strongly advise those who should know better, to tread extremely carefully and not prejudice a live investigation.
“We have in the meantime advised Mrs Thomson that it is important that no further comment is made on these matters until the investigation is concluded.
“The last week has been an extremely difficult one and Michelle is grateful for all the messages of support. She maintains her commitment to the ideals of the SNP and will continue to work on behalf of her constituents”.
Hales was found guilty of professional misconduct in 13 property deals – all of which involved Thomson or the property venture M&F Property Solutions.
In one instance the Sunday Times alleged that in June 2010 Thomson bought a house for £245,000, before selling it just hours later for £315,000.
In its report on the Law Society’s decision to strike Hales off, the Law Society Journal says: “The Tribunal said it had "no hesitation" in finding professional misconduct. The numerous breaches of the Handbook involved an ongoing course of conduct for more than a year. The respondent failed to report back-to-back transactions, cashbacks, increases in prices and deposits being provided by a third party to the lender, all of which would have been very likely to have had a material effect on the lender’s decision to lend, and involved features such that the respondent must have been aware that there was a possibility that he was facilitating mortgage fraud, whether or not this actually occurred.”
Responding to questions from Holyrood regarding the case, a Crown Office spokesperson said: “As a result of a ruling of the Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal Crown Office instructed the Police Service of Scotland to commence an investigation into alleged irregularities relating to property deals in the year 2010-2011.”
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