Solicitors must do all they can to avoid being victims of mortgage fraud

first_imgDuring my year as president, mortgage fraud has been a recurrent issue. We have consistently provided support to members affected by changes in panel terms and conditions, and have worked to influence the approaches of lenders. Be assured, however, that the Law Society, as the representative body, has no interest in supporting those who choose to engage in mortgage fraud to line their pockets. Apart from the resultant losses experienced by lenders and innocent consumers, these individuals tarnish the profession’s reputation. Even so, the reality is that those who knowingly commit mortgage fraud are a very small minority. Other solicitors who find themselves caught up in mortgage fraud are not active participants, but unwitting third parties who are used by the perpetrators of fraud. A lack of awareness or intent is no defence. The extension of the definition of fraud in the Fraud Act 2006 and the UK’s anti-money laundering regime can mean that a solicitor will be found criminally liable if their client commits mortgage fraud, even if they are unaware of the fraud. Courts expect solicitors to have a high level of knowledge and education, and do not look kindly on cases where there is evidence that appropriate due diligence was not applied. Therefore, it is essential that firms do all they can to protect themselves from being used by fraudsters. Education, awareness and vigilance throughout the firm are key. A good starting point is the Society’s anti-money laundering practice note, which provides good practice on meeting the requirements of the Money Laundering Regulations 2007. Many of those requirements will help guard against mortgage fraud, such as:Further steps can be taken by checking the bona fides of other professional parties involved in the transaction; and checking that documents are fully completed before signing and that registration with the Land Registry is completed in a timely manner. Ensuring that staff are aware of the potential warning signs of mortgage fraud is another practical step. Certain scenarios should prompt additional investigation: if the property has been owned for less than six months; the investment is significantly more than the client would usually be involved in; or the deposit is being paid by someone other than the purchaser. In the current economic climate, having to spend additional time on further checks is, of course, a source of great frustration, but if it means avoiding involvement in mortgage fraud then the investment is worthwhile. More detailed guidance is available in the mortgage fraud practice note. Regional mortgage fraud seminars will also be held in the coming months. The Society will continue to make representations to lenders on panel membership. We recognise that lenders are free to decide the make-up of their panels. However, we hope lenders will accept that a discerning, risk-based approach to panel management is better than blanket removal of certain types of firm. There are other elements to consider. It is important that other parties involved in home buying and selling remember that the problems we see now cannot primarily be laid at the door of solicitors. Over-enthusiastic lending practices, the expansion of the buy-to-let market, the removal of a reliance on hard copy title deeds, and changes to Land Registry processes in response to demand for ‘a quicker, cheaper process’ have all had a part to play. All stakeholders, including the government, must accept that tackling mortgage fraud will have an effect on the speed and cost of the transaction. It is also paramount that this need for caution is not forgotten next time we are in the midst of a property boom. Robert Heslett is the president of the Law Societycenter_img endeavouring to verify the identify of the client; and where the client never meets the solicitor face to face, carrying out enhanced due diligence.last_img read more

GBS enters North America

first_imgAll North American operations will be managed by Egge Kloosterboer, who recently joined GBS and brings with him a wealth of experience and expertise in yacht transport.GBS is part of the EMS Fehn Group giving it direct access to a fleet of cargo vessels and excellent contacts in the shipping and logistics industry, which allows GBS flexibility in offering lo-lo and flo-flo services for super yachts.”With the recent acquisition of Dockwise Yacht Transport (DYT) by Sevenstar, there are fewer choices left for clients seeking reliable yacht transport. Now with our expansion into North America, we are in a position to offer clients another dependable and consistent alternative,” said Christian van Hoorn, managing director of GBS.  www.gbs-germany.comwww.ems-fehn-group.delast_img

HFW pledges commitment to Hong Kong and Chinese market

first_imgInternational firm HFW has defied fears over the stability of Hong Kong’s legal system, pledging its ‘deep commitment’ to the greater Chinese market and recruiting nine lawyers to its Hong Kong office.As part of its expansion in Asia, HFW has poached a nine-lawyer corporate finance team – including a partner, two barristers and a senior associate – for its Hong Kong office from US law firm Locke Lord. The team joins partner Wing Cheung who joined HFW from Locke Lord earlier this month.Patrick Yeung, head of the Hong Kong office, said: ‘Our continued investment demonstrates our confidence in, and long-standing commitment to, the Greater Chinese market. We’ve had an office here for more than four decades and have ambitious plans for the future.’The fact we are continuing to strengthen and expand our practice in greater China illustrates our confidence in the market. Wing already has a strong pipeline of corporate finance matters, including several potential IPOs. …We remain deeply committed to the region.’HFW has operated in what it calls Greater China – encompassing mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and the island of Taiwan – for more than 40 years and was one of the first international firms to open an office in the region.Protests in Hong Kong have continued this week. Last week, in the wake of China’s attack on a Hong Kong court ruling, the Law Society of Hong Kong warned that ‘nothing should be said or done that will undermine judicial independence and the rule of law’.last_img read more

Chelsea linked with Slovenian keeper and QPR with West Ham man

first_imgChelsea are monitoring Benfica’s 20-year-old Slovenian goalkeeper Jan Oblak, the Sunday People say.The People also claim that Atletico Madrid could look to sign Blues keeper Thibaut Courtois permanently by offering striker Diego Costa or midfielder Koke in exchange.And Chelsea are reported to have shelved an apparent plan to bid for St Etienne defender Kurt Zouma until the end of the season, again according to the People.AdChoices广告The Sunday Express say Chelsea’s Ashley Cole may join Real Madrid and that former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso could be on his way to Stamford Bridge from the Spanish club.The Sun on Sunday have an interview with Chelsea forward Samuel Eto’o, who has scored only two Premier League goals this season.He said: “Every forward is happy when he’s scoring goals. It’s our job, it’s what we get paid for.“I’m not happy if I’m not scoring and, as a competitor, I’m not happy if Fernando [Torres] or Demba [Ba] are in the team instead of me. But my first job isn’t to look after myself but the team.“At the end of the season, it only matters what we’ve achieved as a team — not as a single person. Me being top scorer doesn’t mean Chelsea will win the Premier League.“I came here only to help my team to be champions. Scoring goals would be the cherry on top.”Meanwhile, the Sunday Mirror say QPR boss Harry Redknapp plans to make another attempt to sign Carlton Cole next month.Redknapp was interested in the former Chelsea striker before Cole, 30, agreed a three-month deal at Upton Park in October. Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Pumaren rejoins Adamson a day after surgery: I’ won’t leave them in heat of battle’

first_imgNegros Occidental gov’t, church call for prayers for safety of Taal evacuees “As a true leader, I don’t want to leave them. As long as I can walk, I’ll be showing up to games and practices.” No need to wear face masks in Metro Manila, says scientist ‘People evacuated on their own’ MOST READ Taal Volcano’s lava fountain weakens, but Phivolcs says it’s not sign of slowing down “The main thrust is to show the team that I won’t leave them in the heat of battle,” said Pumaren, who said he has to go back to the hospital for further assessment on his condition.Pumaren said he was on his way to the Falcons’ practice when he experienced “pain so excruciating” that surgery was immediately needed.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSAndray Blatche has high praise for teammate Kai SottoSPORTSBig differenceSPORTSAlmazan status stays uncertain ahead of Game 4The 55-year-old former PBA point guard was first rushed to The Medical City along Ortigas Avenue but had to transfer to VRP Medical Center in Mandaluyong to have his kidney stones removed.“At the back of my mind, I, as a head coach,  made an effort just to be here when in fact I’m supposed to be on medical leave,” said Pumaren as his Soaring Falcons dropped to 3-6 for the sixth seed. LATEST STORIES Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next PBA: RR Garcia nails winner to lift Phoenix past Rain or Shine Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LOOK: Taal Volcano island 2 days after eruption For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Adamson coach Franz Pumaren. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netMANILA, Philippines—Adamson head coach Franz Pumaren was just a few days removed from surgery but he made sure to be on the sidelines when his Soaring Falcons faced defending champion Ateneo Wednesday in the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball tournament.Pumaren underwent an emergency procedure to remove kidney stones on Tuesday but asked for clearance to join the Soaring Falcons, who made the Blue Eagles sweat despite the 80-74 loss, just a day after.ADVERTISEMENT Daybreak as smoke, ash billows from Taal volcano PLAY LIST 01:04Daybreak as smoke, ash billows from Taal volcano01:05Poor visibility, nakaapekto sa maraming lugar sa Batangas03:028,000 pulis sa Region 4-A, tuloy ang trabaho03:57Phivolcs, nahihirapan sa komunikasyon sa Taal01:04Sold-out: Stores run out of face masks after Taal spews ash01:45Iran police shoot at those protesting plane shootdown LOOK: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 3 takes you straight to hell with a Music Video and First Look-Images Francis Kong, Jason Magbanua headline ‘The School for the Passionate, New Bold U 2020’ Taal Volcano eruption: House to develop rehab plan for Batangas, Cavite, Laguna View commentslast_img read more