Lawyer guilty of tipping off client about SFO investigation

A solicitor and senior partner at a London law firm Osmond & Osmond has been convicted of telling a client about a Serious Fraud Office probe into money laundering

William Osmond was found guilty at the Old Bailey after he misled investigators from the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) while they were conducting a money laundering case into his client.

He forged legal documents and tipped off his client about the ongoing investigation. This is the first time the SFO has convicted a solicitor for this crime.

Solicitors are not allowed to disclose confidential information on investigations into money laundering by their clients. As well as being a senior partner at Osmond & Osmond, he was also the money laundering reporting officer for the firm.

The client was James Redding Ramsay and the enquiries into his finances began in 2018. Initially the SFO investigation began after the purchase of a £4m property in Mayfair in 2013, paid for with funds from Ramsay’s company, International Freight Investments Ltd, which was based in Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.

Osmond supplied the SFO with a fake letter of engagement in which he claimed he was a solicitor for the British Virgin Islands company which was used to move funds for the purchase of the property.

He was found to have informed his client about the SFO investigation for five months, flying out to Malta where Ramsay lived and meeting him at a private club in London.

SFO investigators found evidence of the meetings when they searched Osmond’s office in 2019, discovering five pages of notes on the interactions with Ramsay and files on his computer proving the forgery of the letter.

Osmond is due to be sentenced at the Old Bailey on 30 November.

Will Drysdale |Reporter, Accountancy Daily

Will Drysdale is a reporter at Accountancy Daily - email news and leads to william.drys...

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