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New city job for banned solicitor; EXCLUSIVE Lawyer who bankrolled 'lavish' life with clients' cash is back.

Byline: BY BEN SCHOFIELD Daily Post Staff

A LIVERPOOL solicitor who siphoned company funds to bankroll a "lavish" lifestyle has been struck off the profession's roll.

Denis Whalley used thousands of pounds that were owed to an expert witness company to buy luxury cruise holidays, a chalet in France and a BMW 7 series.

Now the Daily Post can also reveal Mr Whalley is working in Liverpool for a firm run by the brother of the former Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith.

Mr Whalley's former firm, Anderson Eden, was wound up still owing pounds 6.6m to the bank HBOS.

A Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal found Mr Whalley, 58, guilty of conduct unbefitting a solicitor. It said he had been "dishonest, grossly reckless and had given a materially false and misleading statement to the Law Society".

Just two months after having his credentials revoked, he is now "buying in claims" for Goldsmith Williams, run by Edward Goldsmith, the brother of Liverpool-born former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith. As he is not practising as a solicitor, neither he nor the firm are doing anything wrong.

Mr Whalley, who lives on Channel Reach, Blundellsands, was the sole equity partner of Anderson Eden when it was investigated by the Law Society.

The probe found the firm had withheld more than pounds 500,000 from a medical expertise firm known only as EW. In his testimony, Mr Whalley admitted he had been "greedy and stupid".

The money had been claimed by Anderson Eden after it won personal injury claims and was meant to be kept in the firm's off-limits "client" bank account.

But, contrary to Law Society rules, it was kept in the "office" account and was used to pay general expenses and Mr Whalley's "personal expenses".

The tribunal chair wrote in a report: "The lifestyle enjoyed by Mr Whalley which he himself had set out in his statement including the enjoyment of a BMW 7 motor car, the payment for a deposit for a chalet in France . . ., Continental holidays and two trips on the Cunard Ship, Queen Mary II, including 14 days cruising in Hawaii . . . were all paid for by money owing to EW."

Mr Whalley has been declared bankrupt and was forced out of his pounds 465,000 home, also in Blundellsands.

Speaking from his Goldsmith Williams office, Mr Whalley told the Daily Post: "I haven't done anything wrong. My employers are fully aware of everything that's gone on."

In 2003, Mr Whalley was arrested for allegedly sending cannabis through the post to a client.

He claimed he sent the drugs to Peter Longstaff 's Newcastle home to help pain relief. The client was one of around 200 haemophiliacs Mr Whalley was representing who had contracted HIV from infected blood supplies. It is understood no charges were brought against Mr Whalley.

The lawyer told the tribunal he set up Anderson Eden in 2002, intending to work fewer hours and let others run the business.

The report continued: "Mr Whalley said that the firm was undertaking a great deal of work and he believed that the returns of several million pounds a year led to substantial profits. He said 'I fell for it. I was greedy and stupid'.

One of his colleagues emailed Mr Whalley asking if he knew EW's money was in the wrong account. The colleague, who Mr Whalley told investigators was a "nutcase", wrote: ". . . clearly this money should be in your client account . . . ? Isn't this illegal?".

Mr Whalley said he took no notice. As well as being struck off, Mr Whalley was also ordered to pay pounds 15,000 in costs.

The tribunal also found Whalley's salaried partner, Sarah Riley, guilty of accounting malpractice.

Although it accepted Ms Riley was not aware of the infringements and had no access to the accounts, as a partner she was strictly liable. She was given a reprimand.

When contacted by the Daily Post about employing Mr Whalley, no-one from Goldsmith Williams was prepared to comment.

benschofield@dailypost.co.uk

I fell for it. I was greedy and stupid

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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 30, 2008
Words:695
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