Former Christchurch lawyer investigated
Complaints over the way a Christchurch lawyer dealt with money he took from clients for investment have been referred to the Serious Fraud Office.
Two complaints about John David Milne were heard by the New Zealand Law Society's Otago Lawyers Standards Committee in Dunedin today.
Milne practised as a lawyer in Dundin and Christchurch from 1995, but no longer holds a practising certificate.
The Law Society said today that the complaints related to Milne's dealings with funds his clients had placed with him for investment.
The Otago committee determined that the complaints should be considered by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal.
The complaints have also been referred to the SFO.
The convener of the committee, David More, said the committee was publicising its decision mainly because it was not sure whether all people who placed money with Milne for investment had been identified.
"If any persons have placed money with Mr Milne for investment, and have not been written to by the Law Society, would they please contact Mrs Nicky Hay at the Otago branch of the Law Society by telephone, 03 477 0596, or by email to email@example.com," More said.
Milne worked for himself in Dunedin then sold the business to Craig Paddon Law, where he continued working as an employee.
Milne worked in a branch of Craig Paddon Law in Harewood from 2008.
New Zealand Law Society trust account regulations say there are strict rules on a lawyer taking money from clients.
Lawyers could invest money on behalf of clients. The client would have to be made aware of what the investments were and be independently advised over risk.
The society had jurisdiction over lawyers and former lawyers for actions that took place while they were practising.
Milne's lawyer, Duncan Webb, said earlier his client was ''co-operating fully'' with the investigation and he would not be making any comment.
Craig Paddon said earlier that the matter was complex.
''At this point there is no suggestion there have been irregular transactions involving my firm's trust account, '' he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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