One of the united states of America’s pinnacle criminal lawyers failed to reveal hundreds of thousands of kilos of debts owed by her company whilst she offloaded the enterprise in 2016, according to allegations in a high courtroom claim.
Karen Todner, who helped to fight US extradition requests on behalf of the alleged Nasa hackers Gary McKinnon and Lauri Love, is accused in conjunction with her advisers in a civil declare of hiding a chain of liabilities, together with permitting her former company to write £275,000 well worth of cheques which had been then stored in an workplace drawer instead of being despatched to payees.
According to court filings made via One Legal Services, the company that acquired Todner’s company, Kaim Todner, three years in the past, the concealed cheques had the effect of disguising unpaid money owed and “but for one of this exercise the enterprise would have appeared to be it seems that bankrupt”.
The allegations in opposition to Todner, who is contesting the declare, constitute a blow to the general public picture of the solicitor, who is a former vice-president of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. She is best recognized for her work assisting prevent the extraditions of McKinnon and Love to the USA, in which they had been wanted on expenses of hacking US government laptop structures. Then home secretary, Theresa May, introduced in 2012 that McKinnon would now not be extradited, even as Love’s enchantment in opposition to extradition turned into upheld by means of the high courtroom last yr.
She also represented Tom Hayes, the Libor rigger, during his submission to the criminal instances evaluation commission in 2017.
Todner’s commercial enterprise had suffered monetary issues over some of the years. In 2012, her firm entered an employer voluntary association – a formal technique enabling a compromise among an organization and its lenders – and in February 2017 she was fined £2,000 and rebuked via the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
The regulator located that Todner had did not notify the SRA approximately monetary problems at Kaim Todner in 2012; did not make certain that a client sought unbiased prison advice before she took a £25,000 loan from the equal purchaser in 2013; and allowed irrelevant bills to and from a client account, also in 2013.
While relating to the SRA pleasant in her defense to One Legal Service’s declare, Todner said that her firm had had cashflow problems, instead of being unprofitable, and that there was no need for impartial advice in appreciate of the mortgage, which changed into repaid within six weeks. The use of the customer account had no “unfavorable outcome”, she added.
In February 2016, Todner said Kaim Todner changed into to close; the enterprise became stored a fortnight later by using One Legal. Since that acquisition, One Legal says it has found hundreds of lots of kilos in debts, on a pinnacle of the £1.2m of overall liabilities Todner and her representatives declared at the time of the sale.
One Legal claims inside the court docket papers that the extra debts covered:
• a further £252,000 owed to the Legal Aid Agency (LAA);
• a total of £148,000 that have been billed to the LAA on cases – which include McKinnon’s – in extra of the legal useful resource cap.
Todner rejects the allegations and her defense papers nation that One Legal was aware of the company’s money owed. She claims that there had been only £forty seven,000 well worth of undelivered cheques, as the rest related to bills that were settled via a bank switch, and that she had informed the patron as quickly as she observed her firm’s “practice of drawing cheques and putting them in a drawer”.
Todner introduced that the LAA turned into now not owed £252,000 through Kaim Todner as that debt related to rolling contracts that did now not require settling on the time of the sale and that she did no longer realize the claims on legal resource instances.
She additionally said One Legal Service’s chief executive, Trevor Howarth, had instructed her that his businesses “could by no means be told by the Police Federation” because of his “preceding trial for perverting the path of justice and contempt of court docket”.
Howarth did now not face a hearing for contempt of court, because the allegations in opposition to him, connected to a civil case, had been thrown out by using the courtroom of enchantment in 2014. Separately, he became acquitted by means of a jury in 2008 of allegations that he had perverted the path of justice at some stage in a rushing case, although he was ultimately criticized with the aid of a decision for being “slapdash”.
Todner has also issued a counterclaim alleging that One Legal Services agreed that she could not pay off a £184,000 mortgage she acquired from Kaim Todner.
One Legal stated its buy agreement with Todner makes clear that she became due to repay the money.