News release

Dishonest solicitor struck off for rules breaches

A solicitor has been struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) after a number of serious allegations were found proved against him, including that he failed to set up and keep proper accounting systems or records and had a cash shortfall in the client account.

Further allegations of dishonesty consisted of misleading statements to the court in the course of proceedings in which Mr Andreas Erothodos Alexandrou was appearing as solicitor for himself and his wife.

Mr Alexandrou, from East Barnet Hertfordshire, formerly of Alexandrou & Co based in High Barnet, was struck off on 22 July after the Tribunal found proved fourteen allegations brought against him by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Mr Alexandrou's firm had previously been intervened into (closed down) by the SRA in May 2013. The grounds for intervention were breaches of the Solicitors Accounts Rules 1998; the SRA Accounts Rules 2011; the SRA Principles 2011; and the SRA Practising Regulations 2011. Mr Andreas' practising certificate was suspended at that time.

The SRA's allegations included failing to have proper accounting systems, records and internal controls in place; failing to remedy breaches of accounts rules promptly upon discovery and allowing a shortfall of client funds to arise on his client account. Four counts of dishonesty were also upheld by the Tribunal.

Although Mr Alexandrou cited personal reasons to prevent a strike-off, he was unsuccessful. The Tribunal said that his behaviour amounted to dishonesty of the "most serious nature" and there were no exceptional circumstances to prevent a strike-off.

Mr Alexandrou was also ordered to pay costs of £21,500.

Gordon Ramsay, SRA Director of Legal and Enforcement said: "Mr Alexandrou’s failures to comply were comprehensive and spanned a long period. By his own admission he had been out of control but had continued to practise. He also failed to seek help. These non-compliance issues would of themselves have justified a lengthy suspension and possibly a strike-off. However, in combination with the proven dishonesty allegations, a strike-off for these is also justified."

Mr Alexandrou has 21 days from receipt of the SDT's judgment to appeal.

 
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