News release

Solicitor struck off after bribery conviction

A solicitor has been struck off following his conviction for bribery charges in the US.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) struck off Jeffrey Tesler last week (Tuesday 13 May). The SDT heard that Mr Tesler was jailed for 21 months in February 2012 after a Texas court found him guilty of conspiring to channel bribes to politicians and officials.

He admitted that he acted as a middleman for the consortium and routed the payments through bank accounts in Monaco and Switzerland between 1994 and 2004. Mr Tesler arranged for $1m (£635,000) in $100 notes to be passed to a politician to finance a political party in Nigeria.

As well as his jail term, he was given two years' probation and agreed to forfeit more than $148m (£94m) from accounts in 12 Swiss banks and four from Israel, the traceable proceeds from the bribery. Mr Tesler was working at Kaye Tesler & Co (Inc Michael D Kaye & Co), West Green Road, North London, at the time.

The case before the SDT was brought by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). The tribunal found that Mr Tesler's actions constituted a failure to act with integrity and a failure to uphold the confidence the public has in the profession. As well as striking him off the roll, the tribunal ordered Mr Tesler to pay £7,000 costs.

Gordon Ramsay, SRA Director of Legal and Enforcement, said: "Solicitors hold positions of great trust in society and therefore have a responsibility to act with integrity. Mr Tesler abdicated this responsibility and in the US, he paid for it with his freedom. Now he has paid for it with his profession too."

The prosecution brought by the SRA is believed to be the first where a solicitor has been convicted overseas. Mr Tesler has 21 days from the publication of the SDT's decision to appeal.

 
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