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Corporate crime: Lawyer from Diana's divorce law firm involved in £18m fraud

A former partner in the law firm which represented Princess Diana during her divorce has been accused of helping two men defraud Swiss bank EFG of £18 million.

Kevin Steele, who was once the director of Queens Park Rangers and a partner in law firm Mischon de Reya, allegedly helped conmen Michael Shepherd and Mark Pattinson trick the Swiss bank into paying out the loan.

Mr Shepherd claimed to be a wealthy businessman who was the sole beneficiary of £76.4 million held in two accounts at the Guernsey branch of another Swiss bank, Bank Julius Baer.

Using fake letters written by Mr Pattinson and with the support of Mr Steele, who signed documents that confirmed Mr Shepherd's claims, the men applied for a loan of £18 million using the fictitious £76 million as security.

The Crown Prosecution Service claim that Mr Steele, knowing that Mr Shepherd was a conman, tricked his three fellow partners at Mischon de Reya into signing letters that would convince EFG to give Mr Shepherd the loan.

David Aaronberg QC, for the CPS, said: "The Crown's case is that the other three partners in Mischon de Reya were deceived in signing this document because each of them trusted Steele as a fellow partner."

Mr Shepherd, 50, and Mr Pattinson, 37, have both pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit fraud.

Mr Steele, 51, denies the charges of fraud and of abusing his position at the law firm. He claims that he was an innocent party, tricked by Mr Shepherd.

The trial continues.

Related links:
Read more on the story (The Telegraph)
How to report a business crime or fraud (FindLaw)
Find local criminal solicitors throughout the UK (FindLaw)