The Securities and Futures Authority has expelled former director at Natwest Group, Sir Michael Rich...
The Securities and Futures Authority has expelled former director at Natwest Group, Sir Michael Richardson from the SFA Registers after two independent tribunals found his financial activities and abuse of the Natwest Group make him unfit to be registered.
His expulsion relates to five letters written by Richardson between October 1998 and August 1999 which the SFA says might have led to advance fee fraud and money laundering.
SFA proceedings against Richardson began in July 2000 and concluded earlier this month for the abuse of his position at Hawkpoint Partners, which between October 1998 and March 1999 was part of the Natwest Group, when he was vice-chairman at Hawkpoint.
Richardson wrote all five letters at the direct request of a business acquaintance on Hawkpoint headed notepaper which stated that Hawkpoint was a member of the NatWest Group. Each of the letters were written to his acquaintance and confirmed that funds were available, and signed by Richardson either as Vice-Chairman or Director of Hawkpoint.
According to a statement from the SFA, the Appeal Tribunal found the Richardson's letters referred to "a wholly spurious cloak of respectability derived from the imprimatur of such a respectable financial institution as the NatWest Group" and referred to money held in shell companies - some of which were offshore - rather than known financial institutions.
Despite two warnings (once in May 1999 and once in July 1999) by a member of NatWest Group's senior management that the Group did not wish to have any business dealings with Sir Michael's acquaintance, Richardson continued to write these letters, however, neither Hawkpoint nor NatWest knew about any of the letters until August 1999.
In upholding the Disciplinary Tribunal's decision that Sir Michael was no longer fit and proper to be registered with SFA in any capacity, the Appeal Tribunal considered Sir Michael's failure in compliance and the risks to which it gave rise to be "very serious". It stated that a responsible regard for the requirements of compliance is an essential element of the competence to be expected of any person registered with the SFA.
Richardson has been expelled from the SFA Registers and has agreed to pay £85,000 towards SFA's investigation costs.
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