Leslie Deans may face money-laundering charges

Leslie Deans runs a chain of estate agents. Picture: Colin Hattersley

Leslie Deans runs a chain of estate agents. Picture: Colin Hattersley

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PROSECUTORS are considering charging a prominent Scottish solicitor with money-laundering offences.

Leslie Deans, a former Hearts chairman, was arrested last year as part of a fraud inquiry involving a number of people.

The solicitor, who runs a chain of estate agents across Edinburgh, has now been reported to the procurator fiscal in connection with alleged incidents dating from between September 2006 to March 2008.

Mr Deans declined to comment when contacted by The Scotsman yesterday. The police investigation is not thought to have been linked to Hearts.

Mr Deans took control of the Tynecastle club in 1994, ending Wallace Mercer’s 13-year reign as part of a £2 million takeover alongside businessman Chris Robinson.

He stepped down from the board in 1999 after seeing his side lift the Scottish Cup the season before, with a win against Rangers.

In 2005, he sold the 18 per cent holding he shared in Hearts with Robert McGrail to Lithuanian businessman Vladimir 
Romanov.

Yesterday, a police spokesman said a report had been submitted to the procurator fiscal, with inquiries ongoing.

A Crown Office spokesman said: “The procurator fiscal has received a report concerning a 62-year-old man in relation to alleged incidents between September 2006 and March 2008.The report is under consideration by the procurator fiscal.”

Last year, lawyer Richard Housley was jailed for four years after becoming the first Scottish solicitor to be found guilty of money-laundering following a major overhaul of the law in 2007.

The 57-year-old, once the senior partner in a successful law firm, helped Michael Voudouri, and associates to hide cash through a Europe-wide VAT “carousel” scam and was jailed for four years.

Book-keeper Caroline Laing, 55, was also jailed after a three-month trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

Housley had first got to know Voudouri in 2002, when working for Gebals Solicitors in Bathgate, West Lothian, and was later invited to become involved in a business used as a front by 
Voudouri and others to hide money.

Voudouri, who became one of Britain’s most-wanted fugitives when he fled to Northern Cyprus, was finally jailed in June this year.

Strict new laws mean solicitors must carry out checks, including asking new clients to show identification, such as a passport.

A spokeswoman for the Law Society of Scotland said: “We operate a robust programme of inspections aimed at assessing compliance by solicitors with the society’s accounts rules and money-laundering legislation.

“Failures to comply with obligations can result in disciplinary processes or, where appropriate, referral to the ­authorities.”

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