A prominent Scottish solicitor and former Hearts chairman has been charged with money-laundering offences as part of an ongoing fraud inquiry involving a number of people.
Leslie Deans, who runs his own estate agency, was arrested in Edinburgh weeks ago, but details have only just emerged.
The 62-year-old was chairman of the Tynecastle side in the late 1990s and was reported to have been part of a consortium looking to buy the club in 2011.
His arrest is not thought to be linked to Hearts.
Deans declined to comment on his arrest when contacted by The Scotsman yesterday.
The solicitor runs a chain of estate agents across Edinburgh with branches in Newington, Corstorphine and South Queensferry.
He took control of Hearts in 1994, ending Wallace Mercer’s 13-year reign as part of a £2 million takeover alongside businessman Chris Robinson.
Deans 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.
In a previous case earlier this 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, 45, and associates to hide cash thorough 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.
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, result in referral to the authorities. ”