Solicitor David Horsfall struck off over fraud

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A solicitor who helped a conman mastermind a multimillion-pound fraud has been struck off.

David Horsfall, 57, from Godalming in Surrey, was jailed for 17 months in November 2011 after admitting fraud by false misrepresentation.

While running Layard Horsfall Solicitors, he wrote a letter for Edward Davenport which led to businesses handing over money.

Clients lost tens of thousands of pounds in the "advanced fee fraud".

Davenport, known as "Fast Eddie", set up Gresham Ltd in 2005 which masqueraded as a respectable business with 50 years of experience sourcing huge commercial loans.

Southwark Crown Court heard he would charge the companies advance fees to find loans of as much as £27.4m - but the money never materialised.

Businesses across the world collapsed after entering into big deals on Gresham's false promises.

Davenport was jailed for seven years and eight months in September 2011.

Horsfall's letter claimed Gresham Ltd had operated for more than five decades, and that his law firm had overseen "substantial" real estate transactions.

'Financial gain'

Because of the letter, two companies unwittingly gave Gresham money as part of a loan agreement.

One paid the firm 50,000 euro (£43,000) and another £25,426 to secure funds they never saw.

Jailing Horsfall, Judge David Higgins told him: "You knew that you were dealing with criminals and you yourself decided to become one for financial gain."

Horsfall is currently suing a list of old clients, from before his arrest and charge, for unpaid work.

He appeared at the Solicitors Regulation Authority tribunal in central London on Wednesday, claiming he should not be struck off because it would hinder him pursuing the claims.

But the panel disagreed and it was judged Horsfall, whose practising certificate had already been revoked, had brought himself and the profession into disrepute.

His name will now be removed from the roll of solicitors and he was ordered to pay costs of £1,750.

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