City firm fined for relying on Ukrainian lawyer for AML checks

UK Law Soc Gazette

City firm handling a property transaction between two Ukrainian citizens has been fined around £12,000 for failing to conduct sufficient AML checks.

DKLM LLP, based in the Square Mile, relied upon customer due diligence and source of funds checks provided by a lawyer working in Ukraine. The Solicitors Regulation Authority said the extended due diligence required for this matter was not carried out, with insufficient scrutiny of the background information provided.

A complaint had been made about the firm relating to a transaction for a UK property. The complainant alleged that the firm miscalculated his stamp duty land tax liability and he was not refunded the money he was owed.

Concerns were also raised that the house appeared to be undervalued compared with properties in the same street, and legal costs appeared to be high