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Strategies & Market Trends : Anthony @ Equity Investigations, Dear Anthony,

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From: StockDung5/13/2010 10:08:50 AM
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Law firm fined £400k for boiler room scam
Story by: Samantha Downes Magazine: FTAdviser Published Thursday , May 13, 2010
A lawyer who aided a multi-million pound boiler-room share scam has had a lifetime ban upheld and his firm fined £400,000.

The Financial Services and Markets Tribunal upheld a Financial Services Authority (FSA) decision permanently banning Andrew Greystoke from working in financial services.

It also fined him and Atlantic Law LLP (Atlantic Law), an FSA-regulated law firm of which he is senior partner, a total of £400,000.

The tribunal found that Greystoke recklessly signed off Atlantic Law’s approval of 50 UK investment advertisements between December 2005 and March 2007, issued by four unregulated Spanish stockbroking firms.

It found that he did so without taking reasonable steps to ensure that the advertisements were clear, fair and not misleading and despite having reason to doubt that the Spanish firms would deal with UK consumers in an honest and reliable way.

Mr Greystoke accepted that these Spanish companeis were boiler room share scam operators and approved their advertisements despite seeing consumer complaints and press articles clearly warning of their activities.

The tribunal said it would have been “blindingly obvious” to Greystoke, that the Spanish companies did not exist to offer the free reports, but to sell shares, whose value he knew to be at least doubtful.

One hundred and thirty UK consumers who invested a total of over £3m complained to the Financial Services Authority. The FSA believes the true loss caused by the advertisements approved by Greystoke was likely to be substantially more than £3m.

Margaret Cole, FSA director of enforcement and financial crime, said:

"Atlantic Law and Andrew Greystoke acted recklessly, without integrity and with a complete disregard of the risks to consumers. The tribunal’s decision supports our view that firms and individuals that assist boiler room operators should be brought to task. This has been a hard-fought case into which the FSA has put significant time and resources. It will send a strong message of deterrence to other firms and individuals that may be tempted to turn a blind eye to the legitimacy of their clients in exchange for fees or commission."
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