"he was the sole director and 100 per cent shareholder."
A man who worked for a Bradford solicitors’ firm applied for a Covid-19 loan on behalf of the company and transferred the money into his bank account.
The Solicitors Regulation Agency (SRA) said Mohammed Shokat, of Allerton, worked for Apex Solicitors Limited.
Shokat has now been barred from the profession.
In March 2020, he applied for a ‘bounce back’ loan.
The decision notice stated: “It was found that in March 2020 Mr Shokat applied for a bounce back 100 per cent Government-backed loan for £50,000 for business use by the firm, and made misleading declarations on the application form.
“He subsequently transferred £49,512.30 of the loan monies into his own bank account and that of a firm for which he was the sole director and 100 per cent shareholder.
“In doing so, Mr Shokat acted dishonestly.”
The SRA added that Shokat, who was not a solicitor, was involved in a legal practice and had “occasioned or been a party to an act or default which involved such conduct on his part that it is undesirable for him to be involved in a legal practice in any of the ways described”.
An order with the following stipulations was made:
“No solicitor shall employ or remunerate him in connection with his/her practice as a solicitor.
“No employee of a solicitor shall employ or remunerate him in connection with the solicitor’s practice.”
“No recognised body shall employ or remunerate him.
“No manager or employee of a recognised body shall employ or remunerate him in connection with the business of that body.
“No recognised body or manager or employee of such a body shall permit him to be a manager of the body and no recognised body or manager or employee of such a body shall permit him to have an interest in the body except in accordance with the SRA’s permission.”
Following an intervention from the SRA, Apex Solicitors was closed down in December 2020.
Based on the SRA notice, there is no suggestion that the firm knew about or was involved in Shokat’s activities.
It is understood the SRA informed the relevant authorities in relation to its findings on Shokat.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) was recently criticised by MPs over “unambitious plans” for recovering money that shouldn’t have been paid out under furlough and loan schemes launched during the pandemic.
However, HMRC hit back and said action was being taken on “multiple fronts to recover overpayments”