There are lots of matters to include in this submission and the others too; as I think of serious matters, I add them to the relevant submission.
But Clare Edwards’ one is just about finished. I am going to walk away from it for a while and then come back to it before sending off.
This is the near completed draft; you can never get the formatting right, when copying across. Oh, some bits are in red, just for the purpose of this blog but are just in bold on the version that will go to the SRA
The Solicitors Regulation Authority
Formal complaint against Clare Edwards
I am a beneficiary of the Hender Family Settlement, formerly known as the Michael Cobb’s Settlement for William Hender’s Children. The trust was settled by circuitous means by my father, William Thomas Hender to the amount of approximately £15 million and settled directly to the tune of £0.5 million, in order to evade capital gains tax estimated to have been £6 million but with interest and penalties, the total tax liability is now estimated at in excess of £10 million.
The tax evasion itself is obviously not part of this submission but is only included to provide you with the full story. But it should be noted that the tax evasion has been reported to HMRC but no action has been taken against my father.
The trustee of the settlement is Paicolex Trust Management AG, a wholly owned subsidiary of Berwin Leighton Paisner. As a corporate entity, day to day business is run by trust officers, one of whom is Clare Edwards, a UK qualified solicitor and she is now wholly responsible for the day to day running of the settlement’s matters.
She liaises with my father, who is the self-appointed UK representative of the settlement, on all matters except taxation which is handled by the then partner and now consultant to Berwin Leighton Paisner, Ron Downhill who is the tax and legal advisor to the settlement. He is also subject to a formal complaint, which will be submitted under separate cover.
The other main beneficiary of the settlement is my estranged brother, Martin William Hender. Other beneficiaries are my daughter, Verity Hender and my brother’s daughters, Francesca and Iyshea, the three of whom only receive capital, even though there are millions of pounds of profits retained in the settlement’s subsidiary, Adriatic Sea Corporation Ltd. The capital distributions are to enable private school and university fees to be paid, together with subsistence for my daughter, who is the only one at university.
My brother and I should receive equal dividends and take out loans on an equal footing but this has not been the case, although the disparity in treatment of the two main beneficiaries started before the commencement of Clare Edwards’ tenure at Paicolex.
The exact reason for the disparity is unclear to me but, as my father authorises all matters regarding the settlement, it has become clear that he favours my brother over me and has used the settlement as his own piggy bank to provide favourable loans and significantly more dividend income, to the tune of £545,000 to my brother. Although none of his fault, I have now had two divorces, which have left me with a significant pecuniary disadvantage, whereas my brother is wealthy in his own right.
If there was to be any disparity in payments, with my brother’s agreement, the benefit should have been mine.
On the occurrence of my second divorce, the settlement lent me approximately £1.2M to enable me to settle my liabilities that were deemed by the court to be paid to my wife. In addition, the joint mortgage on the marital home was settled by the trust and a new home for myself was financed; all of this made up the £1.2M, which also included the settlement of legal fees.
Once the marital home was sold, the amount that I owed to the subsidiary of the trust, Adriatic Sea Corporation Ltd dropped significantly to approximately £188,000 and has remained at this level ever since.
It should be noted that a formal loan agreement was signed by both me and Paicolex with the loan secured by the formal marital home and my current home, with interest payable monthly on the basis of a detailed spreadsheet, the basis of which was agreed by Miss Edwards’ predecessor, Thomas Meier.
Although clearly Mr Meier is not part of this submission per se, his departure from Paicolex was because I discovered that he had breached his legal and fiduciary duty of care as a trust officer by failing to obtain sufficient security on the loan given to my brother, at the behest of my father. When I discovered this, I reported Mr Meier to Lisa Mayhew, the Managing Partner of Berwin Leighton Paisner for these gross breaches and he was subsequently dismissed although Miss Gaby Kaiser, the head of professional risk at Berwin Leighton Paisner, recently denied this and said that he had actually retired, even though he runs a business called TEM Consulting and is still on the advisory board of the Swiss Association of Trust Companies (SATC). Miss Mayhew and Miss Kaiser are also subject to formal complaints, which are under separate cover.
Out of the blue on 23rd January 2018, I received a letter by email from Miss Edwards, which detailed the supposed remaining balance on my loan in a statement. This so-called statement, which had clearly been faxed from my father, detailed amounts that were not in accordance with my loan and interest calculations, which had been previously agreed by a trust officer and included amounts relating to my previous property, Long Barn. These amounts were unilaterally added to my current loan agreement.
It should be noted that even IF I had a loan arrangement with the trust/ASC, there was no security on Long Barn other than from the Woolwich and that the property could not have been sold if there had been any loans remaining and, even if there had been, they would have been deducted from the sales proceeds of Long Barn, as the conveyancing solicitor is required to do by law.
Similarly, if these erroneous amounts had somehow been transferred to the marital home, Nepcote House, which had been secured by ASC, that property would not have been sold either. Indeed, it was the trust officers who gave permission for the security to be registered as being satisfied, otherwise the completion of the sale would have failed. The sale of Nepcote House was formally completed on 14th September 2017.
As noted above, suddenly on 23rd January 2018, I then received this statement with these erroneous additional amounts. Not only were these amounts completely fabricated but it was not in accordance with the loan agreement that was prepared by Berwin Leighton Paisner and which was authorised by the trust officers and countersigned by myself.
In addition, the letter that accompanied the statement now said that the loan had to be repaid in full, whereas the loan agreement had no clauses that included ANY repayment date. What Clare Edwards and the other trust officers were doing was to retrospectively add additional loan amounts and additional clauses that had been authorised, signed and countersigned the year before. All of these “amendments” to the loan agreement were at the behest of my father.
The complaint about Miss Edwards is that she is being influenced from outside parties, namely my father, and has not even bothered to check the information given to her to the loan agreement that they have on file. If she had, then she would have seen that no additional amounts were payable and there was no repayment date whatsoever. She has thus committed a gross act of professional misconduct.
Furthermore, as previously stated, the loan balance calculations on my spreadsheet had already been agreed by Miss Edwards’ predecessor and these changes only started to come to light a few months after the commencement of Miss Edwards’ tenure at Paicolex.
She has thus failed in her legal and fiduciary duty of care to me as a beneficiary of the Hender Family Settlement.
Miss Edwards’ has completely ignored reality and has allowed herself to be led by an outside party, which, for a professional such as she, causes the legal profession’s reputation to be brought into disrepute.
Regardless of my continued provision of hard evidence, whereas she has produced none, an amount has been deducted from the dividend paid to me on 8th April 2019 (the first working day after 6th April), which was completely contrary to the banking instruction that I emailed to her.
This instruction, sent to Miss Edwards on 27th March 2019, also included a gross amount of £545,000.
This amount arises from the fact that on a secondary review of the trust accounts, prepared by my father and sent to me by Miss Edwards, I discovered that for the years ending 31st March 2015 and 31st March 2016, amounts were shown in creditors on the balance sheet as “dividends received in advance” of £245,000 and £300,000 respectively. These amounts never were disclosed on the profit and loss account as “dividends paid” or were received by me.
Miss Edwards responded to my query by stating that these amounts related to dividends that were to be paid after the year end. This could not be true, due to the fact that dividends are taxable on the beneficiaries as soon as it is received by the trust and NOT when paid to the beneficiary. HMRC does not allow the taking into account of the time lapse on payments to beneficiaries.
As I stated earlier, I did not receive any of these dividends and so the only recipient could have been my brother. I am sure that he disclosed 50% of the dividend that was shown on the profit and loss account but I strongly suspect that the additional £545,000 over two years has ever been declared to HMRC.
Although the trust officers cannot be held accountable for the no declaration of income, the trust officers have been complicit in the payment of extra monies to my brother. This was before Miss Edwards’ tenure at Paicolex Trust Management AG.
Being a Chartered Accountant of many years’ experience, I forensically examined all of the accounts that had been sent to me and determined that these amounts had been paid solely to my brother, without my knowledge.
I provided all of the evidence to Miss Edwards, Andrew Lugg (Chairman of Paicolex), Ron Downhill, Lisa Mayhew and Gaby Kaiser.
Not only did Miss Edwards ignore all of the evidence, she did not even respond to me, which is a total lack of professional courtesy, I was paid the “normal” rate of dividend less the additional monies owed less a unauthorised and spurious loan repayment of approximately £17,000.
Even though the additional dividends were effected before her tenure, she should, as a professional person, investigated my concerns and then put them right. But, she failed to do so.
Taking my father’s influence on the trust as read, he swore under oath in my divorce hearing that “he treated both his sons equally”. He has thus committed perjury, which has been reported to the Police.
In addition, she is taking instructions from a man who has been suffering from Alzheimer’s for 5 years. The fact that my elderly father has Alzheimer’s has been communicated many times to all parties mentioned in this submission but, as the trust officer in charge of the Hender Family Settlement, she is ultimately responsible for the safe day to day running of the trust.
By ignoring my grave concerns, she is putting the security of the Hender Family Settlement, its subsidiary, Adriatic Sea Corporation and the beneficiaries at great financial risk. Alzheimer’s is a very sad disease but no one in their right mind would continue to allow an elderly man to be in control of a £25 million plus trust.
On this matter alone, Clare Edwards has again failed in her fiduciary and legal duty of care to the trust, the subsidiary and the beneficiaries.
I respectfully submit that based on the evidence above, Miss Edwards should be struck off or, at the very least, admonished, although, of course, the decision, as to her future, lies entirely in your hands.
David John Hender
Beneficiary of The Hender Family Settlement
- Copy of the loan balance / loan interest calculation
- Copy of the fabricated statement
- Copy of letter accompanying above
- Copy of original loan agreement