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A solicitor who used almost £100,000 of his clients' money for his own purposes has been struck off.
Ziad Al-Rawi, from New Ash Green, withdrew £96,000 from his client account and used some of the cash to re-pay a personal loan and to cover the cost of an internet marketing course.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal heard that as well as making improper withdrawals, Mr Al-Rawi failed to make-up the shortfall promptly, and did not make the necessary regular checks on the client account.
His firm Ashton Page was closed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in January last year, when the misuse of client money was discovered.
Mr Al-Rawi told the hearing the matter arose because of personal and professional circumstances at the time, that the money was repaid to clients and he was of previous good character.
"This is clearly dishonest, and dishonesty will not be tolerated in the profession..." - Gordon Ramsay, Solicitors' Regulation Authority
The tribunal found he had acted dishonestly and, as well as striking Mr Al-Rawi off the roll of solicitors, ordered him to pay £11,000 costs.
Gordon Ramsay, SRA director of enforcement, said: "Solicitors hold positions of trust and the principles we ask them to abide by state they must act with integrity and maintain that trust that the public puts in them.
"Those solicitors that fail to uphold these principles can expect to face severe consequences.
"In this case, Mr Al-Rawi used money that did not belong to him without permission. This is clearly dishonest, and dishonesty will not be tolerated in the profession."
Mr Al-Rawi has 21 days from the SDT's publication of its decision to appeal.
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