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Solicitor (& MLRO) sentenced to Nine months in prison for tipping-off


Today at the Old Bailey, William Osmond has been sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months, for

  • Tipping off his client about a money laundering investigation and
  • Forging a key document given to the SFO in response to requests for information.

The SFO said the case was the first prosecution of its kind.

The sentence follows a five-day trial earlier this month. Osmond was convicted under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2022 by a 10 to 2 majority and unanimously convicted on the forgery charge.

Osmond was the director and money laundering reporting officer for his law firm, Osmond & Osmond Solicitors Ltd.

Matthew Wagstaff, joint head of fraud, bribery and corruption at the SFO, on the sentencing of William Osmond, the first solicitor prosecuted by the SFO for “tipping off” a client about an SFO investigation, said.

  • “This solicitor abused his trusted, professional status to knowingly break the law.
  • No one is above the law, and we will pursue anyone who attempts to obstruct our investigations.” –

In 2018, investigators made covert inquiries about

  • James Redding Ramsay, one of Osmond’s clients, had paid £4m toward purchasing a property in Mayfair, London.

SFO investigators revealed in a trial earlier this month that

  • He had informed his client about the SFO’s investigation into a £4 million loan towards purchasing a house in Mayfair.
  • He also forged and provided investigators with a “Letter of Engagement”, which set out his role as solicitor around the purchase.

Osmond’s actions were revealed after SFO investigators searched his office in April 2019, revealing

  • Hand-written notes on his discussions with his client and
  • Computer files that showed his forgery of the legal letter.

The court heard that.

  • The SFO’s call to Osmond was about the source of the money as part of a more comprehensive investigation into the Eurasian National Resources Corporation (ENRC) and
  • The solicitor was warned three times by the SFO investigator not to tell his client.

Osmond, who was acting as the money laundering reporting officer for the firm,

  • Contacted his client about the money laundering investigation and
  • Met with Ramsay multiple times over five months to discuss the matter.
    • Flew to Ramsay’s home in Malta and
    • Met him at a private dining club in west London.

Osmond also supplied the SFO with a fake letter of engagement that set out his role as solicitor for a British Virgin Islands company, which was purchased by Ramsay and used to move funds to buy the London property.

SFO investigators searched Osmond’s office in 2019 and found five pages of handwritten notes on his discussions with Ramsay and computer files that showed his forgery.



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