Fielding wins delay on bankruptcy suit

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The Independent Online

Michael Fielding, the City lawyer who left the country after £2m was found missing from a client account, last week won a stay of execution from being declared bankrupt.

The hearing on Monday, at which Royal Bank of Scotland hoped to have Mr Fielding bankrupted over £12m its legal counsel claims he owed the bank, was adjourned until next month.

None of the parties will discuss the reasons for the adjournment, but it is believed that Mr Fielding's solicitor, Gillian Benning of Radcliffe's, has challenged the basis for RBS's claim

Mr Fielding was a partner in the prominent City solicitor Lawrence Graham, which has acted for, among others, RBS and the Princess Diana Memorial Trust.

He disappeared last month after checks showed that £2m was missing from the accounts of London & Regional, a property company run by the Livingstone brothers which Lawrence Graham advised on two recent hotel deals. London & Regional has declined to comment on the case. The Metropolitan Police and the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors are understood to have asked for more information.

Lawrence Graham has asked Deloitte & Touche, the accountants, to investigate, and Mr Fielding has resigned from the partnership. He is said to be in the US and is staying there on medical advice.

His financial problems go back more than a decade from when he was the senior partner of Grangewood, a 20-partner law firm which specialised in property and assets finance. The firm folded after several partners left to join a rival solicitor, Brecher & Co.

Mr Fielding is understood to have guaranteed the debts of Grangewood and this guarantee is said to have formed the basis of the £12m claim by RBS.

After leaving Grangewood, Mr Fielding was a director of Minerva Corporation, a small property company listed on the London Stock Exchange. He joined Lawrence Graham five years ago.

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