A solicitor who helped a convicted criminal launder millions of pounds of money from his prison cell was jailed for seven years yesterday.
The transactions aided by Louis Glatt were said to be the most extensive money-laundering exercise by a lawyer in English legal history.
The imprisonment of Glatt comes days before the publication of an intelligence report that will strongly criticise solicitors and accountants for failing to alert police to suspicious transactions that could involve suspected money laundering.
Glatt, 54, of Finchley, north London, bought properties and set up companies and off-shore accounts to give a legitimate source to "dirty money" earned from bootleg tobacco and alcohol sales on behalf of his client.
He was also instrumental in enabling Ellis Martin, 42, described as a "premier league fraudster" worth £30m, to keep running his highly lucrative empire under the noses of prison officers, Southwark Crown Court in London was told. The corrupt solicitor supplied members of Martin's gang with fake letters which allowed them to pose as solicitors' clerks and meet their boss in jail, where he gave them orders on how to run his multimillion-pound empire.
Passing sentence yesterday, Judge Elwen told Glatt: "You entered into an agreement with Martin and others to put beyond the prying eyes of the authorities very large amounts of what should otherwise have been taxpayers' money ... In doing what you did, you ignored the standards of your profession. I place you high up the ladder of this conspiracy; you were no mere foot soldier."
The court heard that Martin, who was jailed for six years in 1996, headed an criminal empire which defrauded the Inland Revenue of tens of millions of pounds from an estimated 800 lorryloads of beer, spirits and tobacco which were smuggled into Britain.Martin was jailed for a further nine years in 1999 and ordered to pay £10.7m.