Applause in court as case against finance worker is dropped
CRIMINAL proceedings against a highly respected money laundering reporting officer were dropped in the Royal Court yesterday to a round of applause from a full public gallery.
Michael Still, who has worked for Investec Bank for 14 years, had denied a charge of money laundering and an alternative of failing to make a required disclosure as soon as possible while the bank’s nominated officer to do so.
The amount involved was £223,728.51.
A trial had been due to start yesterday in what was thought to be the first case of its kind.
Defence Advocate Mark Dunster said that it was important to note that the prosecution had always accepted that his client had acted honestly.
Mr Still said the past 16 months had put huge strain on himself, his family and colleagues.
He had been temporarily suspended from work for 12 months and he was now looking forward to resuming work with Investec though it would not, for the time being at least, be as a money laundering reporting officer.
‘Investec have been very supportive throughout and support from the staff has also been huge,’ he said.
‘Like me, every person who knows me was incredibly shocked at how things managed to escalate to the level they did.
‘For the past 16 months, apart from when I’ve been asleep, there hasn’t been an hour when I haven’t thought about it, and it has had a huge impact on my personal life.’
Mr Still said he had worked in the compliance profession in Guernsey for many years and had had extensive interaction with Guernsey law enforcement, taking a proactive role in the mutual fight against crime.
‘It was therefore, of course, a great shock for me to be on the end of the judicial process.
‘I am now pleased that the process has recognised, after a very long period of worry and concern, that there is no reason to prosecute me.
‘I am fortunate to have good health and to deal with the stress I have managed to keep myself fit and active.’
Friends, family and finance industry representatives were among those in the courtroom yesterday to watch events and to clap loudly at the conclusion.
‘The support shown in the courtroom today is indicative of the support I have received from professionals within the industry, family, colleagues and friends over the past 16 months.’
The Guernsey Financial Services Commission said it did not wish to comment.