Ian Coulter ‘no longer a solicitor’

Law Society  Building  in Belfast City centre
Law Society Building in Belfast City centre

The Law Society last night finally broke cover to comment on the NAMA scandal – five days after the allegations were first made.

The body said that former Tughans managing partner Ian Coulter – who the firm alleges “diverted” money from the Cerberus deal to an offshore bank account but who has not commented since the story broke – “resigned” from Tughans in January after discovery of the unusual transaction.

The Law Society – which until last night had refused to even confirm that it was investigating the matter – said it was satisfied that “any funds in question are secure whilst [its] investigation is ongoing”.

It said: “It is critical to protect the integrity of any investigation and fairness to all parties. The Law Society does not have a wider remit to investigate individuals who are not solicitors. Mr Coulter did not renew his practising certificate in January 2015 and therefore is not practising as a solicitor in Northern Ireland.”

The body called on Mick Wallace or anyone else with information to give it to police and added: “The Law Society will co-operate with any police investigation into these new and serious allegations which are beyond the remit of the Law Society’s powers.

“Upon conclusion of its inquiry, the Law Society shall take such action as is appropriate which may include referral to the independent Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal empowered to impose financial penalties and/or striking off solicitors from the roll of solicitors.”