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Thursday 26 April 2018

Senior solicitor 'sacked over missing cash'

Graham Keys
Graham Keys

Deborah McAleese

A senior solicitor is facing a police probe over an alleged theft from the client of a prominent law firm.

Graham Keys - a former partner at Belfast legal practice Diamond Heron - is also prohibited from taking on any legal work while the PSNI investigates a report of theft from the company.

Mr Keys is also a well-known racehorse owner and breeder.

He is a regular on the Irish racing circuit with his horses, Moral High Ground, I'll Be Your Clown and Cherish The Pear.

A partner at Diamond Heron last night confirmed to the Belfast Telegraph that Mr Keys has been "expelled" from the firm and was no longer a partner.

The partner also revealed that they were alerted to "suspicious financial activity" by the police and then carried out an internal investigation into misappropriation of client monies.

Mr Keys was also suspended from practising law after the suspected theft was reported to the PSNI.

A police investigation into the alleged theft is continuing.

Mr Keys has not been charged with any criminal offence.

The PSNI said that detectives are investigating the report of a theft from a Belfast legal firm.

A PSNI spokesman added: "The investigation is at an early stage and inquiries are currently ongoing."

The Law Society of Northern Ireland said yesterday that, subject to appeal, Mr Keys has "had his practising certificate suspended pending investigation".

Until his suspension, Mr Keys was a partner at Diamond Heron Solicitors, which specialises in personal injury litigation, debt recovery, buying or selling of property and administration of estates.

A partner on behalf of Diamond Heron Solicitors said: "We can confirm that following an internal investigation into suspected misappropriation of client monies, Mr Graham Keys has been expelled and is no longer a partner in Diamond Heron.

"The partners were advised by the PSNI of suspicious financial activity by Mr Keys.

"The Law Society of Northern Ireland was immediately informed by the continuing partners and we continue to liaise with the society and the PSNI in their investigations.

"We would like to stress that no client has suffered or will suffer any loss. All client monies are fully safeguarded and have been restored by the continuing partners.

"The firm will continue to conduct its business as usual and provide an excellent service to all our clients both private and corporate."

The practice's clients include trade unions, insurance brokers and banks.

The firm is ranked in Chambers UK legal guide as leaders in the fields of debt collection and personal injury litigation.

Mr Keys himself has years of experience with the firm in secured lending and commercial litigation.

His professional details have however been deleted from Diamond Heron's website.

He remains active in the Irish horse racing scene.

One of his most recent races was at Leopardstown in the Republic earlier this month when his horse Moral High Ground came in sixth.

Mr Keys could not be contacted for comment.

Belfast Telegraph

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