Top lawyer killed himself following probe into missing money fears

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A SENIOR lawyer killed himself after law chiefs launched an investigation into fears clients’ money was missing.

 

Clive Franks took his own life on Monday, November 10, at his home in Dalgety Bay, Fife.

 

Mr Franks was a member of the Law Society of Scotland’s complaints sub-committee.

 

But the 60-year-old was himself under investigation by the Law Society, the organisation confirmed yesterday.

 

Mr Franks had been involved in defending a high-profile case involving the will of a building tycoon.

The Law Society of Scotland has refused to confirm whether their investigation related to Mr Franks’ handling of this matter.

Mr Franks, from Dalgetty Bay, Fife, was a partner in Edinburgh firm Franks Macadam Brown, based in offices in the city’s St Andrews Square.

 

As well as his high profile role in the Law Society, and running his own legal firm, he was also a member of Dalgety Bay Sailing Club.
Sources close to the investigation confirmed that he had taken his own life.

 

His body was found in the garage of his home after family members contacted police to say they had not been able to get in touch with him.

 

A spokeswoman for the Law Society of Scotland said: “We can confirm that Mr Franks was subject to an investigation by the Law Society.

 

“We can also confirm that Mr Franks was formerly a member of one of the Law Society’s complaints committees.”

 

The spokeswoman confirmed that a “judicial factor” was appointed in relation to the death on Friday.

 

Such an appointment is made when there is suspicion that client money is missing or the accounting records are so poor they cannot tell if client money is misssing.

 

The Law Society said clients of Mr Franks could contact the judicial factor at the firm with any queries they may have.

 

The spokeswoman added: “We were very saddened to hear about the death of Mr Franks and offer our sympathies to his friends and family during what must be a distressing time.”

 

Mr Franks was involved in the case of businessman Alfred Stewart, from Fife, who changed his £7m will days before his death in April 2008 to leave the cash to the charitable trust he founded.

 

Mr Stewart cut his daughters out of the will, sparking a bitter legal battle.

 

Mr Franks was both an executor of the Mr Stewart’s will and a trustee of his charity.

 

Until 2012, he was also a secretary of the Alfred Stewart Property Foundation, a limited company set up after Mr Stewart’s death.

 

Mr Franks was named as one of several defenders in the legal battle over Alfred Stewart’s will in a case at Edinburgh’s Court of Session which ended in April 2013.

 

Mr Stewart, 71, planned to leave Leonie, 40, and Linden, 42, each more than £1million worth of property.

 

But he changed the will just 27 days before losing his battle with leukaemia.

 

Neither of Alfred’s sons Garry, 45, and Calum, 41, were named in the will.

 

The action was brought by Mr Stewart’s children, who claimed their father suffered from paranoia and was not in his right mind when he changed the will. However they lost the case.

 

The Alfred Stewart Charitable trust’s claim to his fortune was upheld.

 

Mr Frank’s family declined to comment.

 

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