A compliance officer who ignored her management duties while her fellow partner made hundreds of improper payments has been fined. Susan Marziano took no part in the financial management of east London firm MKM Solicitors over almost five years during which her colleague made 204 transfers of more than £510,000 in client money.The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal heard that Marziano admitted abrogating any management responsibility and failing to maintain proper accounting records or to have systems in place to maintain compliance with accounts rules.Marziano, 60, a solicitor for 17 years, was fined £20,000 in an agreed outcome with the Solicitors Regulation Authority approved by the tribunal earlier this month.MKM Solicitors was shut down in 2017. The tribunal heard that Marziano had overarching responsibility for the business but left this all to her partner, leaving him free to undertake a series of improper transactions. Several were worth more than £40,000 each and a large number of payments were made to gambling sites and a casino. Separate disciplinary proceedings are ongoing involving the other partner.A series of accounting failings allowed this misconduct to continue: bank reconciliations were said to be ‘materially deficient’ because they did not include a figure for client liabilities, the client matter list did not include any matters with a nil or debit balance, and procedures for identifying client money were not in place.Investigators were unable to determine the true position of the shortfall in the client account or to calculate whether the firm had sufficient funds to meet client liabilities.Marziano told the tribunal she had ‘total trust’ in her partner and she acted in good faith entrusting financial control to him. It was considered he had the necessary skills and competence in financial matters to mean he should retain responsibility for this. She accepted she should have taken a more active role but said the misconduct was deliberately concealed from her in a ‘sophisticated and sustained manner’.The tribunal noted that affected clients had to make claims on the compensation fund to recover their money and Marziano’s actions had to be classed as ‘very serious’. She was ordered to pay £14,000 costs.
KELSEY Benjamin (45) and Jeremy Garrett (63) found the back of the net on Saturday night, as Guyana, in their final game of the CONCACAF U20 Championship, defeated Group H winners El Salvador 2-0. It was Coach Wayne Dover side’s only win the tournament in Florida, USA, from four outings at the IMG Academy as the Guyanese outplayed their Central American counterparts.Ryan Dowding battling his way during Guyana’s 2-0 win over El Salvador in their final game of the 2018 CONCACAF U20 ChampionshipJermain Cumberbatch, Bevan Baker, Garrett, Benjamin, Cecil Beckman, Ryan Dowding, Raushan Rtich, Chris Macey, Job Caesar, Jalen Case and Leon Richardson were the starting team for Dover, and it proved to be the right combination for the deadlock-wearing Head coach. After several unsuccessful attempts, Guyana got their breakthrough from Benjamin just before the stroke of halftime, when the Western Tigers forward made a crafty move between a few El Salvador defenders, and sent a rocket shot from just inside the ’18’; a shot which El Salvador’s Rodrigo Artiga had no chance of stopping.In the second stanza, the 63rd minute to be exact, Garrett, who plays his football at the NJCAA level with the Louisiana State University (LSU) Eunice, climbed high to head home his only goal of the Championship from a ball which was sent in from a corner kick. Nicholas MacArthur, Kwai Marsh-Brown and Lionel Holder replaced Richardson, Case and Caesar but Guyana would go down to nine men after Ritch and Baker picked up their second yellow card.Despite being down, the Guyanese players held off several challenges from El Salvador to hold on for their historic win. It was only Guyana’s second showing at the CONCACAF U20 Championship, having first played in 1984 and 1994.Up next for Guyana, besides the CONCACAF Nations League, will be the Olympic Qualification tournament next year.The CONCACAF U20 Championship this year, served as a qualifier for the 2019 U20 World Cup and Pan American Games.