A former Reed Smith partner has been referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal for allegedly altering client billing documents ahead of being questioned about personal expenses, according to an SRA decision.
The U.K. Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) decided to refer George Panagopoulos—formerly Reed Smith’s Athens office managing partner—after he instructed his secretary to bill three of Reed Smith’s clients for personal expenses incurred by him relating to a trip to London with his daughter in October 2019, according to the prosecution document.
Then in February 2020, he “altered billing documents” prior to a meeting in which he knew he would be questioned about the expenses. During the meeting, he “represented that the alterations he made to the billing documents immediately prior to the meeting were made at the time he first reviewed these documents, knowing that the representation was untrue”.
The SRA states that the allegations “are as yet unproven”.
The tribunal will reach its own decision after “considering all the evidence”, including any put forward by Panagopoulos.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Panagopoulos spent over a decade at Reed Smith, four years as a partner and a further six as Greece office managing partner.
In March 2020, Panagopoulos resigned from the firm and was replaced by London-based female partner Sally-Ann Underhill to lead the Athens office.
A spokesperson for Reed Smith said: “The firm holds itself to the highest professional standards and takes its regulatory obligations extremely seriously. Following an internal investigation in line with those standards and obligations, we notified the SRA of this matter. As the hearing is yet to take place it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
Panagopoulos was not reachable for comment.