Judgment has been handed down by the Upper Tribunal today in the matter of Seiler, Raitzin and Whitestone v the FCA. Mishcon de Reya acted for Swiss banker Thomas Seiler. The Tribunal allowed our case in full, dismissing any suggestion that Mr Seiler acted recklessly and without integrity. The case is notable for being heard longer after the events in question than any other comparable proceedings at the Tribunal.
Partner Adam Epstein, who led the case for Mr Seiler said: "I am delighted for our client, Thomas Seiler. Whilst he has had to endure a long FCA process culminating in a four week hearing, I am pleased to say that the Upper Tribunal has accepted Thomas' case in full and dismissed any suggestion that he acted recklessly and without integrity."
A large number of findings will have real significance for how future cases are run. For instance:
- The Tribunal said the FCA should in future give "serious consideration as to whether it is appropriate to continue with an investigation which it does not have the resources to complete within a reasonable period of time and where it has decided its priorities for resources lie elsewhere."
- How to balance proceedings against firms, which are often settled, where the proceedings against the relevant individuals are not. Various findings are reached about this, resulting in the Tribunal stating that: "The [FCA] will now have to consider how it deals with the JBI Final Notice in the light of our findings. It would clearly be unfair to the Applicants if that notice continues to be published in full on the [FCA's] website."
- The FCA issued Decision Notices against each of Thomas Seiler, Louise Whitestone and Gustavo Raitzin, relating to the time they were at Julius Baer. All three referred their cases to the Upper Tribunal.
- The references were consolidated and heard over a four week period in December 2022 and January 2023.
- The Decision Notices stated that all three should be prohibited for lack of integrity on the grounds of recklessness relating to arrangements entered into by others through Julius Baer. The references by the individuals were allowed in full by the Tribunal, which found that there was no recklessness and no lack of integrity.
- UK entity, Julius Baer International Limited agreed at an early stage to settle all issues of fact and it partially agreed liability (but not penalty).
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