Former National candidate and lawyer struck off for misusing $600,000

Ken Yee took more than $500,000 in unauthorised loans, which have been repaid, but still owes $95,000 in fees diverted to his own companies.

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Former National Party candidate and Manukau city councillor Ken Yee has been struck off the roll of barristers and solicitors for misusing $600,000 of client funds.

The NZ Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal says Mr Yee misused the money in two ways, resulting in misconduct clearly regarded as “disgraceful or dishonourable.”

Mr Yee was found to have taken more than $500,000 from his law firm’s trust account in a series of unauthorised loans to one of his own companies.

The loans have all been repaid, the tribunal says.

But a further $95,706 in fees were also diverted to companies he was associated with, which is yet to be repaid.

New Zealand Law Society national prosecutions manager Mark Treleaven says the misuse of funds held in the aptly named “solicitor’s trust account” is totally unacceptable.

“The reputation of the legal profession stands on ensuring that a person can have absolute confidence that any such funds will be securely and safely held in trust by their lawyer.”

In 2005, Mr Yee was ranked at No 58 on the National party’s general election list, and stood for the Manukau East electorate.

He also served two terms as a Manukau city councillor. 

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