FORMER SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh has been cleared of any dishonesty or impropriety in the case of a trust fund operated by her former law firm Hamilton Burns of Glasgow.

The firm went bust with debts of £500,000 in 2017, two years after Ahmed-Sheikh resigned from it on becoming one of the 56 SNP MPs returned to the House of Commons in the 2015 general election.

National columnist Ahmed-Sheikh was due to attend a four or five-day hearing of the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal in Perth yesterday after the Law Society of Scotland took out what is technically called a prosecution against her and former business partner Niall Mickel over events prior to her resignation.

The Law Society alleged professional misconduct on the part of both Mickel and Ahmed-Sheikh, mainly on grounds of failing to follow proper accounting procedures in the administration of a Mickel family trust.

The first day of the hearing saw a dramatic turn of events, however, when it was revealed at the outset that the Law Society and legal representatives of the two solicitors had agreed a joint minute clearing both lawyers of any dishonesty or impropriety.

They have accepted that they did not treat the trust as a client which would have involved different accounting procedures, but both solicitors believed they did not have to do so.

Newspaper reports in the run up to her unsuccessful election campaign in Ochil and South Perthshire in the 2017 general election suggested that Ahmed-Sheikh was being investigated for financial impropriety, but the tribunal heard yesterday that there had been none.

Nor was there any dishonesty on the part of Ahmed-Sheikh and Mickel, and nor did either of them gain anything, while the trust fund itself suffered no loss and indeed made money when interest was paid into it.

Furthermore the Law Society’s lawyer at the hearing, Grant Knight, stated that their belief that the trust fund was not a client of the firm was “erroneous but genuinely held.”

Knight told the hearing that significant sums had been loaned by the trust to Hamilton Burns which was struggling to cope in the period under review.

Mickel had set up the trust for his sister Jill in 2012 and part of the problem was that the trust remained known on the firm’s ledger as the Jill Mickel Trust when it should have been named the Alan Niall Macpherson Mickel Trust.

Knight said there was no evidence that the trust had been set up to lend money and that Mickel accepted that he should have taken steps to ensure proper accounting procedures.

There was also a conflict of interest between the two solicitors’ positions in the firm and their administration of the trust. He concluded by saying “they should have known” that their genuine belief that the trust was not a client was erroneous.

Lawyer William Macreath for Mickel argued that the genuine belief that the trust was not a client did not meet the threshold for a finding of professional misconduct. He also said that his client and his family had suffered from the effects of the publicity surrounding the case.

Dorothy Bain QC for Ahmed-Sheikh said her client now accepted that the trust fund was a client of the firm.

The hearing was adjourned yesterday afternoon with all the submissions ended. It will recommence at 11am this morning.

Neither Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, Niall Mickel nor their lawyers or the Law Society would comment.