The former chief financial officer (CFO) of Minter Ellison in Adelaide is under police investigation after the firm discovered that monies held in personal partner funds had been misappropriated.
Minter Ellison informed police on Friday (12 August) that an internal investigation had uncovered that Craig Raneberg, who is understood to have been the firm's Adelaide office CFO for 10 years, appeared to have fraudulently taken the funds.
A source close to the firm told Lawyers Weekly that the figure is believed to be in the millions and that Raneberg has since fled Australia for Asia.
"It appears that the senior financial officer has abused his access and knowledge of the firm's security protocols and partners' personal information," said managing partner Nigel McBride in a statement.
"The firm's trust account is a separate account and is independently audited by a leading global accounting firm. In light of the evidence uncovered, Minter Ellison instructed the accounting firm to again audit the clients' trust account. Those auditors have confirmed, after completing their examination, that there is no evidence that the trust account has been tampered with."
McBride said that clients had not been affected, nor the underlying profitability of the firm or its ongoing operations.
"The partners are the only people affected," he said.
A spokesperson from the firm told Lawyers Weekly that as the matter is in the hands of the police, the firm did not wish to comment further on the matter and would be fully co-operating with any ensuing police investigation.
While federated with other offices in the Minter Ellison Legal Group, Minter Ellison SA/NT is a separate partnership and maintains completely separate financial accounts. Raneberg was the CFO for both the Adelaide and Darwin offices.