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Disgraced Richmond lawyer Hong Guo adds yet another professional misconduct finding

The B.C. immigration and real estate lawyer is facing nine professional misconduct citations.
Richmond real estate and immigration lawyer Hong Guo was found to have committed more professional misconduct.

Another week and another finding of professional misconduct has been added to embattled Richmond lawyer Hong Guo’s resume.

A Law Society of BC disciplinary panel has once more found that disgraced real estate lawyer Guo committed professional misconduct, the fifth such decision since 2020, with four more allegations still outstanding.

The panel found that Guo had acted in a conflict of interest by representing both sides in a purchase of shares related to the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program.

Guo, who is currently serving a one-year suspension, tried to tell the panel that findings of professional misconduct, related to conflicts of interest, should only be made when the lawyer missed an “elephant in the room.”

The panel, however, found precisely just that.

“In our view the alarm bells ought to have been ringing loudly. Every lawyer knows that they cannot act on both sides of a transaction,” reads the panel’s decision.

Guo was found to have committed professional misconduct as well by completely failing to identify clients, identify the source of funds and keep a separate record for each client of funds held during the entire time she held such funds.

Incidents include one client depositing funds into her bank account in China instead of a trust account and failing to record her terms and conditions for holding funds for her clients.

Such failures stemmed from her “complete disregard of the trust accounting rules,” said the panel.

The third of the society’s allegations — that Guo allowed her account to be misused by Chinese residents she never met and were not her clients — was also deemed professional misconduct because she failed to question objectively suspicious circumstances.

Finally, the panel ruled Guo committed professional misconduct by being “evasive and untruthful” and failing to respond to the society during its investigation.

The Richmond-based lawyer has an office on No. 3 Road by Richmond Centre and she failed in a bid to become mayor in Richmond in October 2018.

She is a former People’s Republic of China state council legal specialist and has an office in Beijing as well.

Her one-year suspension began this March after the Law Society unsuccessfully advocated for her disbarment.

The Law Society is also applying for a review of a previous decision from March 8, where the panel found Guo breached the Legal Professions Act but did not commit professional misconduct when she made representations she “knew or ought to have known were false or inaccurate” during the society’s investigation.

- With files from Graeme Wood