Richmond lawyer Hong Guo suspended by law society

Richmond lawyer Hong Guo has been suspended from practising while the Law Society of BC continues its investigation into her business dealings.

Guo, a real estate lawyer who ran unsuccessfully for Richmond mayor last fall, was suspended on May 30 by the society.

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She has been at the centre of two society probes into alleged professional misconduct.

According to David Jordan, the society’s communications officer, Guo’s suspension was “administrative” and “which may be imposed at the discretion of the executive director for non-compliance with Law Society requirements.”

Asked why Guo was suspended, Jordan said “while I cannot comment on this specific case due to an ongoing investigation, administrative suspensions may be imposed for anything from non-payment of fees, to a failure to complete continuing professional development courses, to failing to provide records or attend an interview.”

Jordan added that the suspension could continue until the lawyer complies with the society requirements.

The Richmond News made several attempts to contact Guo for comment.

Guo is facing two hearings for two separate citations issued in 2018 by the society, which is now claiming Guo acted in a conflict of interest while representing several clients in connection to the purchase of two forestry-related companies.

She is facing another hearing in connection with the loss of $7.5 million from one of her firm’s trust accounts. She accused her bookkeeper Zixin Li (now arrested in China) of stealing the money, while the society claims, among other things, that she failed to properly supervise Li.

Guo has repaid the trust shortage through her own funds and through insurance, the Law Society confirmed.

If either of Guo’s citations are proven valid by the society’s yet-to-be-scheduled hearing panel, Guo will face disciplinary action ranging between a reprimand, a fine, a suspension or disbarment, according to Jordan.

The allegations in the two investigations have not been tested in hearings.

The hearing on Guo’s handling of her trust accounts is scheduled for February 2020.

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