Richmond lawyer Hong Guo's suspension lifted

The suspension of Richmond lawyer Hong Guo has been lifted, according to the industry’s governing body.

The Richmond News reported last week how Guo had been suspended from practising while the Law Society of BC continued its investigation into her business dealings.

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Although the investigation into her practices is still ongoing. The society confirmed on Monday that Guo’s administrative suspension from May 30 was lifted on June 6.

The society said it couldn’t go into the details of the suspension – given the ongoing investigation – saying only that it was for “failing to comply with a Law Society requirement.”

“The suspension was lifted…after she complied with what was required of her under the rules that had resulted in her administrative suspension,” said the society in an emailed statement.

“…administrative suspensions may be imposed for anything from non-payment of fees, a failure to complete continuing professional development courses, to failing to provide records or attend an interview.

“Hong Guo still faces discipline proceedings. The citations issued in September and December of 2018 still must be proved in a discipline hearing, one of which has been scheduled.”

Guo, a real estate lawyer who ran unsuccessfully for Richmond mayor last fall, has been at the centre of two society probes into alleged professional misconduct.

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

She 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.

Guo 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 could face disciplinary action ranging between a reprimand, a fine, a suspension or disbarment.

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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