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Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says he was surprised to learn of financial misconduct allegations against the recently resigned president of the provincial Liberal party.

Jason Boudrot’s former law firm says the Port Hawkesbury, N.S., lawyer has admitted to misappropriating money from his clients’ trust funds, and has been fired and suspended from practising law in the province.

McNeil said Thursday he learned about Boudrot’s problems two days ago.

“You are always concerned when you hear that regardless of who that is,” he said. “That process now will go through (the barristers’ society) and it will come to its rightful conclusion.”

McNeil added that Boudrot’s problems are not related in any way to his former position with the governing party.

“There would be no involvement in terms of the party, no. He wouldn’t have had any signing authority.”

Boudrot had only been party president since being chosen at the Liberal Annual General Meeting on Oct. 13.

The Liberals issued a news release Tuesday saying Boudrot had resigned from the party’s board for “personal reasons,” and the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society (NSBS) posted notification on Wednesday that he had been suspended.

On its website, the society said that its complaints investigation committee had given notice that Boudrot had been suspended “pursuant to section 37 (1) and (2) of the Legal Profession Act, effective Oct. 31, 2018 until further notice.”

That section allows the committee to act by resolution “where in its opinion it is in the public interest to do so.”

McNeil said it is his understanding that Boudrot had self-reported to the barristers’ society.

In a statement, law firm partner Adam Rogers confirmed that Boudrot had informed the society on Monday.

“Such a violation is among the most serious a lawyer can commit,” Rogers wrote.

“Mr. Boudrot has been removed from our firm. The NSBS has suspended Mr. Boudrot’s licence to practise pending a thorough investigation and forensic audit.”

The law firm said it was working with the barristers society to review its operations “to understand the full scope of the issue, and ensure that any missing funds are replaced forthwith.”

The firm said it was committed to making any of its affected clients whole and it is fully cooperating with the barristers’ society as it investigates Boudrot’s conduct.

It hasn’t been revealed how much money may have been involved and there’s also no word on how long the alleged misappropriation of funds had been going on.

The law firm’s website says Boudrot was called to the bar in 1996, and he handled mostly real estate, wills and estates, and corporate cases.

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