A solicitor who arranged the transfer of a drug-dealing couple's house for less than a third of its value told a jury he would never become involved in a criminal activity.
Solicitor Phillip Griffiths told Warwick Crown Court that he had organised the transfer because he accepted the word of someone he had trusted for years - Balsall Common estate agent Les Pattison, who was buying it.
Pattison (44) of Tudor Close, Balsall Common, and Griffiths (44) of Emstrey Lodge, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, have denied entering into or becoming involved in money laundering.
Pattison also denies acquiring criminal property - the house in Bryn Arden Road, Yardley - knowing or suspecting it to represent the proceeds of criminal conduct.
Griffiths denies failing to make a required disclosure to the authorities about the house sale when, as a solicitor, he knew or suspected or had reasonable grounds for knowing or suspecting money laundering was taking place.
Peter Duncan Davis (43) and Donna Louise Davis (36), who are serving jail sentences for drug dealing, have admitted money laundering, the jury has been told.
They sold their £150,000 house to Pattison in 2004 for just £43,000 - the amount of mortgage outstanding on the property - in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid the house being considered as an asset in a proceeds of crime hearing, the prosecution claims.
The transfer was carried out by Griffiths, who said Pattison told him that friends of his were having difficulty with their mortgage and he wanted to help them out.
He said he believed Pattison was buying it for the amount remaining on the couple's mortgage and that he would then let them stay on in the house.
He explained that he had carried out transfers for Pattison over a number of years, and told the court: "I was happy to accept the word of someone I have trusted for some years."
John Butterfield, prosecuting, suggested that an honest conveyancing solicitor seeing the house was so undervalued and knowing the vendors were not represented "would have screaming out in their head to take steps to be cautious".
Griffiths replied: "I did take steps to be cautious. He gave me an explanation which I accepted."
Earlier, the court had heard that Griffiths had been spoken to by the police on an earlier occasion, when acting for the Davis's when they were selling a former home, and was told they were being investigated for drug trafficking.
Mr Butterfield suggested that should have set alarm bells ringing, pointing out that as a solicitor Griffiths had an obligation to report any suspicious financial activity to the authorities.
The trial continues.