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Wells Fargo has turned to a recent head of one of New York’s most powerful law firms for its new general counsel as the US bank deals with the fallout from the scandal over sham accounts.

Allen Parker, who was presiding partner of Cravath, Swaine & Moore until January, is leaving to become Wells Fargo’s top lawyer after more than 25 years with the firm.

He succeeds James Strother, who is leaving after 13 years at the helm of the bank’s legal department. Mr Strother was due to retire last year when he turned 65, the bank said. He was asked to remain past his retirement date amid the crisis over bogus bank accounts.

Wells Fargo is facing lawsuits and several investigations after thousands of its staff created bogus accounts, in some cases faking signatures to meet sales targets.

The bank’s connection with Cravath goes back to the 1880s. As well as Wells, Mr Parker’s clients have included JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Kissinger Associates. He has been replaced at the top of the law firm by Faiza Saeed.

Mr Parker will serve on the company’s operating committee and be based in San Francisco.

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