A DIRECTOR of property agency Richard Ellis has left the company after disagreements relating to under-the-table payments for passing confidential client information to a design consultancy. A source close to Richard Ellis told Sunday Money Alan Bowyer-Tag was asked to leave last month for leaking information about clients' relocation plans to a company specialising in furnishing offices for new tenants. The source said Mr Bowyer-Tag was paid a monthly retainer by the design consultancy, in an arrangement which finished two years ago. Mr Bowyer-Tag declined to comment and said it was a private matter between himself and Richard Ellis. Richard Ellis managing director Christopher Thrift said Mr Bowyer-Tag had left the firm within the last six weeks, although it was company policy not to comment on individual staff cases. 'Naturally, we would be sorry to part company with a senior member of staff. However, we would not hesitate to do so if we had reason to believe that ethical standards of the company had in any way been compromised,' he said. Mr Bowyer-Tag had been a director in the commercial department of Richard Ellis - one of the world's largest property consultancy firms - although he held no equity in the firm, said Mr Thrift. The source said that, in return for the regular retainer, Mr Bowyer-Tag had provided the design consultancy with advance information on Richard Ellis' clients who were moving to new offices, giving the design firm a head start to pitch for business. Design consultancy is big business. Other agents estimated fully furnishing a Grade A office with carpet, ducts, interior partitions and workstations cost an average of $450 per square foot. By passing client information to a consultancy for personal profit, Mr Bowyer-tag had broken professional codes which barred a property agent from divulging client information, the source said. Even if an agency was not retained but acted in a brokerage capacity, it was assumed to have a 'duty of care' in using confidential information, another agent said. Since agents are well placed to advise companies on additional professional services necessary for a move of office, they frequently received approaches from firms such as design consultancies. It was not uncommon for property agents to receive kickback commissions for directing business their way and this was a grey area of professional ethics, said a director at another firm. The international firms were extremely aware of the need to appear 'whiter than white'.