White Collar Crime and Investigations
Our specialist team has considerable experience of acting for individuals and corporates facing investigation by regulatory and law enforcement agencies and provide fast, sensitive and expert representation. They also provide advice on the Bribery Act 2010 and the Criminal Finances Act 2017.Sectors and Services
1 Bribery and Corruption
The Bribery Act 2010 governs the conduct of companies and individuals doing business in the UK and abroad.
It not only criminalises the giving and receiving of bribes in the public and private sector, but introduces an offence of which a company is guilty if it fails to prevent bribery unless they can show that they had adequate preventative procedures in place. Those convicted of corruption face up to 10 years’ imprisonment and an unlimited fine.
We have acted for corporates and individuals subject to investigations conducted by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and National Crime Agency (NCA), which often run in conjunction with agencies from other jurisdictions, such as the US Department of Justice (DOJ).
In recent years the SFO has mirrored the approach taken in the US, and is increasingly using Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs) with companies that self-report. We can act independently, or in conjunction with existing lawyers, to conduct internal investigations to establish whether bribery and / or corruption offences have been committed. We will provide expert and timely advice on the scope of liability and whether to self-report.
2 Extradition and INTERPOL Red Notices
Extradition is the formal process in which a person is transferred from one jurisdiction to another for the purpose of a prosecution or to serve a sentence of imprisonment.
Our team has represented persons subject to extradition requests from countries such as the Russian Federation, Paraguay, USA, Canada, Turkey as well as almost every EU member states. We have an extensive network of trusted and highly-regarded Counsel and foreign lawyers which allows us to provide complete representation.
The introduction of the Extradition Act 2003 (the Act) streamlined the extradition process, particularly in relation to European Arrest Warrants.
Part 1 of the Act concerns territories of the European Union and the operation of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) scheme. Proceedings involving EAWs are fast-moving and require a considerable amount of preparation to be undertaken in a short period of time. It is therefore vital that expert representation is sought as soon as possible.
Part 2 of the Act deals with territories which are members of the European Council, British Commonwealth jurisdictions and countries with which the UK has bi-lateral extradition agreements, such as the United States of America. These cases often involve complex and lengthy litigation requiring numerous experts to be instructed and considerable amounts of evidence to be submitted. Some countries are also required to prove a prima facie case. This requires representation by an experienced and specialist legal team.
Challenges to extradition include, but are not limited to:
- Dual criminality – the conduct alleged in the warrant / request would not constitute an offence in the UK
- Double jeopardy – you have already been convicted / acquitted of the offences in the warrant / request
- Extraneous considerations – the warrant / request has been issued to persecute you as a result of your race, religion, gender, sexuality or political beliefs
- Passage of time – it would be unfair or oppressive to extradite you because of the time that has elapsed since the offence or conviction
- Forum – the offence should be prosecuted in the UK rather than the requesting country
With over 190 members INTERPOL is the largest international policing organisation. Red Notices are issued by an individual country to seek the arrest of a person with a view to extradition. The notice is published on INTERPOL’s database and the existence of a notice can have a severe and detrimental effect on a person’s freedom. It makes it extremely difficult for a person to travel safely.
Even where an extradition request has been successfully defeated, this does not mean that the Red Notice is automatically removed. Furthermore, countries have misused the Red Notice system. Turkey has been criticised for issuing Red Notices against critics of the government and the UAE has been consistently misusing the system by issuing Red Notices for civil debts.
We are able to assist in challenging Red Notices that should not have been issued. Our team is experienced in making submissions to INTERPOL as to why the notice should be removed and can, if necessary, instruct local lawyers in the issuing jurisdiction to make representations directly to the issuing authority.
3 General Crime
We provide expert and discreet advice in relation to a range of criminal offences from driving offences through to homicide.
We provide expert and discreet advice in relation to a range of criminal offences from driving offences through to homicide. Our team has considerable experience in representing clients throughout the entirety of an investigation, from providing pre-arrest arrest through to trial. We often act in high-profile and sensitive cases which require a high degree of discretion.
We have extensive experience of representing clients in relation to the following offences:
- Drugs offences
- Murder and manslaughter
- Sexual offences
- Theft, fraud and dishonesty
- Violence offences
4 Money Laundering
Our team are regularly instructed to advise those subject to investigation for money laundering offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
The Act introduced a set of offences which are often alleged in conjunction with other offences, as well as stand-alone offences. If convicted of a money laundering offence, a person is also likely to be subject to confiscation proceedings under the Act. Please see the Proceeds of Crime section below.
We are also able to advise corporations on their obligations and procedures under the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regime. This includes an assessment of whether the current procedures are adequate and whether a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) should be filed.
5 Mutual Legal Assistance
Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) is the formal process in which a country requests cross-jurisdictional co-operation in criminal and international investigations.
The MLA procedure concerning EU member states has been streamlined through the European Investigation Order which limits the circumstances in which a state can refuse to co-operate with an MLA request. It also sets down a timetable in which requests must be considered.
Together with our Litigation team, we can advise clients of their rights and obligations under MLA arrangement and the associated interplay with the risks of extradition.
MLA requests can often involve complex areas of law and potentially significant consequences, such as restraint and freezing orders.
6 Proceeds of Crime
The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 ('POCA') allows law enforcement agencies to freeze, restrain and confiscate assets on the basis of a person’s connection to criminality or offenders
Powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act can be exercised using criminal confiscation or civil recovery.
Criminal confiscation is used against convicted persons to recover monies equivalent to the benefit the person obtained from criminal activity. The process of determining what the benefit from crime is and also what constitutes assets can be very complex and often confiscation proceedings are more protracted than the trial for the original offence. It requires expert representation to effectively navigate the complexities.
Civil recovery is used for seizing and forfeiting assets on the basis that they are or represent the proceeds of crime (without a conviction), and also allows law enforcement agencies to apply to the court for seizure of cash.
We have extensive experience advising clients on the Proceeds of Crime Act and exposure to asset confiscation / recovery, often in tandem with Money Laundering investigations.
7 Serious Fraud
We advise individual and corporate clients on all aspects of criminal investigations and prosecutions, including Serious Fraud Office section 2 interviews.
Our experienced lawyers offer strategic, discrete and professional advice to help you out of a difficult situation. We have extensive experience representing clients in investigations conducted by domestic and international agencies such as the Serious Fraud Office, National Crime Agency, Financial Conduct Authority, Crown Prosecution Service, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, City of London Economic Crime Unit and the US Department of Justice, among others.
Our team has considerable experience in all areas of fraud including missing trader fraud, investment fraud and VAT fraud.
We also assist companies who suspect fraud has been committed against them by an employee or third party by conducting Internal Investigations, gathering evidence and liaising with the relevant authorities.
Fraud often has an international element and, with our experience and extensive contacts in extradition, we are able to effectively represent clients in cross-border investigations.
8 FCA Investigations
We work in conjunction with our regulatory team to offer tactical and effective advice on the following:
- Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) investigations (supervision and enforcement)
- Regulatory Decisions Committee proceedings (RDC)
- Regulatory Transactions Committee proceedings (RTC)
- Professional Regulatory Bodies Disciplinary Procedures
- Information requests and requirements
Our team is experienced in representing individuals and corporates in relation to criminal and regulatory investigations initiated by the FCA for market abuse, fraud and regulatory breaches. We also assist companies and individuals in obtaining FCA approval for regulated persons and activity.
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