The legal and regulatory aspects of business are becoming ever more complex. The grey area where civil fraud, regulatory obligations and criminal investigation overlap is increasing. Individuals and businesses can be either victims of crime or on the wrong side of the law, without knowing they were even at risk.
Having different sets of lawyers that specialise in the various areas of: bribery and corruption, tax, cartels and competition, fraud, sanctions-related issues, market abuse, directors' disqualification and beyond can be a complex, inefficient and costly process, which can add to the strain of dealing with the issues. Our Business Crime Group offers a comprehensive but streamlined approach for clients who may find themselves with a portfolio of problems. Whether an individual has been accused of improper financial conduct or is the victim of fraud, we can address all aspects of the case: civil, regulatory and criminal - within a single team.
Our criminal defence lawyers have more than twenty years' experience of acting on some of the UK's most complex corruption cases. We recognise that allegations of wrong-doing are high pressure situations and we quickly make your problem our own. We are adept at bringing matters to swift conclusion often without ever having to go to court. Should a trial be unavoidable our style is direct and robust, we believe in fiercely defending our clients' interests.
We act for clients facing investigation by regulators and law enforcement agencies in the UK, Europe and US (SFO, FCA, CPS, HMRC, CMA, SEC, DOJ among others) and have considerable experience in multi-jurisdictional fraud and corruption investigations, frequently working with overseas advisors. Our lawyers have been involved in many of the most high profile corruption cases of recent years including Rolls Royce, Unaoil, Johnson & Johnson and Innospec.
Corporate entities and individuals need to be aware of the Criminal Finances Act 2017. Its various provisions include the new civil sanction of Unexplained Wealth Orders, wider powers for the police to seize cash and other property alleged to be the proceeds of crime, and the broadening of the UK's anti-money laundering regime.
We advise corporate clients in relation to criminal investigations into corporate wrongdoing including: Corporate Manslaughter, Failure to Prevent Bribery (contrary to section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010), and the offence of Corporate Failure to Prevent the Facilitation of Tax Evasion (contrary to the Criminal Finances Act 2017). Our extensive involvement in SFO cases means we are well-placed to advise on internal investigations, corporate self-reports and DPAs. Our work also covers advice and representation in the course of inquiries which are very often run in parallel to criminal investigations as well as, in some cases, inquests. For exercises involving large numbers of documents we have our own eDiscovery platform, managed by in-house experts, so we can start on day one rather than briefing external third parties.
We also have extensive capabilities for representing victims of fraud or corruption. We know how to use the court processes to help our clients achieve their goals: this includes judicial review to compel investigators and prosecutors to take action, or mounting private prosecutions.
Private prosecutions can be an effective way to achieve justice, whether used as part of a wider litigation strategy or simply to send a message to the marketplace. Our Prosecution team is led by former Principal Legal Advisor to the DPP, Alison Levitt QC. As someone who has helped to draft the guidelines that the CPS continue to use, she is ideally placed to gauge whether a case will pass the high standards of evidence required to commence a criminal prosecution.
Some law firms involve huge teams of people in an investigation that becomes both disruptive and expensive for the client. At Mishcon de Reya, we believe an investigation should be like precision surgery: getting to the heart of the problem with minimum disruption to your business. We work closely with you to define the exact scope of any investigation and then build a team of specialists to fit. This means you don't pay for work that isn’t necessary and keep disruption to your business to a minimum. Read more.
Dealing with the financial regulators requires a different approach to that applied to general litigation. It requires sensitivity to a delicate environment, where different considerations are at play. Our detailed dealings over the years with the investigators and the decision-making bodies mean we are able to understand their thinking, objectives and points of sensitivity. We frame our cases and our approach accordingly. Read more.
Our team of extradition experts specialises in dealing with the risks facing high net worth individuals who can be faced with politically motivated extradition requests or wider campaigns of persecution. Such campaigns can often also involve attempts to engender psychological, financial or reputational pressure on requested persons and their families. Read more.
Fraud Defence (Civil)
Our Fraud Defence team comprises defence strategists who use experience gained from working for claimants to anticipate and undermine the potential points of attack that the defendant may face. The team has vast experience in working for clients who face the parallel attack of a civil claim and criminal regulatory investigation both in Britain and abroad. Read more.
Tax Litigation and Dispute Resolution
In recent years the tax authorities have become far more aggressive in collecting tax that they believe is payable. However, this aggressive approach is often unwarranted and our specialist team have been able to persuade HMRC of the correct treatment at an early stage. We know that most clients would far rather settle without recourse to the courts and that is always our first step, but when this does not succeed, we litigate on behalf of our clients. We have experience of taking matters through all of the Courts including and up to the Court of Justice of the European Union. Read more.