Crime, Fraud & Investigations

 

Our Practice

Clients benefit from our seamless advice and representation covering corporate crime liability and civil recovery. Our strengths are:

  • defence representation capability for criminal proceedings
  • experience in criminal investigations or raid situations
  • industry sector familiarity and understanding of business issues
  • expertise in advising on compliance to reduce the risks of personal and corporate crime liability.

“Despite the huge challenge of these instructions, which featured two continents, multiple legal systems, diverse branches of law (civil and criminal) and negotiations with on and off-shore law enforcement, regulatory and compliance authorities, [the team at Simmons & Simmons] were able to synthesise an intelligent and coherent strategy to achieve our goals” - testimonial from a financial institutions client.

Our corporate crime lawyers provide advice in business crime, civil fraud, money laundering (AML), bribery and corruption, investigations, extradition, cartels, regulatory and health and safety investigations as well as crime fraud and asset tracing. We have established the largest corporate crime group in Europe.

We have advised over 90 organisations globally on the UK Bribery Act and its implications. We are a leading authority on the Bribery Act and have been more closely involved in the development of the Act than any other firm. For example, Nick Benwell has given evidence before a Parliamentary Select Committee and he worked closely with the Ministry of Justice on this matter, as well as sitting on the CBI and BBA committees responsible for anti-corruption.

Experience

The nature of this work means that we are rarely able to give details of our clients or the exact nature of our advice.

Corruption

  • acting for the non-executives of a former FTSE 100 company in an investigation by the FSA’s Enforcement Division into alleged breaches of the Disclosure and Transparency Regulations by the company and the executive directors

  • representing Michael Woodford, the former Chief Executive of Olympus Corporation, in relation to his dismissal due to his whistle blowing; liaising with Tokyo Public Prosecutors Office, SESC and Tokyo Metropolitan Police

  • advising a life sciences company in relation to an investigation by the French regulator into corruption allegations concerning the company’s relationship with healthcare professionals. Following a dawn raid where documents were seized, the client is now dealing with further requests for information and interviews with its employees

  • advising an energy company on corruption issues arising in the course of a corporate transaction. We have been able to assist the clients within a very tight timetable on a case which has involved investigation into consultants in West Africa and advice from both our English and Dutch offices. It also led to ongoing anti-corruption, cartel and anti-money laundering advice

  • advising in relation to the high-profile Serious Fraud Office corruption investigations into the Al Yamamah defence contracts with Saudi Arabia, and four other prominent SFO investigations including Oil for Food

  • acting for a FTSE 100 client on a corruption investigation, including advice on possible tax evasion and money laundering. The case involves payments through a number of jurisdictions, including the US, and the need to work with local Counsel in Thailand and Malaysia

  • advising a number of international companies on anti-corruption systems and controls.

Extradition

  • successfully defending our clients in a ground-breaking extradition matter in relation to a US bank and tax fraud charges. We coordinated the case in the Channel Islands, Canada and US and advised on English aspects including a potential challenge to the application of the Extradition Act 2003, restraint proceedings and asset freezing issues

  • acting for a South American bank president in Spain in financial crime extradition proceedings before the Audiencia Nacional, Supreme Court, Constitutional Court and European Court of Human Rights.

Asset recovery

  • advising an international bank on an asset recovery of approximately $5m out of which it was defrauded by some of its own employees in conjunction with third parties. This has included advice on injunctive relief and constructive trust issues

  • advising a German insurance company in relation to its claim for several million euros against its board of directors following the chairman’s criminal acts, including the tracing of assets in Germany and abroad and the withdrawal of pension benefits.

Environmental

  • advising six directors and senior managers in their personal capacity, in relation to an ongoing UK criminal environmental investigation in their personal capacity, attending interviews under caution and advising on strategy.

Market abuse

  • acting for a senior individual in a broker/dealer in connection with a high profile FSA market abuse investigation
  • advising an international investment bank on English and Italian regulatory and criminal law aspects of a complex cross-border dispute including market manipulation and false accounting, relating to a multi-million euro securitisation of a portfolio of nonperforming loans

  • advising Deutsche Bank in France in relation to disciplinary proceedings brought by the AMF against the client and several hedge funds, regarding the issue of an equity redeemable bond by Alcatel, in connection with the information communicated by the bank in its prospectus, the dissemination of this information and the use of inside information by hedge funds.

Fraud

  • advising an international company on a multi-jurisdictional internal fraud investigation in England, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Including data protection issues, employment law aspects and disciplinary proceedings and potential criminal liability and reporting obligations

  • acting in proceedings seeking freezing injunctions in Nigeria

  • representing a listed company in a nationwide criminal investigation into alleged fraudulent activities in the construction industry, which led to a Parliamentary Inquiry.

Compliance

  • advising ThyssenKrupp AG, a German DAX 30 company, on compliance matters and setting up and manning a whistle-blowing hotline across 70 countries.

  • advising 12 leading energy and extractives companies on sector-specific guidance on the Bribery Act.

Specialist Expertise

Bribery and corruption

Corruption is never far from the news headlines. We have a wide experience of corruption investigations in countries across the world, many of them very high profile although we are also often involved at an early stage when the investigation is still internal. We advise on the OECD Convention and the legislation which implements it on a national level and assist clients in developing international anti corruption compliance policies and work with them to deliver training to their employees.

Money laundering

With our strong financial markets client base, we have many years’ experience in acting in specific cases where state authority and regulatory problems have already arisen but also in advising on the avoidance of money laundering through strategic and policy considerations.

Extradition

Developments in extradition law and the EU arrest warrant mean that there is a real risk of business people being removed to face trial in a hostile jurisdiction. We have cutting edge experience of acting in such matters.

Environment and safety

With a strong environmental and safety practice we represent the company, directors or senior managers who are being interviewed or questioned by regulators or are appearing in court following alleged breaches of legislation or major incidents. We also provide compliance advice and training and strategic advice on managing potential liability and handling negotiations with regulators. We often undertake internal investigations where procedures have failed or fraud may have occurred.

Financial services regulatory investigations

We are experts in defending contentious regulatory proceedings and conducting relevant investigations, including matters where possible criminal liability is an issue (eg insider dealing, misleading statements).  

Competition investigations

Criminal investigations by competition authorities is a key area for our EU, competition and regulatory practice. We also assist with the creation and implementation of effective compliance programmes, and often provide training to complete teams on dawn raid procedures.

Employee fraud

Employee fraud occurs at any level. We can investigate the employee’s conduct, liaise with the police and prosecuting authorities and advise on any requirements to notify suspected money laundering. We can also assist in managing reputational risk issues.

Asset recovery

We act for victims of fraud to recover the expropriated monies through court applications for emergency relief to secure evidence and prevent dissipation of funds. This includes working with the authorities and instructing forensic experts.