Failing to prevent bribery or money laundering from occurring can be significant, both in terms of the costs and outcomes of any consequential criminal or regulatory investigation but also in terms of reputational damage. Heightened awareness of such behaviour has generated increased scrutiny of company practices by investors, consumers, the media and (obviously) investigative organisations.
Any ESG strategy must necessarily engage with these important issues by identifying and mitigating such risks, and by putting into place robust and effective policies and procedures. Good governance, a visible willingness by senior management to engage in anti-bribery and corruption and anti-money laundering work, is increasingly viewed as reflective of a broader ethical strategy which itself is key to driving responsible decision-making and a compliant culture within an organisation.
How we can help
With our extensive team experience of acting in some of the most prominent investigations of recent times, we are very well placed to help organisations and individuals approach all manner of anti-bribery and corruption, and anti-money laundering challenges.
Our market-leading expertise stems from our experience advising both corporate clients and individuals when navigating complex and often multi-jurisdictional criminal and regulatory investigations. Our depth of expertise means that we are able to advise at all stages of the enforcement process and effectively manage criminal, regulatory and civil matters in parallel. The members of our team have acted for clients under investigation by a range of agencies including the Financial Conduct Authority, the Serious Fraud Office, the Prudential Regulatory Authority and the Financial Reporting Council in the UK; the Department of Justice, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the New York Attorney General in the US; and agencies in many other jurisdictions including Hong Kong, Dubai, Australia, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Japan. From the first inkling that something may have gone wrong, we can assist in mapping out a strategy to help the client. It may be that the initially preferred approach is to carry out an internal investigation. Our experience allows us to assess whether the expense and disruption that such investigations can cause will be the correct course for the client and, if so, how to manage it appropriately to minimise risk.
Our experience covers advising both the corporates running such investigations, as well as employees who are required to give evidence as part of the process. We have conducted internal investigations to address not only potential bribery and money laundering concerns, but also such diverse issues as allegations of fraud, export compliance / sanctions issues and data protection issues. Recognising that not all such investigations require external lawyers, we have also run training sessions for clients on how they can best approach an internal investigation when an issue arises.
We regularly advise clients in relation to their obligations under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the Money Laundering Regulations, the Bribery Act 2010 and the Modern Slavery Act 2015. We are able to assist in developing, implementing and reviewing compliance programmes for anti-bribery and corruption, anti-money laundering and modern slavery issues.
In relation to the due diligence process in M&A transactions, following a review of a target company’s policies and procedures, we are also able to advise a client of any potential bribery or money laundering risks that should be considered and / or addressed prior to completion.
Acted for the whistleblower in relation to the high-profile Serious Fraud Office prosecution of Tesco.
UK subsidiary of a West African company
Advised a UK subsidiary of a West African company in relation to a dawn raid, following the opening of an investigation by the National Crime Agency in relation to allegations concerning bribery and money laundering.
UK subsidiary of a major foreign bank
Acted for a subsidiary of a major foreign bank which was subject to a review of its financial crime systems and controls by the Financial Conduct Authority.
FTSE 100 company
Advised a FTSE 100 multinational company subject to investigation by the Serious Fraud Office and US criminal authorities in relation to allegations of foreign bribery.
Employee at multi-national bank
Acted for an individual who was compelled to attend an interview at the Financial Conduct Authority following the commencement of an investigation by an Australian regulator into alleged money laundering breaches.
Gibraltar Financial Services Commission
Appointed by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission to undertake a statutory investigation into the collapse of Enterprise Insurance Company plc and the conduct of its directors and auditors.
African mining company
Conducted an internal investigation into allegations of bribery and corruption regarding a mining company in Africa.
Global pharmaceutical company
Conducted an extensive investigation into activities of a global pharmaceutical company, involving the first self-report to its regulator, which resulted in no further action being taken.
Employee at a UK subsidiary of Swiss investment management company
Advised an individual in relation to an internal investigation concerning an allegation of fraud.
Major global anti-corruption NGO
Advised a major global anti-corruption non-governmental agency on the merits of commencing a private prosecution of a UK company for money laundering.
Large manufacturing company
Advised a fund on its potential liabilities arising from an allegation of modern slavery in the manufacture of a major financed asset.