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Investigations

Investigations - Our integrated service offering

With businesses under ever-increasing pressure from regulators, law enforcement agencies, politicians, and mainstream and social media, managing risk is a top priority for many of our clients. Yet under the spotlight of this heightened scrutiny, executives within those businesses may be concerned that the vast range of potential risks and liabilities they face are too numerous to keep abreast of - without appropriate advice and support.

We have brought together an international multidisciplinary team of specialists who are experts in dealing with all types of investigations and regulatory issues. We understand the regulatory, criminal, civil, and reputational risks that our clients can face as a result of misconduct and failures in supervision, surveillance and oversight. A prompt and thorough internal investigation can help alleviate these risks before they magnify.

Through our international office network in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Hong Kong, our team has handled some of the world’s largest investigations and is able to draw upon specialists to investigate potential wrongdoing in multiple jurisdictions, as well as any fallout in the mainstream media outlets and social media space.

We provide a coordinated and integrated service to our clients, including objective and strategic advice on compliance with relevant laws, regulations, internal policies and whistleblowing procedures in the jurisdictions within which they operate. We also act for individuals implicated in regulatory and criminal investigations where they require independent advice. Whether you have already been contacted by a regulator or law enforcement agency and require urgent focussed advice, or if you need strategic guidance on how to manage and mitigate your risks, our team is well placed to assist.

Fraud & Asset Tracing

Our work spans across the full range of fraud work: from investigating large scale, complex and high-value corporate frauds covering multiple jurisdictions to identifying whether private individuals have been the subject of a spectrum of dishonest actions.

We have considerable experience in obtaining (and resisting) the types of emergency relief that fraud inevitably involves, including freezing orders, injunctions and search orders. The team has a proven track record in carrying out asset tracing and recovery, particularly in the context of complex global financial structures and trust arrangements, often working alongside other forensic investigatory and IT experts.

Our fraud and asset recovery team has extensive experience in handling fraud investigations. We conduct and advise on internal investigations whether or not regulators or criminal investigative authorities have indicated their interest. The team also deal with any resulting civil claims and liaise where appropriate, with criminal investigating authorities around the world.

We advise on internal risk management issues, in particular on policies and procedures aimed at mitigating the risk of fraud and other financial crimes.

>  For more information, please contact Stewart Hey

Bribery, Corruption & Money Laundering

We have a strong track record of conducting and advising on major, high-profile bribery and corruption investigations, both before and after notification by a regulator or prosecuting authority. We also deal with any resulting civil claims and regulatory exposure.

Our work spans the full range of anti-bribery and antimoney laundering work: from assisting companies with large scale internal investigations spanning the globe to advising and representing individuals implicated in serious allegations of corruption. The team has particular experience of representing current and former officers/employees of a company under investigation in relation to anti-bribery matters where there is a need to engage constructively with the company in question.

We also advise on internal risk management issues, in particular on policies and procedures designed to mitigate the risk of bribery, money laundering, other financial crimes and regulatory exposure.

For more information, please contact Rhys Novak

Insolvency & Business Distress

Our Corporate Recovery and Insolvency team specialises in investigations in the context of a company at risk of insolvency or having entered formal insolvency procedures. We focus on investigations which often lead to complex domestic and cross-border litigation involving antecedent transactions, fraudulent trading and asset tracing.

We have considerable experience in obtaining (and resisting) the types of emergency relief that businesses in trouble often require (or face) - including provisional liquidations, freezing orders, injunctions and search orders. The team acts for a range of stakeholders, including insolvency practitioners, secured and unsecured creditors, companies, directors, shareholders and investors.

> For more information, please contact James Hyne or Jason Freedman

Competition & Antitrust

Our competition team assists clients that are subject to investigation by competition regulators in the UK, the EU and other jurisdictions. We are experienced in the full range of competition law investigations including:

  • Cartel investigations
  • Investigations into other alleged anti-competitive agreements
  • Investigations into alleged abuse of dominance
  • Market investigations
  • Merger investigations.

Our experience ranges from advising large corporates to individual directors. We assist with preparing submissions, providing on site support at dawn raids, attendance at interviews or hearings and responding to requests for information.

Where a competition authority concludes its investigation with a finding that there has been a breach of the competition rules, we are experienced in advising on appeals to the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal and other relevant courts.

> For more information, please contact Paul Stone or Paul Henty

Arts & Heritage Assets

Our pre-eminent art and luxury asset practice has unrivalled experience in cases and investigations across this field. As greater focus is brought to bear on what is said to be the last unregulated market, our highly specialist expertise is increasingly called upon. 

We offer advice to all participants in this market whether they are artists, dealers/auctioneers, collectors, banks/family offices/trustees or museums. The issues encountered which require investigation encompass the following; authenticity, due diligence, provenance, looted works, claims by sovereign states, fakes/forgeries and financial misconduct.

> For more information, please contact Rudy Capildeo or Tim Maxwell

Trusts & Estates

With increasingly volatile markets, the financial performance of trust, pension or estate assets has in many cases called into question the actions and shortcomings of trustees, executors and administrators. Our market leading international trusts and estates disputes team has a long and distinguished track record in a broad range of investigations across this field. We are frequently called upon to carry out and coordinate worldwide investigations into the conduct of trustees, executors, administrators, their agents and the assets themselves.

Whether acting for incoming trustees scrutinising the actions and decisions of their predecessors or for beneficiaries with concerns as to the conduct of current executors, administrators or trustees, our team is equipped with unrivalled experience to advise on a wide variety of complex issues. Our experience has included calling for an account of trust, pension or estate assets and, in many cases, for the removal of trustees or executors to enable a posthumous investigation into their actions. This includes the actions and conduct of corporate and pension trustees.

The location of trust, pension or estate assets means that our investigations regularly span numerous jurisdictions. Our global reputation and close ties with leading law firms all over the world, particularly in the leading trust jurisdictions, allows us to conduct worldwide investigations effectively, quickly and with the minimum of fuss.

> For more information, please contact Graeme Kleiner or Duncan Elson

Public Inquiries & Inquests

Our experienced cross-practice and cross-sector team represents clients involved in both public inquiries (a body established to identify and/or attribute blame) and inquests (a body established to determine cause). We have been involved in some of the largest and most high profile cases in the last decade, including both the Leveson and Hillsborough inquiries.

The nature of these types of investigations can be very intrusive and can leave clients vulnerable to public scrutiny. We are well-versed in advising and supporting our clients in these difficult circumstances.

> For more information, please contact Duncan Lamont or Noel Wardle

Regulatory Crime

Our regulatory crime team is experienced in dealing with a world of ever-increasing regulation, where businesses and individuals often find themselves subject to investigations and criminal proceedings brought by a variety of regulators.

We offer advice to implicated businesses and individuals as an investigation unfolds, including attending formal interviews such as those conducted under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act. We also provide strategic advice as the investigation progresses. Early input from us is crucial to improving the chances of a positive outcome.

We can help businesses and individuals under investigation, or being prosecuted, by many regulators including the following:

  • Health and Safety Executive
  • Environment Agency
  • Trading Standards
  • Local Authority
  • Police
  • Fire Service Authorities

> For more information, please contact Rachel Warren or Noel Wardle

Tax

Our team has a strong track record of advising on HMRC investigations across the full range of UK taxes: income tax, CGT, inheritance tax, SDLT, corporation tax and VAT. We act for a wide range of clients, from individuals, family businesses and trustees, through to entrepreneurs and corporates, both small and large.

Our work spans the full range of tax investigations work. We are skilled in advising and representing our clients in HMRC investigations, advising on the scope of HMRC powers, and conducting internal investigations into tax matters. We also deal with related litigation, including litigation in the tax tribunals and higher courts, negligence claims against former tax advisers and other court claims, both in the UK and offshore jurisdictions for mistake as well as rectification.

We also provide preventative advice, assessing tax risks in relation to existing or proposed arrangements and giving guidance. We advise our corporate clients on policies and procedures designed to reduce tax risk, in areas such as the off-payroll working rules (IR35) and the corporate criminal offence of failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion in the Criminal Finances Act 2017.

> For more information, please contact Hugh Gunson

Financial Services

Our Financial Services regulatory team provide high quality practical advice on the full range of financial services and regulatory issues facing all types of clients including banks, investment firms, payment institutions, trading platforms, brokers, market makers and individuals.

The team assists clients with investigations and enforcement action relating to breaches of regulatory permissions, market abuse, mis-selling claims, professional misconduct, exchange violations and other breaches of financial services laws and regulations.

We work with our clients from the moment they first suspect, or are notified of a regulatory breach. We help them to carry out internal investigations, mitigate the effects of the breach and prepare relevant notifications to the FCA, the PRA, the exchange, law enforcement agencies (where relevant) and underlying clients. We also have extensive experience in supporting clients during FCA and law enforcement visits and investigations.

> For more information, please contact Kate Troup or William Garner

Employment

Our dedicated Employment team has considerable experience of dealing with employment-related investigations on behalf of companies, partnerships and individuals.

These investigations are invariably factually complex and involve deeply troubling, confidential issues with the attendant risk of significant reputational damage, so they need to be dealt with quickly and with real sensitivity. The subject matter may include serious sexual misconduct (often of a criminal nature), theft, fraud, equal pay issues, gender inequality, various forms of discrimination, making protected disclosures (whistleblowing), disclosures of trade secrets and other breaches of confidentiality and conflicts of interest. The investigations are usually carried out in the context of a workplace disciplinary and/or grievance process. We consider substantial numbers of documents, interview witnesses, prepare detailed statements and produce a comprehensive report with findings and recommendations (including as to any disciplinary action). We also advise on appropriate procedures and policies and, where necessary, notifications to regulatory bodies and enforcement authorities.

We know how these issues can debilitate a business, absorb huge amounts of management time and damage careers. We take a thoughtful, pragmatic, and commercial approach to resolve them with the minimum delay, providing supportive but clear advice, particularly where legal or regulatory requirements are non negotiable. We work with clients to achieve the best outcome and enable their businesses to move on.

We have devised a bespoke service known as R4 (Review, Report, Resolve, Respect) which combines specialist legal and non-legal support and advice for professional businesses and individuals which find themselves in situations involving allegations of sexual misconduct. Drawing together expertise from across the firm, our legal support includes experts in employment law; reputation management and disciplinary investigations and proceedings brought by professional regulators. We have teamed up with Bell Yard Communications (public relations specialists) and HelloSelf (expert clinical therapists) to provide non-legal support and assistance. R4 can also provide advice on procedures and training which businesses can put in place in order to help prevent issues arising.

> For more information, please contact Trevor Bettany or Nicky Hurley (in relation to R4)

Sport

We are a leading sports regulatory and litigation team, with a strong track record of conducting and advising sports entities, both at national and international level, on major high-profile sports investigations. 

Our relationships with our clients go beyond just legal. We advise on the strategic and tactical approach of carrying out or responding to an investigation, in addition to its legal aspects. Our team has extensive in-house experience working in national and international sports bodies, meaning that we are able to provide tailored and commercially viable advice across the sports sector.

Given the wide-ranging nature of the sports sector, the investigations that we have conducted have involved concerns over bribery, fraud, corruption, conspiracy, match-fixing, governance, safeguarding, discrimination and anti-doping. We work closely with other teams to ensure that all bases are covered in any investigation, from employment considerations to reputation management.

We also advise on internal risk management and prevention, in particular on policies, procedures and regulatory frameworks designed to mitigate the risk of exposure for our clients.

> For more information, please contact Danielle Sharkey or Edward Craig

Data Protection & Privacy

Our data protection and privacy team has a strong track record of providing an integrated data breach response service and experience of assisting with investigations across the full spectrum of information law. Helping our clients to undertake internal investigations and helping them to respond to regulatory and other third party investigations is a key part of our service. 

Anchored in London and led by our specialist contentious and non-contentious data protection lawyers but supported by a team from across our international offices, we are able to offer a service that will seamlessly integrate into (or, if required, lead) a client’s internal incident response team. In addition we are well placed to take urgent action to assist with any investigatory or otherwise contentious information law matters.

> For more information, please contact Claire Greaney or Jonathan McDonald

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