Dealing with the discovery of fraud or malpractice within your organisation is very often a stressful and difficult experience.
We understand that business life is never straightforward and things can and do go wrong. If they do, you will be reassured to have the support and guidance of a team of well-respected and experienced lawyers (with both civil and where needed criminal expertise) to guide you through the maze of regulation and potential liabilities which often cross the boundaries of civil, criminal and regulatory law.
Prevention is better than cure
With high profile corporate scandals being reported on an almost daily basis it will come as no surprise that Corporate Governance is high on the political agenda. High profile legislation including the Bribery Act 2010 and Criminal Finance Act 2017 requires businesses to take positive steps to implement procedures designed to prevent malpractice. Equally, in an age where corporate reputation is paramount, ensuring appropriate ethical and moral behaviours are upheld is critical.
We can assist you to:
- Develop counter fraud policies and a fraud response plan;
- Develop management capability to minimise exposure to crime and malpractice;
- Develop and implement whistleblowing procedures;
- Develop and implement evidence preservation and recovery programmes
Whether it be fraud or other incidences of behaviours falling below expected standards, our investigations team act quickly to understand your objectives and concerns, preserve and retrieve evidence (including electronically stored data which may have been 'deleted') and protect assets as well as navigating employment, human rights and data protection legislation. Early discussions regarding legal professional privilege (a legal form of protected confidentiality) are critical to the conduct of such investigations.
We can help you with:
Undertaking an internal investigation with the benefit of legal professional privilege;
Understanding whether there has been fraud or other form of malpractice;
Effectively managing evidence in anticipation of any potential criminal and/or civil proceedings;
Liaising with law enforcement where necessary
Recovering the lost proceeds of fraud
Whilst any litigation is an unwelcome distraction, dealing with the consequences of fraud in particular can be particularly challenging and unwanted.
Our fraud specialists have extensive experience of obtaining freezing orders in order to protect assets, search and seizure orders and document preservation orders in order to secure evidence. Members of our team have also acted as court appointed supervising solicitors overseeing the implementation of search orders by other solicitors and reporting to the courts on the execution of such orders in compliance with the court rules. Key to these types of actions is the need to take swift action to ensure where possible any assets that have been taken are secured and preserved pending the investigation and claim.
Cases our lawyers have worked on include:
- Obtaining freezing and document preservation orders for a UK plc that had been the victim of a complex fraud conspiracy spanning a number of years and involving multiple defendants. A financial recovery in excess of £1.2m was achieved
- Obtaining and executing a search and seizure order against a corporate dealer and its officers following theft of business critical assets. Recovery of the assets was achieved, together with a favourable costs award
- Obtaining an emergency injunction requiring the delivery up and disclosure of documents and information relating to the misuse of company property. Following collection of the evidence, judgment was obtained in respect of an interference with goods claim together with a substantial costs recovery.
- Conducting an internal investigation on behalf of a US client following a whistleblower event concerning both potential regulatory mis-declarations as well as a corporate culture of fear/bullying within its UK subsidiary company. No regulatory disclosures proved necessary but the investigation did lead to the removal of the UK Managing Director.
- Settling on extremely favourable and confidential terms claims against a corporate client and its officers (which would have carried personal liability) for alleged fraudulent misrepresentation.
- Internal investigation and advice to an in house legal team in respect of financial crime irregularities following a whistle blower event. Anti-bribery and Anti-money laundering advice provided. Investigation involved computer forensics, advising in respect of investigation strategies including evidence gathering and the approach to witnesses.
- Advising a charitable organisation in respect of an internal investigation along with associated regulatory obligations including anti-money laundering following the misappropriation of funds.
- Advisory work on behalf of a Local Authority following discovery of a multi-million pound fraud. Referral to authorities resulting in the successful prosecution by the SFO.
- Acting for the former Group Treasury and Risk Director of a sub-prime lender in a shareholder class action brought against him and former directors alleging breaches of S.90 Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 regarding a £200m Rights Issue.
Civil fraud & internal investigations is part of Shoosmiths’ wider litigation offering. If you would like help finding the right team or lawyer please contact us on +44 (0)3700 863 000 or contact us by email to [email protected].