Serious Fraud Defence

BSQ Instructed in SFO Amec Foster Wheeler Bribery Act Investigation

BSQ partner Daniel Godden has been instructed in an ongoing SFO investigation into allegations of bribery and corruption at Amec Foster Wheeler.

BSQ is presently instructed in a number of ongoing criminal investigations and prosecutions conducted by the SFO.

Read more about the case here.

Daniel is recognised as one of the leading criminal practitioners in London and is described by the Legal 500 as a ‘fantastic lawyer’ who is ‘first rate’ with ‘encyclopaedic knowledge’.

If you require advice in a SFO investigation or prosecution please contact our London offices.

BSQ News - Private Prosecution Quashed as Abuse of Process

BSQ partner Daniel Godden has successfully advised a Company Director in a private prosecution alleging serious fraud. Our client CX faced charges of conspiracy to commit fraud in the Crown Court.

The case concerned an allegation that a UK subsidiary company had defrauded it’s European parent supplier. The prosecution was stayed following an application before a Crown Court judge as an abuse of process. Daniel’s client was the only Director of three accused to have the charges against him stayed.   

BSQ is currently instructed in a number of cases where we act for private individuals and companies in defending private prosecutions.

Daniel is recognised as one of the leading criminal practitioners in London. Daniel is described by the Legal 500 as a ‘fantastic lawyer’ who is ‘first rate’ with ‘encyclopaedic knowledge’.

If you require advice and assistance in defending a private prosecution please contact our London offices

Directors Criminal Prosecution Diverted After BSQ Intervention

BSQ Fraud specialists Daniel Godden and Roger Sahota recently advised a company director accused of misappropriating company assets.  

Our client was alerted by a red flag alert from the company’s auditor concerning accounting irregularities.

Fearing that an internal investigation would lead to a criminal and civil complaint from his employers we were instructed to approach his employers.

Following extensive negotiations, the parties agreed to a civil settlement and non-disclosure agreement.

If you require advice and assistance in a financial crime investigation please contact our London offices. 

Roger Sahota Instructed in High Profile Trading Standards Prosecution Following BBC Investigation

Following a lengthy investigation by Birmingham Trading Standards Roger Sahota has been instructed in a multi defendant fraud and regulatory prosecution to act for the lead defendants, a small private company. Charges are brought following coverage that featured in BBC1’s One show. The case is expected to conclude in 2017. 

Counsel instructed is Richard Furlong of Carmelite Chambers.

Berkeley Square Solicitors Instructed In Multi-Million Pound Third-Party Enforcement Receiver Proceedings

Roger Sahota has been instructed in third party enforcement proceedings emanating from one of the largest fraud cases in the country. In recent confiscation proceedings, our client's former partner was made subject to a confiscation order in the sum of £100m (benefit) with an available amount in excess of £5m. We have applied to the court for our client’s third-party interest in property included in the underlying valuation to be recognised. This case raises a novel point concerning the application of the Proceeds of Crime Act enforcement receivership provisions in cases where the legal title of property vests in someone other than the subject of the predicate criminal and confiscation proceedings.

Richard Thomas of Doughty Street Chambers, a recognised expert in enforcement receivership applications has been instructed as Counsel.

If you have a query concerning POCA confiscation or enforcement receivership applications please contact Roger J Sahota.

How Will EU Exit Impact on White Collar Crime Enforcement - Global Investigations Review

Global Investigations Review is a magazine which focuses on white-collar crime. A feature in their October edition concerned the possible impact of the UK exiting the EU on white-collar crime enforcement, legislation and regulation.

"Many UK lawyers believe the effects of an exit would in fact be minimal. Roger Sahota in London is typical.

“While there may be great changes in Britain, the impact on white-collar crime would be negligible,” he said. “The UK has decided to repatriate crime and policing laws from the EU well before any referendum takes place.”

Sahota said the net effect of the UK’s block opt-out is that: “The UK will be largely free to determine, regulate and enforce its own white-collar crime laws, regardless of whether it decides to leave the EU or not.”

Roger Sahota Instructed in One of UKs Largest Mortgage Fraud Investigations

18.04.2014

BSB Fraud Partner Roger Sahota has been instructed in one of the country's largest mortgage fraud investigations. The police claim more than 70 victims were defrauded by a rogue mortgage broker.

Tackling Serious Fraud and White Collar Crime

Roger Sahota writes for Progress Online on 27 June 2012 With the coalition facing growing criticism for it’s failure to get to grips with city crime, Labour’s policy review on Tackling Serious Fraud and White Collar Crime, announced last week, makes welcome reading.

In the past few years the United Kingdom has unfortunately cemented an international reputation as the weakest link in the global fight against corporate crime. This is partly due to the weakness of the Serious Fraud Office as a prosecutor and investigator of fraud but also to the government’s refusal to consider much needed changes to the law on fraud and sentencing policy.

The introduction of Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPA’s) in April of this year has been the coalition’s main anti-fraud initiative. It is hoped that DPA’s will encourage companies to pre-empt a prosecution by self-reporting wrongdoing or bribery before settling a type of plea bargain on agreed terms. This would include signing a statement outlining their conduct, paying a substantial fine, making reparation to victims and implementing compliance procedures.

But many fraud lawyers believe that DPA’s are likely to be a damp squib if introduced in isolation without other reforms. Corporations have little reason to fear weak and poorly resourced prosecution and investigative agencies and so have no incentive to self-report.

Furthermore, the law as it stands makes it difficult to prosecute companies for the illegal acts of their directors, employees or agents. To secure a conviction it is necessary to show that the individuals responsible for commissioning an offence represent the “directing mind or will” of the firm. In a small company this may be easy to establish. Problems arise with large or medium sized ventures where the directors are some distance away from the day to day actions of their employees. Consequently, according to one eminent Law Professor, our current law on corporate liability “works best in cases where it is needed least (i.e. small companies) and works least where it is needed most”.

It is well known that US prosecutors have had far greater success in holding companies to account for fraudulent behaviour than their British counterparts. Experts have long argued that our criminal law on corporate liability, fraud sentencing policy and the culture of our prosecuting authorities all need a US style makeover. Labour’s policy review promises this in three key areas.

First, by advocating a change in the law to introduce a far lower threshold for determining corporate criminal liability. In the US corporations are liable for the actions of their agents that are within the scope of their duties and benefit the company.

Second, by calling for much stiffer financial penalties, based on a percentage of turnover, for firms that engage in fraudulent behaviour and longer prison sentences for fraudsters. The fines imposed by the FSA or FCA and the courts in England are weak by international standards. For example, the Department of Justice extracted a £230m fine from Barclays for it’s role in the LIBOR scandal in comparison to £60m obtained by the FSA. The highest fine imposed in a SFO case is £2.2m compared with a $3 billion fine imposed in the US against GSK.

Third, the review suggests that the SFO would benefit from recruiting more talented young lawyers from private practice to work on specific cases. Young American lawyers fight to join prosecution teams to gain valuable trial experience on flagship cases before embarking on lucrative careers in top law firms.

These changes are urgently needed, as is clear from the reaction to news that the SFO, not the US Department of Justice, will prosecute the first LIBOR case concerning allegations that the interbank lending rate was manipulated. The SFO’s decision is seen by some as good news for the first accused Tom Hayes, a former UBS trader, because he has avoided a prolonged extradition battle to the USA where conviction rates and sentences are much higher. Convictions in the LIBOR case may help repair the SFO and UK’s tattered reputation for fighting fraud to some extent, but the case for serious reform remains compelling.