The McGuireWoods London Government, Regulatory and Criminal Investigations
Department (GRCI) is led by two partners, Vivian Robinson QC and David Kirk,
both senior fraud practitioners who have worked extensively in the fraud field,
as both prosecutors and defenders, for the last 30 years. They bring a wide
range of experience with fraud, regulation and compliance issues to
McGuireWoods’ international practice. Our team advises clients on economic crime, bribery, anti-money
laundering and civil fraud.
Economic crime encompasses a wide range of fraudulent activity, and our team
has extensive experience advising both the victims and the alleged perpetrators
of such activity.
There is much current focus on bribery and money laundering, but the problems
of fraudulent activity remain very broadly based, from external cyber threats
and IT intrusion to employee theft; from investment fraud, Ponzi schemes,
pension release and boiler rooms to identity theft; from benchmark, rate fixing
cases – Libor, Forex – to misleading statements; and from price-fixing cartels
to fraudulent misrepresentations.
The fallout from the global financial crisis continues to exercise law
enforcement, reacting to a widespread popular concern that no individuals in the
financial sector have been brought to book in the criminal courts, on either
side of the Atlantic, for causing global meltdown. While it is unlikely that new
criminal action will commence in relation to the events of 2008, the crisis has
prompted a review of the criminal sanctions available for dealing with reckless
conduct that leads to serious detriment, and it can be anticipated that there
will be greater scrutiny of boardroom decision-making, and demands for greater
transparency and accountability of senior executives. We help our clients comply
with all regulations regarding economic crime and anticipate any issues that may
affect their businesses.
The UK recently launched a new Bribery Act in response to heavy criticism at
home and abroad for its dated approach to global anticorruption. Prosecutions
for violations are imminent, and many global companies may very well be at risk.
Our London-based anticorruption team regularly works alongside our U.S. GRCI
partners to advise on all aspects of the Bribery Act and FCPA investigations,
from fully contesting the allegations, to negotiating a global settlement that
does not involve a criminal trial in any country.
Having closely monitored the Bribery Act since its inception, the team has
supported a series of seminars, webinars and client presentations focusing on
the Bribery Act, as well as providing an ongoing, widely read blog –
briberylibrary.com. This has now been renamed
to reflect the firm’s broad offering in criminal and civil fraud services,
generally including the UK Bribery Act, U.S. FCPA, anti-money laundering, market
abuse, economic crime, contentious financial regulation and international
Anti-Money Laundering (AML)
AML has been a priority for EU and U.S. governments and law enforcement since
at least the early 1990s. Keeping up with the regulations is a relentless task
for firms, and one which poses persistent problems for all who have to absorb
The FCA has signalled that it does not regard AML compliance as satisfactory,
and it may be anticipated that there will be investigations into financial
sector businesses, by way of thematic reviews and in response to specific
complaints. Criminal action may be taken against firms and their senior officers
for failing to have proper systems in place, and regulatory sanctions have
already been imposed for systems and controls failures. Other law enforcement
authorities and regulators in the UK and in other jurisdictions are taking
assertive action to remedy money laundering failings. We work with our clients
to comply with such AML regulations.
The increased use of sanctions as a political weapon against countries and
individuals has led to further enforcement activity and investigation, alongside
additional scrutiny of the financial transactions of Politically Exposed Persons
(PEPs), which compounds the risks banks face in dealing with their customers.
Our fraud team has more than 25 years’ experience in civil fraud recovery
actions, including international asset searches, worldwide freezing orders,
evidence search orders and pre-action disclosure orders. We frequently work with
several foreign jurisdictions in order to obtain local freezing and attachment
of asset orders to ensure that stolen assets cannot be further dissipated.
Working with forensic accountants and international investigation firms, we
endeavour to lift the veil on sham transactions, as well as attack complex
fraudulent international corporate and trust structures, which often are used to
shelter stolen assets and to hide the true identity of the perpetrators. These
civil legal proceedings frequently are pursued alongside, or in conjunction
with, criminal investigations in one or more countries. We have both contacts
and experience in cooperating with government investigators and prosecutors
around the world. Clients benefit from the coordination of our civil, criminal
and regulatory lawyers’ fraud experience, which combine to ensure that all legal
strategies are pursued in order to ensure maximum financial recoveries for our