Francesca represents companies and individuals in complex, high value, multi-jurisdictional white collar crime litigation. An experienced barrister, she has defended clients in over one hundred jury trials, and appeared as advocate in the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division). Francesca advises business leaders at times of crisis when they are caught up in high profile investigations or prosecutions conducted by the Serious Fraud Office, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the Financial Conduct Authority, the National Crime Agency or the Crown Prosecution Service.
Her practice encompasses the full range of economic crime including bribery and corruption, money laundering, fraud, tax evasion, misconduct in public office and insider dealing. She advises on linked areas including private prosecutions, extradition, mutual legal assistance, and Proceeds of Crime Act powers including restraint and confiscation.
A focus of Francesca’s practice is internal investigations for client organizations ranging from sports governing bodies and large pharmaceutical companies to banks. She often works across borders, leading teams from across the globe to ensure a cogent worldwide strategy, local law compliance and reliable evidence gathering.
“Francesca brings years of independent practice as a barrister to offer unique advantage for those wishing to avoid litigation. She is brilliantly clever and a delight to work with.” – Legal 500, 2019
- Successfully represented CEO and founder of a tech company alleged to have won a £24 million contract as a result of bribery. Joint HMRC and City of London Police enquiry resulted in allegations against two men of Bribery Act 2010 offences and tax fraud. After two trials Francesca’s client was acquitted of all charges. The separately represented co-defendant was convicted of all charges he faced.
- Represents a businessman charged with multiple counts of insider dealing in a prosecution brought by the Financial Conduct Authority.
- Represented senior government officials at the request of the Ministry of Justice in a Serious Fraud Office investigation into fraudulent activity in the operation of supplier contracts.
- Acted for a businessman involved in a conspiracy to defraud valued in excess of £1 billion. Relevant jurisdictions Britain, Russian Federation, Republic of Cyprus. Issues included civil and criminal law cross over and private prosecution.
- Counsel on multi-jurisdictional internal investigation for global sporting body.
- Instructed by one of the world’s largest banks to represent key staff during a money laundering investigation being conducted by the Serious Fraud Office. Relevant jurisdictions Ukraine, Britain, US and Switzerland.
- Defended a British client arrested in the US following a request by European authorities investigation a 700 million Euro tax fraud. Coordinated global team working in London, US, Germany and United Arab Emirates.
- Represented company registered on London Stock Exchange in relation to suspected fraud linked to wholesale gas trading and electricity markets. Alleged criminal conduct took place in France, Italy and Britain.
- Advisor to a significant shareholder of an AIM listed business, which was subject to investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies at once, including the Serious Fraud Office, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the Financial Conduct Authority, for multimillion pound fraud.
- Acted for a European Bank in relation to a Board level fraud.
- Defended Director of a company in long running multimillion pound tax evasion prosecution.
- Advising a ‘dot com millionaire’ wanted for extradition from the US to a European jurisdiction.
- Defended CEO of a company accused of market abuse and insider dealing.
- Advised a multinational pharmaceutical company who suspected an employee led fraud against customers. Relevant jurisdictions India and Britain.
- Advised a travel company in a long running fraud undertaken by the Finance Director.
- Instructed by a businessman residing in Dubai in relation to five separate tax evasion conspiracies alleged to have been conducted in England with a value in excess of £100 million.
- Anti-Bribery & Anti-Corruption (FCPA)
- Campaign Finance Investigations and Enforcement
- Data Privacy & Security
- Digital Health, Technology and Innovation
- Government Investigations & White Collar Litigation
- International Investigations & Enforcement
- Law Enforcement Policy and Practice Reviews
- Strategic Risk & Crisis Management
- Barrister England and Wales
Named to “POWER PLAYERS: Investigations & White-Collar Crime – Distinguished Advisers,” Financier Worldwide, 2021
Blackstone Entrance Exhibitioner, 2002
Harmsworth Scholar, 2002
- Author, Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act Becomes Law: What Companies Need to Know, McGuireWoods Legal Alert, October 26, 2023
- Quoted, "Warning sines: how to detect and prevent triangulation fraud", Raconteur, March 30, 2023
- Co-author, "Privatising the criminal justice system", Solicitors Journal, March 14, 2023
- Quoted, "Why 2023 Could Prove to Be a Pivotal Year for Anti-Fraud Regulation", The Times Raconteur, March 2, 2023
- Author, New Revelations in Ukraine Lead to Tightening Global Sanctions, Subject to Inquiry, April 8, 2022
- Author, "Is it curtains for the Serious Fraud Office?", Financier Worldwide, April 2022
- Author, DOJ Declines to Prosecute UK Company After Cross-Border Bribery Investigation, Subject to Inquiry, March 31, 2022
- Author, "Can the SFO survive?", The Times, February 17, 2022
- Author, Cybersecurity and Data Privacy – What to expect in 2022, Password Protected, February 2, 2022
- Contributor, Part 1: Cybersecurity, Global Investigations Review's The Practitioner’s Guide to Global Investigations: Sixth Edition, 2022
- Quoted, "SFO integrity questioned after Unaoil conviction overturned", Compliance Week, December 13, 2021
- Author, Perils of Global Expansion: Ad Agency Fined $19 Million for FCPA Violations, Insufficient Controls, Subject to Inquiry, October 25, 2021
- Quoted, "10 years of U.K. Bribery Act: Compliance enough to define law’s success?", Compliance Week, July 14, 2021
- Co-author, "What Lies Ahead? Energy and Climate Change", Meet McGuireWoods London, June 30, 2021
- Author, Taxpayer Protection Taskforce Aims to Recover £1 Billion From Businesses, Subject to Inquiry, June 22, 2021
- Co-author, "What Lies Ahead? Government Investigations", Meet McGuireWoods London, June 9, 2021
- Author, "Securing corporate convictions: differences between the US and UK", Financier Worldwide Magazine, April 2021
- Contributor, Chapter 41: Cybersecurity, Global Investigations Review's The Practitioner’s Guide to Global Investigations: Fifth Edition, 2021
- Author, UK Extends Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Until End of September 2021, McGuireWoods Legal Alert, March 4, 2021
- Author, Budget Launches Taskforce to Uncover Exploitation of UK COVID-19 Financial Rescue Schemes, Subject to Inquiry, March 3, 2021
- Author, "Corporate internal investigations – what you need to know if your business is international", Financier Worldwide Magazine, March 2021
- Quoted, U.K.’s SFO slapped down over attempts to flout jurisdiction rules, Compliance Week, February 8, 2021
- Author, With Fraud Against UK Businesses at Epidemic Levels, Businesses Need to Know How to Protect Themselves, Subject to Inquiry, February 5, 2021
- Quoted, "Europe handcuffed by current corporate liability laws; is change coming?", Compliance Week, February 4, 2021
- Author, "Crime fighting across borders: what every corporation needs to know", Financier Worldwide Magazine, February 2021
- Author, The Brexit Deal; UK Crime Fighting With European Friends, Subject to Inquiry, January 28, 2021
- Author, FCA Bans Three People From Working Financial Services Industry, McGuireWoods Legal Alert, November 12, 2020
- Quoted, Two Former Unaoil Managers Convicted on U.K. Bribery Charges, The Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2020
- Quoted, Serious Fraud Office under fire over big investigation failures and lack of convictions, The Times, July 9, 2020
- Quoted, U.K. Serious Fraud Office Looks for Ways to Improve Handling of Cases, The Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2020
- Author, UK’s Regulator of Banks and Financial Services Releases Its Business Plan for 2020/2021, McGuireWoods Legal Alert, April 30, 2020
- Author, "Dark Arts: How tighter AML legislation will affect the art world", November 2019
- Quoted, "Can cannabis investments land you in prison?", July 24, 2019
- Quoted, "Serious Fraud Office drops Rolls-Royce corruption probe", BM Magazine, February 24, 2019
- Author, "NCA sees off challenge to its first UWO", October 8, 2018
- Author, "Corporate Crime Analysis: recent trends in the criminal enforcement of tax crime and the challenges faced in prosecuting such cases", Lexis Nexis, September 20, 2017
- Author, "New Criminal Law Affecting Businesses", May 2, 2017
- Author, "Corporate Liability for Economic Crime", March 14, 2017
- Inns of Court Law SchoolBVC2003
Sub-committee Member, Female Fraud Forum
Committee Member, Private Prosecutors’ Association
Member, The Honourable Society of Middle Temple
Member, Criminal Bar Association
Member, Fraud Lawyers’ Association
- Speaker, "Brexit and Mutual Legal Assistance", European International Criminal Law Day in Germany, March 25, 2021
- Speaker, "The Impact of Brexit on Criminal Investigations", The Female Fraud Forum, March 16, 2021
- Speaker, AML 5D, July 2019