Unique to the English Commercial Bar members of Chambers are market leaders in corporate and individual commercial crime such as fraud, bribery, money laundering, sanctions abuse and insider trading.
Complementing our strength in Banking & Finance, Civil Fraud and Financial Services we act for banks and other multinationals assisting or implicated in global and domestic criminal investigations, as well as shareholders, directors and other companies and individuals.
Members of Fountain Court have experience in prosecutions brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) stretching back to the landmark fraud trials of the 1980s. Today, we act both for and against the SFO and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Fountain Court has been instructed in every major recent financial corporate crime investigation in the UK and in many matters which cross jurisdictions to the US, EU, Africa, India, Central & East Asia, Switzerland and other countries.
Members of Chambers have acted in several of the most high profile and long-running commercial crime cases in the last few years. These include: the SFO’s probes into Innospec plc, Barclays Bank plc (Qatar), LIBOR, FOREX, ENRC plc, Autonomy Corporation plc, Alstom Power Ltd, James Ibori and Achilleas Kallakis; many of the FCA’s insider trading prosecutions, including the UK’s largest cases, Operation Tabernula and Operation Saturn, the JP Morgan ‘London Whale’ probe; and the health & safety prosecution of Conoco Phillips.
In these cases we specialise in the crossover between criminal, civil and regulatory liabilities and remedies/sanctions which have become such an important feature of modern-day business. As such members of Chambers possess the unique agility to advise and act in Commercial Court and Chancery Division proceedings, Crown Court jury trials and/or regulatory and professional disciplinary proceedings as and when these cases require it.
The uncertainty, complexity, longevity and cost of these cases typically requires members of Chambers to be instructed, both at Silk and Junior levels, as soon as an issue arises to advise Boards and senior management and Compliance officers on the delicate balance between the competing commercial, corporate governance and regulatory interests in play and the appropriate strategic response. Members of Chambers are also instructed to: actively guide and monitor the progress of any internal and external investigation; review, manage and draft any responses to investigation reports; and to draft and present a variety of Board reports to ensure the Board and its directors understand and discharge their duties properly.
Commercial crime also raises important issues of compensation, confiscation and directors’ disqualification. Fountain Court has considerable expertise in these areas as well as suspicious activity reports (SARs), suspicious transaction reports (STRs), and in outward and inward requests for international mutual legal assistance (MLA) between different States.
Like our Civil Fraud work the very serious nature of the allegations made in these cases means that much of the work in this field is advisory, with many contentious matters remaining out of the public domain.