Financial Crime

Working with Bright Line Law that has insight

At Bright Line Law the focus is on financial crime. Broadly, the term denotes the generation and misuse of money or other property in connection with alleged criminal conduct. Bright Line Law specialises in advising and representing individuals, corporates and public organisations of all sizes dealing with matters such as fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, bribery and corruption, breach of economic sanctions, market abuse and the implications of proceeds of crime legislation.

The last decade in the UK has seen heightened scrutiny of alleged financial wrongdoing which has led to change in the law and the approach to investigation. A suite of new criminal offences has been introduced spanning from new bribery offences to new corporate ‘failure to prevent’ criminal provisions. Additionally, there is heightened scrutiny of money laundering in the political and public sphere. The dialogue has shifted to include an awareness of the vulnerabilities of professionals, such as lawyers, accountants, estate agents and dealers in high value goods, to money laundering. In the world of corporate investigation, a ‘self-reporting’ route has opened up and the decision to do so requires careful judgment. A raft of ancillary measures can also be deployed at any stage of a criminal investigation, including pre-investigation. These include property freezes, search warrants, requests for interview and service of orders mandating the provision of information on third parties.

The cases dealt with at Bright Line Law may be brought by the National Crime Agency (NCA), Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) or private prosecutors. The work also has an international dimension and Bright Line Law has advised and represented individuals in dealings with the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

Pre-charge or where robust civil proceeds of crime powers, such as account or cash freezing, are used to combat what is, in essence, an underlying criminal allegation, Bright Line Law is well placed to deal with the full range of police forces including City of London Police and Metropolitan Police.

In select cases, Bright Line Law has also worked with specialist law firms in other jurisdictions with responsibility for cases in which an issue of English criminal law arises or where valuable assistance can be drawn from understanding the position under money laundering, bribery or fraud laws in force in England & Wales.

Bright Line Law prides itself on a deep understanding of the criminal process whether that is at the stage of an internal investigation into possible criminal conduct, decision to self-report, receipt of an order to provide information, first engagement with the authorities or criminal charge. Bright Line Law appreciates the profound impact that involvement in criminal proceedings can have on a company, individual and those around them whether they are employees, potential business partners, investors, or family members. In certain cases, Bright Line Law is particularly mindful of the impact on corporate reputation and public perception. Bright Line Law has contacts with those expert in the area of corporate reputation and can help to manage the wider implications of involvement in criminal proceedings.

Working with Bright Line Law
Bright Line Law specialises in financial crime disputes and regularly provides advice and representation to individuals, SMEs and large corporate clients. Use of strategy, subject knowledge and advocacy has earned Jonathan Fisher QC at Bright Line Law a reputation for expertise in his areas of practice. The difficulty in understanding exactly how the law translates into daily activities is appreciated, and what behaviour will or will not attract the attention of the authorities. Bright Line Law can work with clients to deliver a tailored service, using financial crime expertise in the most effective way. Bright Line Law is conscious of the seriousness of allegations of financial crime and considers the repercussions throughout its work.

Bright Line Law can be instructed directly by a client of any size or by a law firm at any stage of the process. Without exception, the approach is always to talk to clients and understand their concerns and objectives. Careful written advice is provided at the beginning, which will always include an assessment of the evidence gathered to date in support of a financial crime allegation or an analysis of the suspicions articulated by the authorities and identified inconsistencies or weaknesses. Bright Line Law draws on its experience of dealing with investigators and prosecutors and looks at matters in the round so that at the very beginning clients know what the inconsistencies, strengths and weaknesses of the investigation or case is. If the case proceeds, Bright Line Law anticipates the road ahead and advises carefully along the way.

At all times, clients are helped to understand what their options are and the implications of each. Bright Line Law believes that this is a vital component of any successful strategy to be deployed in criminal proceedings if they have commenced or designed to robustly address matters before they develop further into a criminal charge. Bright Line Law assists clients to make the decision that is right for them and in their best interests. Every step of the way, Bright Line Law relies on its extensive experience and careful preparation to navigate the process, anticipate the next steps and handle all dealings with the authorities. This includes where the authorities have requested that an individual participate in an interview. Bright Line Law is able to advise and represent clients in all manner of interviews including at police station interviews if the need arises.

Regulatory investigations
Bright Line Law can advise upon all stages of a regulatory investigation and can liaise with financial regulators on your behalf. Of particular concern to many regulators are instances of insider dealing in financial services, the making of misleading statements or employing the use of promotions of illegal financial products. Such behaviour can attract demands for disclosure of documentation and result in criminal proceedings.

Bright Line Law is instructed by both corporate and individual clients to manage their dealings with regulators, including demands for information and the sensitive handling of responses to allegations following a regulatory investigation.

Market abuse
The integrity of the financial system is of immense importance to the UK economy. Suspected instances of attempts to undermine the strength of financial markets or to exploit weaknesses for profit are taken seriously. Such acts could result in substantial fines being issued to commercial actors or custodial sentences accompanied by an unlimited fine for individuals.

Jonathan Fisher QC can advise both corporate and individual clients that are facing allegations of financial markets abuse. He is able to conduct an exacting review of the evidence against clients and challenge the basis for allegations being made. Jonathan Fisher QC also explores opportunities to minimise the potential sanction that could be issued against clients and will liaise with interested parties while keeping clients fully appraised of the options available to them.

If you have questions about how financial laws operate in the commercial context, or are in need of specialist advice or representation, please contact Jonathan Fisher QC at Bright Line Law by telephone on +44 (0)20 3709 9470.Email
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