Safeguarding your interests is our priority at MLR. Businesses and key individuals are increasingly subject to regulations that carry the threat of criminal sanction and our Regulatory & Crime team has developed in response to the need to protect our clients who find themselves both personally and as an organisation facing this very real threat.
The reality is that for business especially SME’s, there is an impossible amount of regulation to be familiar with that can affect their day to day operation and owners and managers can have little or no idea of what’s out there in the black hole of domestic and European regulation.
Director, Andrew Manners leads this team and has over 20 years’ experience of serious and complex crime including Corporate Manslaughter Act investigations, tax fraud and other serious financial crime cases including SFO investigations and asset restraint and confiscation cases.
In a sustained period of state retrenchment due to cost-cutting, even substantial frauds which are reported are not being investigated by the state agencies such as the Police and SFO. Private prosecutions especially by Companies following suspected serious and sustained fraud by former officers and employees can provide an effective, alternative process by which to secure justice and redress.
Reputation can be protected; the victim of the crime has control of the process and at the end of a case, subject to the case having been conducted properly, the private prosecutor will not have to pay a defendant’s legal costs regardless of outcome. Moreover, the private prosecutor can apply for its own costs (or part of them) even if the defendant is acquitted. Compensation orders following a conviction can be ordered in the same way as in state prosecutions.
It is of critical importance however, that such prosecutions are managed and conducted properly, especially issues such as Disclosure. The court must have confidence in the propriety of the prosecution. Private prosecutor’s will face multiple legal and other challenges such as invitations to the DPP to intervene to discontinue the prosecution and applications to the court to dismiss charges and/or terminate the prosecution.
Only by doing this work and having the experience and resources to properly manage such cases, will a lawyer be able to conduct them properly and navigate around the many traps. The MLR team representing a private prosecutor has secured in May 2018, what is thought to be one of the very few privately prosecuted frauds in England & Wales to have resulted in a conviction.
Prevention & Deterrence
We can work with our clients proactively, assisting with compliance and due diligence, reviewing their policies and procedures. We undertake fraud prevention audits and can advise on internal controls and processes.
In commercial frauds, we work as a multi-disciplinary team undertaking investigations and advising in respect of available remedies including private prosecutions. We work seamlessly with our specialist commercial litigation team led by Jason Williams who will then deal with emergency asset restraint and civil recoveries.
If properly managed, there can be concurrent civil and criminal proceedings.
Case Work Examples:
- Care Standards: Joint Police/CIW investigation into the deaths of two residents and neglect of care of multiple residents at a Welsh Care Home; Joint Police/Ofsted investigation into nursery settings in the North of England involving unexplained fractures to children.
- Private Prosecutions: Both prosecuting and defending. Cases include: prosecuting a serious multi-£M alleged fraud by former Directors of a pan-European group of Companies; defending (and getting dismissed) a Barrister facing a PP by a former client; defending (and getting dismissed) a large-scale computer hacking conspiracy. Pending PP’s include a Perjury/Perverting the Course of Justice and a serious Fraud following a High court finding of fraud in civil proceedings.
- Fatal Health & Safety and Corporate Manslaughter: carbon monoxide poisoning; multiple deaths arising from a Legionnaires outbreak and workplace crushing injuries.
- Serious Tax Fraud and other Financial Crime: cases include a £50M MTIC VAT fraud; HMRC serious civil tax fraud investigations (“Code 9”) including an off-shore tax fraud investigation and intra-group Company fraud; £11M alleged fraud involving EC matched funding.
- Money Laundering and Asset Restraint and Confiscation: cases include a £800K foreign cash seizure with cross border litigation; intervening on behalf of a commercial landlord whose properties had been made subject of a Restraint Order in criminal proceedings against a tenant and securing the release of the properties from the Order to enable a sale.
- Regulatory Investigations: cases include a large scale Trade Marks Act prosecution against a wholesale importer of CPU components on the “grey” market; fire safety prosecutions against a major regional retailer; trading standards prosecution against a leading franchised car dealer for misleading “sales” promotions; Connivance and neglect prosecutions of directors; prosecution brought against a Pharmacist and related fitness to practise proceedings; food safety; animal welfare and environmental prosecutions of farmers.