Keith Mitchell (1981)
Keith has long been recognised for his expertise in fraud and white collar crime and has been consistently ranked as a leader in his field in all fraud sections of the top legal directories, Chambers UK 2017 and the Legal 500 2016. He has previously been named UK White Collar Crime Barrister of the Year by Acquisition International.
He has been described as "an excellent communicator with in-depth experience.", “superb with clients and popular with juries”, “ a talented practitioner who knows his way around fraud cases” and "spot-on when it comes to strategy". His practice encompasses major SFO, VAT and MTIC frauds as well as business, financial and other white-collar crime matters.
In the current Chambers and Partners 2017 edition, it said that Keith is "Very industrious, very reassuring, and very articulate in communicating complicated legal concepts." "He handles a lot of high-level financial criminal work, he is great with juries, and he wins a lot of cases." Recent editions have commented "...he’s very practical in looking for solutions and a very strong advocate on his feet’’. In yearly editions of the Fraud (Crime) section of the Legal 500, Keith is highlighted as being a Leading Junior. It has said that he is an "extremely strong jury advocate". “His ability to sift through heavy paperwork and present a cogent argument in court is the envy of many”. He has appeared in the 'Jockey Club' case and in Operation Exhort ‘cash for crash’, and in Operation Vaulter MTIC fraud the largest ever contra trading and offshore operation based in Dubai. One source said of him: “He is just superb. He’s always involved in the biggest cases in the country and he has a great touch with the clients.”
Previous legal directories have said of Keith, that “apart from having the brains and personality to deal with the most complex fraud cases, Keith Mitchell is also the type of barrister who takes the time to go through everything with his clients”. He has been “recognized as being one of the main players specialising in VAT and fraud”. Keith is also known “for his great client care skills and flair when it comes to case management” and his “flamboyant” style as an advocate. He completed the case of McHugh reported in the Wall Street Journal 14th November 2011 and is leading in Operations Galion and Barber. Recent highlights include representing a former Vantis accountant charge with fraud and false accounting at the Central Criminal Court resulting in no confiscation order. New cases include Operation Yoga- US Carbon Credit fraud operating out of Spain and USA and FSA investigation into alleged worldwide €34 million alleged land bank fraud.
As a specialist in defending serious fraud and crime, including Inland Revenue, VAT, (including VAT Tribunal) and all types of company fraud, he has appeared in the courts of Jersey and Guernsey and in Spain in response to applications under the Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990 and Evidence (Proceedings in Other Jurisdictions) Order 1983.
In his early career, Keith defended in a number of very high profile murder and other serious crime cases but has latterly become more widely recognized for his expertise in fraud which came to prominence during his involvement on behalf of the defence in the collapsed £110million MTIC fraud, Operation Venison, at Southwark Crown Court in 2005 which led to a independent police enquiry.
Previous high profile frauds include leading in ‘Operation Divert’ (£110 million VAT fraud), ‘Operation Dowel Drive and Lychees’ (‘£50 million VAT fraud) and ‘Operation Dosall, Dunnaway and Doona’ (£100 million VAT fraud) and in Aleef Garages,the largest Inland Revenue prosecution in the North West involving the alleged misuse of Muslim charities.
Keith led in ‘Operation Devout,' a £169million gold bullion and computer MTIC fraud and recently successfully defended in the largest ever CD fraud in the music industry in the USA and EEC (£25million).
Other notable cases which have attracted widespread public interest include ‘Operation Krypton’ better known as the ‘Jockey Club’ case, in which he successfully acted for the alleged head of one of the betting organisations and advised in ‘Operation Rize’, the safety deposit seizure case.
Recently, he successfully acted for a defendant in a HMCE investigation into the construction industry and advised and appeared on behalf of Jason Teal (Managing Director, Armour Products International) who admitted breaching BIS export controls by selling military grade equipment to Arab Governments and US Companies, involving the sale of hundreds of bulletproof body armour and helmets to Iraq and Kuwait among other destinations to the value of $6,000,000.
Another recently reported case involved accountant Robert Hulme who was involved in a plot to steal almost £24 million from HSBC and hide the money in a number of European companies.
Keith is currently defending in a major SFO prosecution into a number of high profile advance fee frauds and is also representing a former accountant of a high profile accountancy firm who is charged with offences arising out the alleged misuses of trust funds.