Successes for Chambers in Civil Recovery Cases

Members of Chambers have represented Defendants in a recent much publicised NCA Civil Recovery case:

Martin Evans QC and Faisal Osman represented a Defendant plus 3 Defendant Companies and Barry Stancombe represented a further Defendant company.

Barry Stancombe, having already set aside a Recovery Order obtained by the NCA on a summary judgment application, successfully settled the proceedings.

Martin Evans QC and Faisal Osman obtained successful settlements for their clients, including the retention of property and the recovery of commercial lending plus interest. 

This followed an eight-year investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) into an alleged money-laundering racket involving one of Europe’s most notorious drug smugglers, the Russian state and hundreds of millions of pounds. Investigators suspected that their target (not represented by Chambers) had “amassed considerable wealth” through “unlawful conduct” but had put his assets in the names of others. £6m worth of assets are now subject to a Civil Recovery Order - Eleven properties will be handed over including an award-winning boutique hotel and brasserie plus property in prime London locations.

The alleged money-laundering scheme first came to light during an NCA investigation into luxury car salesman Amir Azam, who was jailed for life in the United Arab Emirates after being convicted of drug trafficking. That investigation recovered about £4m in assets.

Recent cases have shown that upon receipt of appropriate evidence and legal representations the NCA may be prepared to reach settlements without costs rather than proceed to a fully contested trial. This more recent commercial approach by the NCA allows for the barristers at 33 Chancery Lane to utilise their specialist POCA legal knowledge and civil law expertise in order to ensure the best outcome for those facing Civil Recovery proceedings brought by the NCA or other prosecuting agencies.

Mark Rainsford QC Secures Acquittal in US$120m Zetland Financial Money Laundering Trial

Mark Rainsford QC secures acquittal in US$120 million money laundering trial at Southwark Crown Court defending Hong Kong businessman James Campbell Sutherland, Chairman of the Zetland Financial Group of fiduciaries

The jury unanimously acquitted in less than 4 hours after a nine-week trial and 8-year investigation by the SFO assisted by the SEC, FCA and City of London Police. It was alleged that Zetland Financial Group laundered the proceeds of the UK’s biggest boiler room fraud. The acquittal follows Mark Rainsford QC’s successful defence of the senior partner of a large commercial law firm tried on corruption charges in connection with the same boiler-room fraud. Jason Sugarman of 9-12 Bell Yard was junior counsel in both trials.

See:  UK

Hong Kong:

33 Chancery Lane to Train Barristers on Money Laundering Prevention

Chambers is delighted to announce that Martin Evans, Abigail Coghill-Smith and Fiona Jackson have been approached by the Bar Council to provide training courses for the Bar on the interface of Public Access work with awareness of professional obligations to minimise the risk of potential laundering of the proceeds of crime by clients and third parties.  

Accordingly, our team has devised and will deliver a comprehensive series of two-hour CPD-accredited training programmes to the profession and their clerks from 20th October, specifically tailored to meet barristers’ queries arising from the Bar Council’s general Public Access training programme.

This practical course introduces the relevant provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Money Laundering Regulations 2007, explaining their impact on barristers undertaking Public Access work and promoting the ability to recognise and respond appropriately to ‘suspicious transactions’.

During the interactive training workshop, delegates will discuss case studies giving rise to potential problems, especially handling client money; study relevant guidance and judgments such as Bowman v Fels; examine the dangers of ignoring the legislation; and be instructed on best practice to minimise risk.

If you are a barrister or clerk wishing to book onto the training programme, please click here.