Asset Forfeiture: Notable case

R v Tony Morris (2012)

Tony Morris was unanimously acquitted of allegations of defrauding pension funds of £52m. The SFO alleged that Tony Morris, the former CEO of The Money Portal plc, had corrupted a pension trustee into disinvesting £52m of pension funds from gilts and reinvesting the proceeds in "valueless" bonds underpinning various international investment schemes from Bangkok to Beverley Hills. The SFO had successfully presented those allegations against others in linked criminal trials. Similar allegations were advanced in civil litigation brought by Independent Trustee Services (Independent Trustees Services Ltd v GP Noble Trustees Ltd [2010] EWHC Ch) with judgment for the claimants.


Tony Morris’ defence involved a meticulous and considered response to the charges.  This required a detailed analysis and explanation of the nature of the original pension investments, and pension trust deeds, whilst getting the jury to understand the creative proposals to repair pensions' deficits then widespread in the industry.   The defence correctly defined the nature of the bonds and underlying investments, which (together with the use of offshore trusts to mitigate taxation) successfully disposed of the allegations.  Tony Morris, when giving evidence, relied on the extensive professional advice and expertise he had received and sought throughout the whole process.  There were unusual factual aspects to the case including the fact that his then lawyer had subsequently become the Chief Minister of Gibraltar.  The Chief Minister gave evidence via video-link, in a case where he provided section 2 interviews, extensive witness statements and evidence in earlier criminal and civil proceedings.

Tony Morris was represented by Sean Larkin QC and Edward Henry instructed by Raymond Shaw of Shaw Graham Kersh.

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Notable cases:

Operation Tabernula (Ongoing) (2013)
FCA's largest insider dealings case
Sean Larkin QC

R v Tony Morris (2012)
Former CEO of The Money Portal has been cleared of defrauding £52m pension funds
Sean Larkin QC | Edward Henry

R v Oyewor (2012)
Money transfer company agent committed multi-million, multi-currency international money laundering.
Lucy Kennedy

The Queen (Rawlinson and Hunter Trustees) & others v CCC & SFO (2012)
Judicial Review for the SFO by the Tchenguiz brothers
Mark Ellison QC

R v Uzoma-Ubani & Others (2012)
Successful prosecution of a multi-million pound fraud
Peter Finnigan QC | Benn Maguire

SFO v Pearson (2011)
Largest market fraud so far on the Alternative Investment Market
Mark Ellison QC | Selva Ramasamy

Operation Eaglewood (2010)
Money laundering and drug trafficking. Prosecuting the largest case currently brought by the Crown Prosecution Service.
William Boyce QC | Roger Smart | Philip Evans | Lucy Kennedy | Philip Stott

R v Bouhafna & others (2009)
Money Laundering
Fraser Coxhill

R v Sakavickas & Reichwald (2008)
Landmark money-laundering case
David Jeremy QC | Rebecca Harris

R v Matsumoto (2002)
Money laundering & cocaine importation
Edward Henry


Blackstones Guide to the Bribery Act - Rachna Gokani - Contributing Author
QEB Hollis Whiteman Chambers are delighted to announce that the long awaited Blackstones Guide to the Bribery Act has been re 23.9.2010

Fighting Bribery; New UK Legislation Explained - Sean Larkin QC
Fighting Bribery; New UK Legislation Explained - Sean Larkin QC in conjunction with Commercial Crime International. 1.4.2010
Download (PDF) >

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