Business Crime: Fraud

"With ‘enormous experience and strength in depth', QEB Hollis Whiteman has ‘successfully moved away from the traditional criminal Bar and become much more corporate'. Members recently acted in a large-scale insider-dealing conspiracy case, and successfully defended a former CEO charged with a £52m multinational pension fraud." Legal 500 (2014)

“QEB Hollis Whiteman is identified as a leading criminal fraud set with a "very corporate" approach. Its pool of "high-quality" barristers undertakes an impressive range of defence and prosecution work, with an emphasis on white-collar cases. Instructing solicitors value the chambers' forward-thinking and client-focused approach.” Chambers UK 2014


QEB Hollis Whiteman has an established reputation as a leading set for fraud, business crime and financial regulation. Members of chambers are regularly instructed to defend in high profile cases or to undertake work on behalf of the prosecuting or regulatory authorities. Many members of chambers have been appointed to the SFO’s list of Panel Counsel. Former Head of Chambers, Vivian Robinson QC, was appointed as General Counsel to the SFO.

Members of Chambers advise and represent individuals and corporate clients at every stage of the criminal process, including, but not limited to: the provision of advice pre-charge (often resulting in the avoidance of criminal proceedings altogether); the provision of advisory and advocacy services in matters before the criminal courts or regulatory tribunals; and the provision of advisory and advocacy services in ancillary proceedings, including restraint, confiscation and directors’ disqualification. Chambers has considerable experience in dealing with cases with international or cross-jurisdictional complexities.

Members of Chambers have successfully guided the UK’s largest ever private fraud prosecution brought by an individual.

Members of Chambers are regularly instructed by both the FCA and individuals and corporations working in the financial services industry.

Particular areas of expertise

•    Anti-competitive conduct (insider dealing, cartels, market abuse, LIBOR)
•    Sanctions
•    Revenue fraud
•    VAT fraud (including MTIC fraud, excise / duty diversion)
•    Fraudulent trading
•    Mortgage fraud
•    Benefit fraud
•    Pension scheme fraud
•    Ponzi schemes
•    Advance fee fraud
•    Boiler room fraud
•    Money laundering
•    Asset forfeiture and recovery
•    Confiscation and restraint
•    Private prosecutions

Notable cases

•    Operation Tabernula (the FCA’s largest market abuse prosecution)
•    Pearson (misleading statements to market)
•    Rumsey (£100 million boiler room fraud)
•    Somaia (private prosecution, systematic series of frauds totalling $19.5 million)
•    Mabey & Johnson Ltd (corporate sanctions busting)
•    British Airways / Virgin price-fixing (first trial of cartel offence under the Enterprise        Act)
•    Rigby and others (first prosecution by the FSA for criminal market abuse)
•    Innospec
•    Operation Eaglewood (largest prosecution brought by the CPS, money laundering           and drug trafficking)


“QEB Hollis Whiteman houses ‘a huge number of very talented and bright barristers’ with considerable expertise in prosecuting and defending high-profile criminal cases…Within ‘Fraud: crime (including money laundering and asset forfeiture),’ QEB Hollis Whiteman is a first tier set. QEB Hollis Whiteman is particularly well regarded for SFO work, and has ‘high-class performers. Legal 500, 2013

“City institutions can be assured that they now have on their doorstep a strong white-collar crime unit with real pedigree. Members of the set have been handling business crime and general fraud work for more than 40 years and are well versed in all aspects of the market. They regularly involve themselves in causes célèbres of the day, as illustrated by their appearance in the OFT British Airways and Virgin Atlantic fare-fixing case, the FSA ‘pharmaceuticals’ case and the SFO investigation into sanctions busting in Iraq.” Chambers UK 2012

Notable cases:

Operation Tabernula (2015)
The most complex insider dealing investigation undertaken so far by the Financial Services Authority
Mark Ellison QC | Tom Broomfield

R v Williamson and Malden Plumbing and Heating Ltd (2012)
Complex three month corporate manslaughter case at the Central Criminal Court.
Edward Brown QC

R v M (2012)
Workplace death
Sean Larkin QC

Mabey & Johnson Ltd (2011)
Corporate sanctions busting
Peter Finnigan QC

British Airways / Virgin Price-Fixing Trial (2010)
First trial of cartel offence under Enterprise Act
William Boyce QC | Adrian Darbishire QC

R v Eaton & Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings Limited (2010)
First ever prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007
Mark Ellison QC | Adrian Darbishire QC

R v Network Rail & others
The Hatfield Rail Crash
Sean Larkin QC | Adrian Darbishire QC | Selva Ramasamy

Blue Arrow
High-profile, complex corporate fraud
John Hilton QC | Peter Finnigan QC


Corporate Manslaughter
An introduction to the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 24.3.2009
Download (PDF) >

Aspects of the Section 188 Cartel Offences
Adrian Darbishire discusses aspects of the Cartel Offence, section 188 of the Enterprise Act. 27.2.2007

For more information on crime-related matters, please contact the clerks on 020 7933 8855 or