Corporate & Financial Crime

The go-to set for corporate and financial crime, QEB Hollis Whiteman has been and continues to be involved in almost every high-profile case within this field; we are frequently at the forefront of ground-breaking decisions and changes in the law.


QEB Hollis Whiteman is a widely-acknowledged leader in corporate and financial crime, ranked in Tier 1 in Chambers UK for Financial Crime and with a proven track record both home and abroad for prosecuting and defending individuals and corporates. We act from a case’s inception, pre-charge, through to the top tier of our legal system, in appeal. Members of all levels of seniority are consistently ranked as leaders in the field.

Our Experience

Chambers is equipped with a group of highly talented barristers whose experience of corporate offending, financial regulation, and bribery and corruption ensures that they are astute to every argument and responsive to every requirement of their clients. Counsel act regularly for agencies such as the SFO and FCA in high-profile cases. They also work with top-tier national and international law firms representing individuals and multinationals. This breadth of experience means they are always attuned to the tactics of their opponents.

Members of Chambers are adept at managing complex cases (often from the investigation stage) overlapping with civil and commercial law. All counsel practising in this field have considerable experience in cross-jurisdictional investigations and presenting evidence from multiple jurisdictions. Members also have extensive experience of disclosure.

Members of Chambers have acted in many of the most significant corporate and financial crime cases of recent years, examples include: instructed for the prosecution and numerous defendants in the SFO’s investigation and prosecution of French multinational engineering giant Alstom for corruption offences; successfully defended Ryan Reich in the US dollar Libor rigging trial; instructed to defend in the investigation into Euribor rate manipulation; instructed to defend various individuals and a global corporation in an investigation into whether dealings between the corporation and a sovereign wealth fund involved bribery and corruption at the highest level; instructed for various senior parties in the investigation into corruption at Rolls-Royce; instructed to defend Tesco directors accused of fraud in relation to the supermarket's £263m accounting scandal; successfully prosecuted the FCA’s largest ever market abuse trial of Operation Tabernula; prosecuted in the first (Standard Bank plc) and second (XYZ Ltd) Deferred Prosecution Agreements in the UK; advised firms and individuals in relation to more than 120 FCA enforcement investigations and associated proceedings in the RDC, Upper Tribunal and High Court; instructed in the first successful prosecution by the SFO of a company involved in overseas corruption and breaches of sanctions relating to the Iraq ‘Oil for Food’ programme in Mabey & Johnson; successfully defended two individuals prosecuted by the OFT in the first trial of a cartel offence under s188 Enterprise Act in the Virgin/BA price-fixing trial; successfully defended in a sanctions case involving the alleged trade of high-tech arms to Iraq.

There is not an area in this field that the corporate and financial crime team have not explored; we have unrivalled expertise and talent.


'Delivering quality at every level.' Chambers UK (2018)

'It has the benefit of a fantastic corporate City premises and represents an impressive set-up that is perfect for blue-chip, white-collar crime clients.' Chambers UK (2018)

'The very talented barristers here are known for their superior advocacy skills and their approachability.' Chambers UK (2017)

'Highly respected set that has considerable understanding of the interplay between crime and regulatory work.  It is regularly sought out to handle high-profile matters.' Chambers UK (2017)

'An exceptional, ‘top-end’ set with a long-standing reputation for professionalism and efficiency.' Chambers UK (2017)

'A very fine set of chambers with “high-calibre counsel,” who “clearly know what they are doing and don’t waste your time."' Chambers UK (2016)

'Offers an impressive breadth of expertise in financial crime.' Chambers UK (2016)

'The set has ‘a very impressive depth of counsel’; it is ‘ahead of the curve in terms of identifying new legal areas and developments in the market’, and continues to attract leading names.' Legal 500 (2016)

'Members continue to appear in groundbreaking trials including LIBOR fixing and money laundering cases.' Legal 500 (2016)

Notable Cases 

SFO v XYZ (2016)
Zoe Johnson QC led Paul Raudnitz in the second ever deferred prosecution agreement which set the bench mark for such agreements and was approved by the Court in June 2016.

India v Loop Ltd / Essar Ltd 2G mobile phone market abuse trial (2014)
2G mobile phone market abuse trial.

Luton Airport Operations LTD
Mark Ellison QC instructed to defend London Luton Airport Operations Ltd in a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive related to a death outside the terminal.

British Airways / Virgin Price-Fixing Trial (2010)
William Boyce QC was Instructed by British Airways PLC in the first trial of of a charge under the cartel offence (section 188, Enterprise Act). The prosecution offered no evidence and all defendants were acquitted.

SFO Saudi Corruption Investigation
Mark Ellison QC Instructed to advise the director of Airbus Industries subsidiary in relation to SFO corruption investigation related to Saudi National Guard contract payments.

Recent Cases

SFO v B & Or's (2018)

William Boyce QC and Karen Robinson are instructed to defend one of the senior executives of...

SFO v A Global Corporation (2018)

Crispin Aylett QC has been instructed by a Global Corporation who are being investigated by...

Operation Amazon (2017)

Sean Larkin QC and Jocelyn Ledward successfully represented the former Chief Executive Officer...

R v Z Ltd (2017 Ongoing)

Selva Ramasamy QC is advising a software company in relation to allegations of...

Rolls Royce (2017)

Mark Ellison QC is currently advising a former senior employee of Rolls...


Charges dismissed in Barclays fraud case

Crispin Aylett QC and Ben FitzGerald acted for Barclays PLC and Barclays Bank PLC, together with...

EURIBOR Trial Commences

Sean Larkin QC and Philip McGhee are representing defendants in the EURIBOR trial. The...

FCA abandons insider dealing investigation

Jason Mansell acted for a senior employee of a PLC who on multiple occasions and in breach of...

Ben Fitzgerald prosecutes in Sophie Lionnet death case

Ben FitzGerald appears for the prosecution against two defendants admitted perverting the course...

Successful defence of COO accused of money laundering

Rhys Meggy successfully defended F, the Chief Operating Officer of a leading international betting...


Italian VAT fraud case sparks debate and divided opinion (MAS and MB (Taricco II))

Corporate Crime analysis: Discussing the Court of Justice’s judgment in MAS and MB (Taricco II), Kathryn Hughes says that by failing to address significant issues, the court has merely fuelled the ongoing debate about the primacy of EU law vis à...

French Court authorises first-ever French deferred prosecution agreement

Corporate Crime analysis: Kathryn Hughes takes a closer look at the circumstances surrounding the first French deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) and considers how the French DPA process compares with that of the UK. This article was first published on...

Sentencing for offences of cheating the revenue (R v Michael Richards and others)

Corporate Crime analysis: Sean Larkin QC points out that, following the financial crisis, there has been a greater appetite to prosecute financial crimes, and R v Richards is an example of the range of sentences in cases of cheat in the current sentencing...

The French DPA: The Same but Different

On 14 November 2017, the Cour D’Appel de Paris approved the first French ‘DPA’ between HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA (“PBRS”), the Swiss private banking unit of HSBC, and the French National Financial Prosecutor, Parquet...