In the post-financial crisis world, legal and regulatory requirements are tougher, corporate misconduct laws are more stringent and enforcement agencies are better resourced. The burden and risks for businesses can seem overwhelming and penalties for wrongdoing can be severe.
Our specialist team can help you prevent wrongdoing in your business, detect it when it has happened, and rapidly respond and help minimise harm to your business and reputation.
Prevent: Wrongdoing can happen in any organisation so it makes sense to take precautions to avoid it happening in yours. Many organisations have obligations to do so. We will help you develop and implement a tailor-made compliance programme, including training for your staff. We can also assess the risks in areas such as sanctions, money laundering, data security and cyber risk, and corruption.
Detect: Taking immediate action when a problem arises may put you in a position to limit the damage. We can quickly mobilise a multi-disciplinary, international team. We handle investigations and dealings with enforcement agencies around the globe, putting people on the ground wherever you need them. We have carried out investigations in Europe, Africa, the Americas, Asia and former Soviet states.
Respond: Once a situation has blown up, the important thing is to find ways to minimise its impact. We deal with regulatory actions and defend prosecutions where they prove unavoidable. We advise on remedial plans and dealings with implicated employees and can help you to minimise reputational damage. We can help you deal with any solvency implications and bring recovery actions against third parties.
We’re used to dealing with a diverse range of regulators and enforcement agencies across the world, including the most active European, American and Asian authorities.
Our clients include financial institutions, listed corporations, private businesses and senior management personnel.
Our experience includes acting on over 50 investigations in the past three years. We are featured in Global Investigation Review’s Top 100, an independent guide to the world’s leading cross-border investigations practices.
Areas of expertise
- Business 360⁰
- Anti-bribery & corruption
The UK Bribery Act is one of the most draconian pieces of anti-bribery legislation and can result in 10 years imprisonment for individuals, and unlimited fines and debarment from public contracts for companies. The Act holds corporates to a very high standard – for example a corporate can be held responsible for the acts of his its agent operating abroad and under no supervision.View all our Anti-bribery & corruption experts
Our team of anti-corruption lawyers can advise individuals and corporates on how to comply with their obligations under the Bribery Act. Examples of the holistic service we offer includes the following: conducting a risk assessment; reviewing contracts, corporate structure and business relationships; conducting internal investigations; analysing consultancy agreements; and implementing an anti-bribery policy and other adequate procedures which can act as a defence against a prosecution.
- Corporate & regulatory investigations
As businesses have become more international, and authorities around the world take an ever increasing interest in the way corporates and their employees conduct themselves, investigations of actual or potential wrongdoing are becoming a common feature of corporate life. Taylor Wessing’s international team has conducted investigations for clients across a wide range of industries and countries. Our work has covered issues from rogue traders in financial institutions, to allegations of corruption influencing the award of contracts, to data theft and security and a huge variety of regulatory non-compliance. We have handled investigations involving businesses across the US, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the former Soviet Union countries, Asia and South America. We are experienced at planning effective but discreet investigations, ensuring effective early data capture and analysis, independent review where appropriate and control of information flow within the business, leading to clear conclusions and recommendations for action.View all our Corporate & regulatory investigations experts
- Corporate crime
Following the financial crisis of 2008 there have been changes in the manner in which corporate and white collar crime is investigated and enforced around the world. Corporate misconduct is increasingly considered by prosecutors and regulators from a criminal perspective. There is also increased co-operation between regulators across borders and the globalisation of business has seen corporates as well as individuals facing increased risk of criminal investigation in multiple jurisdictions. We advise clients on the risks they may face and how to mitigate them with appropriate compliance programmes and risk assessment. Where an enforcement action occurs then we act for corporates and individuals, including directors and managers, in the defence of those criminal proceedings and in appropriate discussions with prosecutors and regulators. Our experienced team and international coverage means we can mobilise multi-jurisdictional teams from around our network whenever necessary to respond to client demand, however urgent.View all our Corporate crime experts
- Cyber security & data breaches
Protection of data, whether it is your confidential information or the personal data of your customers, is key to the success of almost any business. We understand the nature of cyber threats and the different risks they pose to your business, from an employee stealing confidential data to hackers infiltrating your networks. We have a very strong track record in helping clients deal with both internal and external threats, and advise on investigating breach incidents, “crisis management” in the initial stages of a breach, identifying and dealing with threats, related legal action, liaising with regulators and advising on feedback to systems and controls after a breach. Many breaches now involve an international element, and we work regularly with our international offices and other law firms who are equally skilled in their jurisdiction. Find out more about our Data Protection work.View all our Cyber security & data breaches experts
- Defending prosecutions & regulatory enforcement actions
We advise on notification of issues and self-reporting to regulators and enforcement agencies, how to minimise the scope for prosecution and enforcement action resulting from corporate wrong-doing, and defend such action when it proves unavoidable. We routinely assist clients with the challenge of dealing with multiple authorities across borders, ensuring a joined-up approach. Our team has advised on matters involving authorities as wide-ranging as the Financial Conduct Authority, Serious Fraud Office and the Information Commissioners Office in the UK, the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission in the USA, the Singapore Monetary Authority and BaFin in Germany.
If an investigation cannot be successfully concluded without enforcement action or prosecution, we also have the experience to advise on the defence of such action. This includes strategy for dealing with the enforcement action or prosecution and on how to liaise with prosecutorial bodies to obtain the best outcome.View all our Defending prosecutions & regulatory enforcement actions experts
- Fraud & asset tracing
Economic downturns have historically been met with a rise in the discovery and prosecution of fraud and corruption cases. The recent global economic events are no exception to this. Taylor Wessing has extensive experience in representing clients who have been the victims of large scale and complex frauds, working to quickly identify and recover assets from multiple defendants, wherever they may be in the world. We act for a wide variety of clients, including multinational companies, banks, accountants and family estate offices. We are able to advise you on how to conduct internal fraud investigations and also can provide advice on anti-corruption and compliance programs. In addition, we have extensive experience in preventing counterfeiting and protecting businesses from the unauthorised exploitation of their brands.View all our Fraud & asset tracing experts
- Money laundering & proceeds of crime issues
The money laundering regime has developed significantly in recent years, particularly in Europe with yet further changes proposed under EU Money Laundering Directives. The interaction between relevant legislation and regulations can be complicated and the obligations on individuals and businesses may not always be obvious or easy to comprehend. We can assist clients, in both regulated and unregulated sectors, in understanding their obligations and the making of suspicious activity reports (SARs) as appropriate. We also help clients to deal with the effects of enforcement actions including actions under criminal restraint regimes and, where the client is a victim of crime, to use such regimes to their advantage in the recovery of the proceeds of a crime. We also offer clients reputation management where media interest arises in connection with such matters.View all our Money laundering & proceeds of crime issues experts
Corporations and financial institutions are coming under increasing pressure to stamp out irresponsible behaviour and whistle-blowers are central to uncovering wrong-doing and encouraging organisations to self-police and improve culture from the inside out. Wrongdoing is becoming increasingly criminalised and it is the responsibility of the organisation and its directors to ensure good governance; lack of knowledge/participation will not necessarily provide a defence. It is key, therefore, to protect whistle-blowers and to encourage them to speak up. At a minimum, organisations must have a functioning whistle-blowing policy. Taylor Wessing can advise you on such a policy and its effective implementation.View all our Whistle-blowing experts
Some of the largest investigations into corruption and financial crime have been a result of whistle-blowers raising the alarm both internally and externally. Taylor Wessing routinely acts for companies in connection with investigations by a regulator, as well as internal company investigations, generated from whistle-blower reports. In other matters, we act for the individual whistle-blower, protecting their employment rights and negotiating settlement agreements. We draw upon our expertise in corporate crime and investigations as well as employment law to offer holistic advice.