Founder: Anthony Barnfather
Number of partners: 3
Other fee-earners: 6
AREA OF PRACTICE:
- Corporate Crime
- Fraud & Regulatory Investigations
The firm's regulatory and business crime solicitors have successfully defended some of the UK’s most complex and high-profile serious fraud and financial crime cases brought by regulators and enforcement agencies. They continue to build upon this reputation as ‘the go to firm to knock a case out at investigation stage and avoid trial’ having an enviable success record second to none in this regard.
The team is praised by clients and peers for their technical expertise and tactical acumen – providing clear and prompt strategic advice to companies, directors, senior personnel, leading entrepreneurs and high net worth individuals facing criminal and regulatory investigations.
The firm was founded in 2015 by Anthony Barnfather. Anthony was head of the 30-strong regulatory investigations team at Pannone before the firm was acquired by Slater & Gordon. Under his leadership, the regulatory team became a national player with an excellent reputation in this area. Anthony also managed a division with more than 60 lawyers and held a seat on the Pannone board.
The firm has offices in Manchester and London
PRINCIPAL AREAS OF WORK:
The firm's expertise includes tax investigations, corporate fraud, bribery and corruption, money laundering, company internal investigations, cartel and price-fixing, extradition, competition (antitrust law) and corporate manslaughter.
The firm deal with all regulators including: Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Department of Justice (DOJ), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), Trading Standards, The City of London Police and regional fraud squads and Environment Agency.
Clients include senior individuals such as executive and non-executive board members, leading entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals.
The firm is currently advising on some of the major investigation brought by UK regulators and enforcement agencies including the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigations into Rolls Royce, Una Oil and Tata Steel.
The firm has also developed a niche in advising clients who were involved in failed tax structuring schemes that HMRC is now criminally prosecuting – claiming they were sophisticated tax evasion schemes.
• Advised the lead defendant in an extremely high profile HMRC prosecution not least because, for the first time, HMRC has charged suspects at every level from investors, IFAs, advisers to promoters, in the £130m-plus alleged tax avoidance schemes. The High Court described it as the ‘largest criminal investigation of its kind’.
An application to dismiss the charges was successful and following representations, the prosecution decided not to progress with an application for a Voluntary Bill. Given the gravity of the admitted failings by the prosecution that were discovered by Barnfather Solicitors, there is now an internal governance investigation by HMRC, an internal review of the CPS management and costs have been awarded against the Crown
Notable cases include:
• Advised three directors in a criminal cartel investigation run by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). More than 350 witnesses were interviewed. It was the first known case where the CMA have actively used covert intelligence to substantiate an investigation. The Director of the CMA has mentioned the case in speeches given across Europe. After a long investigation and, following extensive written representations, no charges were brought against the directors.
• Acted for director in the SFO prosecution of O’Neil and others in suspected large-scale cartel activity in the generic drugs market. The SFO prosecuted the case as a conspiracy to defraud. Throughout the proceedings we maintained that conduct was not criminal. Complex legal arguments followed, with the House of Lords deciding against the SFO. The failed prosecution cost the public purse in excess of £50m
• Acted for former finance director in the high-profile iSOFT case. Directors were prosecuted on conspiracy to mislead the market. The case was described as the FSA’s ‘flagship prosecution’. All four directors were acquitted at the end of a second trial
Criminal investigations are increasingly taking on an international dimension and individuals can often find themselves being pursued by regulators and enforcement agencies from other jurisdictions.
To combat the rise in international crimes including bribery and corruption, cartels and money laundering there has been greater co-operation between law enforcement agencies through Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) and simplified extradition procedures.
Many cases have a multi-jurisdictional element and the firm has advised individuals facing investigations worldwide. The firm deal with concurrent SFO-DOJ investigations, European-wide competition cases, Interpol ‘Red’ Notices and extradition requests.
Partner Gary Broadfield has recently joined the firm from Cartwright King. Gary has extensive experience in defending allegations of complex and high value fraud and financial crime. He specialises in defending investigations and prosecutions brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), HMRC, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the National Crime Agency (NCA). He regularly represents company directors, solicitors, accountants and other professionals facing such proceedings.
Gary also has a national reputation of as a leader in the new and evolving field of cyber and online crime. He has extensive experience in the full spectrum of computer crime. Gary regularly acts in prosecutions arising from investigations of activity on dark net marketplaces and criminality arising from websites hosted on the TOR network, attacks on multinational corporations by organised hacking collectives such as “Lizard Squad,” and data breaches leading to leaks of confidential information from companies by current and former employees.
Gary also has significant experience in the niche related fields of data and intellectual property crime, arising from file sharing and video streaming. He has also acted in Trading Standards investigations into the alleged manipulation and misuse of Google “pay per click” advertising terms.