Family Law AssociationThe Law Society of Scotland
Glasgow 0141 375 1222

Corporate Crime Lawyers

We are acutely aware of the impact that allegations of criminal conduct can have on a business. During these difficult times, you need expert advice from lawyers that are experienced in such matters and know what is required to best protect your business.

We have substantial experience of representing clients in relation to an extensive array of business crime issues. This involves providing representation to corporate clients regarding criminal and regulatory investigations, ‘failure to prevent’ offences as well as representation in relation to allegations of fraud, money laundering, embezzlement, tax offences and bribery and corruption.

The current legislative trends mean businesses are exposed to an enhanced risk of criminal liability, especially when the actions of employees or third parties may result in criminal liability attaching to a company. A company can be criminally liable simply because there were no measures in place to guard against the criminal actions of others.

We are skilled in advising clients under investigation by the police and regulatory bodies. We are well acquainted with the investigatory process and can therefore guide clients step by step through the process, alleviating much of the stress associated with such matters.

White Collar Crime Solictors Glasgow

Our expertise includes:-

  • FCA Investigations
  • HMRC Investigations
  • Bribery and Corruption
  • Fraud
  • Corporate Homicide
  • Health and Safety Offences
  • Environmental Offences
  • Trading Standards

As well as providing representation when a matter is under investigation by the police and/or regulators, we are able to provide advice to clients seeking to ensure compliance with regulations and therefore avoiding criminal liability for the actions of others.

Recent legislation has seen a shift towards placing the onus on companies to ensure measures are in place to prevent certain offences. In certain circumstances, failure to prevent such offences, will constitute an offence in and of itself. We recommend to all clients that preventative measures are put in place at the earliest opportunity. We can assist clients with risk assessments, policy implementation and training, designed to ensure that adequate procedures are in place, which will not only guard against potential offending, but potentially provide a defence should offending occur.

 ‘FCA Investigations’

If you have been contacted by the Financial Conduct Authority, it is important to take advice at the earliest possible stage in their investigation.

We have experience of advising individuals operating in the financial services industry who have been suspected of committing serious financial crimes including offences under the Financial Service and Markets Act 2000. This can involve interim interdicts and actions for restitution prior to criminal prosecution.

If you require advice in relation to regulated activities or are under investigation by the FCA or the police, we are able to assist you.

HMRC Investigations’

The UK Government has placed unlawful tax avoidance at the heart of its enforcement priorities for the next few years. We provide expert advice to companies and individuals under investigation by HM Revenue & Customs to recover unpaid taxes, impose financial penalties and, in the most serious cases, prosecute.

We are experienced in advising corporates and individuals who become subject to tax investigations. This experience is vitally important in addressing the vast array of enforcement powers available to tax agencies.

Where criminal prosecution cannot be avoided, our extensive criminal litigation experience means we are able to provide the best possible representation at court.

The Criminal Finances Act 2017 continues the trend of placing the onus of prevention of offences on to companies. Under Part 3 of the Act, the new corporate offence of failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion places ‘relevant bodies’ under pressure to ensure that reasonable steps are taken to prevent those acting on its behalf from facilitating criminal tax evasion. A relevant body will be guilty of an offence if a person associated with it commits a UK tax evasion facilitation offence when acting in the capacity of a person associated with that relevant body.

You will have a defence to a tax evasion facilitation offence if you are able to establish that, at the time of the offence, you had such prevention procedures in place as was reasonable in all of the circumstances to have in place, or that in all the circumstances, it was not reasonable to expect you to have any prevention procedures in place.

It is therefore essential that any company engaged in the provision of tax advice has conducted a detailed analysis of its potential exposure and identified any reasonable prevention procedures that can be implemented. We are able to advise in relation to what procedures can be put in place.

‘Bribery and Corruption’

The type of behaviour that can now be considered as bribery has been greatly expanded by The Bribery Act 2010.

Section 1 sets out the circumstances whereby it is an offence to bribe another person by promising or giving a financial or other advantage to that person, with the intention of inducing that person to perform improperly a relevant function or activity, or to reward a person for the improper performance of such a function or activity. Equally the accepting of such a bribe will also constitute an offence under section 2.

In terms of section 6, a person who bribes a foreign public official is guilty of an offence if their intention is to influence that official in their capacity as a foreign public official. They must also intend to obtain or retain business, or an advantage in the conduct of business and promises or gives any financial or other advantage to that official, or to another person at their request or with their assent or acquiescence, and that official is neither permitted nor required by the written law applicable to them to be influenced in their capacity as a foreign public official by the offer, promise or gift.

Significantly, section 7 of the Act created the new corporate offence of failing to prevent bribery. Therefore, if an individual within an organisation commits bribery, the company can be prosecuted for failing to prevent that bribery. There is, however, a defence if it can be shown that the company had 'adequate procedures' in place to prevent bribery. This is why it is important that preventative measures are put in place to ensure the statutory defence is available should someone within your organisation commit bribery.

A conviction can have significant financial implications as well as further proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, not to mention the obvious reputational damage and wider commercial consequences. We can assist you in completing risk assessments, identifying adequate procedures and ensuring that full preventative measures are implemented within your organisation.

 ‘Fraud’

We represent individuals and companies across a wide range of cases involving criminal fraud. Examples include serious and complex fraud, mortgage fraud, Ponzi schemes, benefit fraud, false accounting and Companies Act offences and tax fraud.

We are able to advise suspects on all aspects of an investigation and prosecution, including search and seizure, arrest, interview, plea, trial and sentencing. We are experienced in offering strategic and pragmatic advice throughout the process regularly achieving excellent results for our clients.

In particular, if you are a professional involved in financial sector, our experience means that we are well placed to advise you in relation to any regulatory issues involving the FCA and represent you in any associated criminal prosecution thereafter.

 ‘Corporate Homicide’

A corporation is a distinct legal entity and, as such, can be prosecuted and convicted of criminal offences.

Where a homicide occurs and a corporation is culpable, they can be prosecuted. Historically, difficulties have arisen in such prosecutions because of the requirement of a specific mental state to exist in relation to the perpetration of the crime. Attaching the necessary mental state (“mens rea”) to a corporate entity has proven to be extremely problematic.

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 is designed to make it easier to prosecute corporations if they are culpable for a death. Following upon its enactment in 2008, companies and organisations can be found guilty of corporate homicide as a result of serious management failures resulting in a gross breach of a duty of care.

If you are a senior manager in a corporation and there has been a death in relation to your business, you should contact us for immediate advice

‘Health and Safety Offences’

Often prevention is the best form of defence when it comes to health and safety offences. Ensuring the appropriate risk assessments and staff training are in place will stand you in good stead should you have the misfortune of an accident taking place.

Businesses have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their employees and members of the public alike. A few simple preventative measures can be extremely effective and result in compliance with the regulatory requirements. Don’t wait until an accident happens before taking the appropriate steps in relation to health and safety.

If you do have the misfortune of an accident taking place in the workplace or involving an employee, or member of the public, swift post-incident response and remedial action is imperative. Regulatory investigations by the Health and Safety Executive can be extensive and last many months. Our expert guidance through the process can help draw matters to a close in the most efficient manner possible. HSE Inspectors may wish to interview business owners and employees and this can take a variety of forms, e.g. voluntary statement, interview under caution or under section 20 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The approach to these interviews is crucial and you should take expert advice before any interviews take place.

We have experience of dealing with extensive police investigations and HSE investigations, following upon fatal and non-fatal accidents, as well as representing companies who are prosecuted for breaches of health and safety law, including:

  • Serious injury caused by machinery
  • Serious injury caused by collisions with vehicles
  • Accidents when working at height
  • Injuries caused by falling objects

In the event of an accident, we can be contacted 24/7 to provide immediate advice and attend on site where necessary.

The penalties for breaching health and safety laws can be severe and are steadily increasing so it is advisable to seek expert advice from the earliest stages of any investigation.

 

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