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Rapid Response Team: 0800 559 3500
Switchboard: +44 (0)203 947 1539
Rapid Response Team: 0800 559 3500
Switchboard: +44 (0)203 947 1539

Matthew Cowie


"He is an excellent lawyer with good technical abilities."
The Chambers UK Guide

"He is an excellent lawyer with good technical abilities."
The Chambers UK Guide

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Matthew is a vastly experienced, award-winning white-collar crime lawyer and a leading member of Rahman Ravelli’s corporate crime group.

Matthew has a track record in high-profile, groundbreaking cases and in representing major corporates and senior executives in government-facing investigations and litigation.

Matthew acts for clients in corporate investigations, settlements and contested proceedings, providing legal advice and managing fact investigations, plea discussions and trials.

Specifically, Matthew has extensive experience of deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) and investigations involving worldwide regulators. His expertise in bribery and corruption, fraud, insider dealing, money laundering, sanctions and accounting irregularities means that he is called on by corporates to advise them and, if necessary, represent them in all stages of an investigation. Matthew also regularly advises corporates in every sector on compliance best practice.

Matthew has been at the heart of some of this century’s most notable investigations. He is adept at managing the full range of government investigations and enforcement matters that are faced by both individuals and corporates.

Between 2016 and 2021, acting for Airbus, Matthew was a lead partner in the market-leading global corruption settlement. This investigation into allegations of corruption saw the company reaching coordinated settlements with the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the French Parquet National Financier, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and US Department of State. Matthew coordinated the company’s response to all three regulators in Washington, London and Paris. He also led the parallel compliance discussions with the combined regulators.

Matthew’s other high-stakes defence cases include representations in the global investigations by the SFO and its international counterparts into Afren plc, Alstom, Amec Foster Wheeler, GPT and GSK. He has a strong, successful record in contested matters against the SFO and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Before taking senior positions at international law firms from 2010 onwards, Matthew was a lead prosecutor at the SFO. In his 11 years at the SFO, he was at the forefront of many of the largest corporate investigations. He led cases that have helped shape how the UK investigates and prosecutes international corruption. Two of his cases were instrumental in prompting the UK’s creation of the Bribery Act 2010 and the introduction of DPAs.

Matthew has been ranked by The Chambers UK Guide and praised for his "excellent knowledge of the regulatory agencies’’. He was referred to in Chambers as “an excellent lawyer with good technical abilities" who has “fantastic investigation expertise’’. The Legal 500 has ranked him as a leading individual for regulatory investigations and corporate crime. It said, “he brings practical expertise, intellectual rigour and a longstanding knowledge of the main regulators to achieve the best result.’’

Who's Who Legal has classed Matthew as a global leader and recommended him as an elite business crime defence lawyer for corporates. He has won a succession of legal industry awards relating to his white-collar, compliance and investigations work in the Airbus case as well as numerous judicial commendations for his SFO casework.

As well as being a qualified barrister, Matthew lectures in law. He has lectured at the University of Nottingham and is currently the visiting lecturer in financial crime at the London School of Economics. He is a regularly-published author and conference speaker on white-collar crime issues. Matthew is the author of a chapter on corruption in the latest Oxford University Press textbook on money laundering and the proceeds of crime.

Representative Matters

At the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Matthew successfully brought a number of landmark cases, including:

  • Mabey & Johnson Ltd. The first corporate conviction for overseas bribery in the UK of a UK company.
  • Johnson & Johnson/DePuy Ltd. The first SFO and US Department of Justice (DOJ) coordinated settlement of charges against the US parent and UK subsidiary for corruption, and the follow-on first significant prosecution of a senior corporate executive on corruption charges, both within the medical devices industry.
  • Innospec Ltd. The first truly global coordinated settlement (US$40 million) of significant corruption allegations. The SFO worked alongside the United States’ DOJ, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). It is a case that is widely viewed as a catalyst for establishing the current UK deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) legislation.
  • BAE Systems plc. A well-known case resulting in a conviction in the UK and a DPA in the US totalling US$400 million.

Defence Work

  • REPRESENTED Airbus SE as lead partner in a global bribery and corruption investigation that resulted in coordinated settlements with the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO), France’s Parquet National Financier and the United States’ Department of Justice and Department of State.
  • REPRESENTATION of a Russian high-frequency trading company and its founders accused of market manipulation, leading to US $140 million worth of associated trading revenues being frozen and a favourable trial outcome which led to recovery of a good proportion of the sequestered funds.
  • CONDUCTED an internal investigation for a leading global wealth and asset management company that led to a successful Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) insider dealing prosecution of a former senior portfolio manager.
  • REPRESENTED a global helicopter manufacturer in a UK and Italian regulator-facing investigation into corruption allegations.
  • REPRESENTED a US extractive company whose agent and an executive were tried by the SFO. The company had previously entered into a significant deferred prosecution agreement with the DOJ.
  • ADVISED a US-based global news and media organisation and some of its subsidiary and affiliate companies in relation to issues in the FCA’s investigation of insider dealing at a European bank and anti-corruption compliance.
  • REPRESENTED a UK-based subsidiary of a multinational extractive sector company in relation to allegations of fraud and corruption in Africa.
  • REPRESENTATION of a European energy company in a lengthy, high-profile SFO investigation into allegations of corruption in the Middle East.
  • ADVISED an international accounting firm regarding its audit obligations during its representation of an investment conglomerate facing the prospect of a regulatory investigation into corruption allegations.
  • REPRESENTED a former senior executive at Alstom who was acquitted after a ten-week criminal trial led by the SFO.
  • REPRESENTATION of a witness in the long-running SFO GlaxoSmithKline investigation.
  • REPRESENTED a former senior director of an energy company in an SFO investigation into allegations of bribery in Saudi Arabia.
  • REPRESENTATION of the former CEO of a previously AIM-listed oil and gas firm prosecuted by the SFO for fraud.
  • REPRESENTED the CEO of a leading UK brokerage firm in an investigation and enforcement proceedings brought by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the New York Attorney General and UK’s FCA, into alleged misconduct of brokers in the FX options market.

Awards and Honours

He has fantastic investigation expertise.

The Chambers UK Guide

Matthew Cowie

Matthew Cowie


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Matthew is a partner at Rahman Ravelli. He is an award-winning white-collar crime lawyer with a successful track record in groundbreaking cases and the largest corporate investigations. He led cases that shaped how the UK investigates international corruption, including some that helped prompt the creation of the Bribery Act 2010 and the introduction of DPAs. Matthew acted for Airbus in the largest-ever global foreign bribery resolution.

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