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

Syedur Rahman

Partner

"Adept at defending clients in POCA matters related to money laundering and fraud."
The Chambers UK Guide 2023

"A creative thinker who goes the extra mile."
The Legal 500

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Syed's great depth of experience in serious fraud, financial crime and multi-jurisdictional investigations has earmarked him as a robust solicitor. He is proficient in both civil and criminal cases, where there is an allegation of corporate wrongdoing. Syed has substantial experience in advising corporate entities and their directors and officers in relation to investigations conducted by all the major enforcement agencies. He has also built an impressive reputation in the field of asset-tracing and recovery, with a respected track record regarding international disputes where urgent relief is required involving freezing orders and recovering misappropriated assets.

Syed is recognised for his sector-leading, pioneering cryptocurrency work, having secured a number of significant legal firsts when representing institutions and individuals. His specialist expertise in civil recovery proceedings under Part 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) has also led to him recording notable successes for clients in national and international cases. He has in-depth expertise in high-value international arbitration, with a particular emphasis on complex cross-border cases demanding urgent measures, including anti-suit injunctions and interim relief.

Syed has a dynamic practice involving complex sanctions issues and related litigation. He has notable cases in this area, including representation of public limited companies (PLC’s) trading on the London Stock Exchange in relation to international sanctions on Russia, public joint-stock companies (PJSC’s) trading on the Moscow Stock Exchange regarding UK and EU sanctions on Russia and a major Russian power engineering company headquartered in St Petersburg relating to international sanctions advice. Syed regularly prepares licence applications to release frozen funds or economic resources for designated persons and entities. He is also adept at challenging sanctions designations.

He is known for his abilities in multijurisdictional, worldwide asset recovery cases – including obtaining and defending the full range of injunctions - high-stakes commercial and financial disputes and cross-border investigations involving attacks on clients’ interests by numerous governments or agencies. His skill in defending high-profile corruption, fraud and regulatory allegations and his ability to negotiate with investigators have ensured his clients receive the strongest representation.

The Chambers UK Guide regularly ranks Syed as an elite solicitor. It has called him “a very technically gifted lawyer’’ and has said he “gets on top of all the facts in complex cases’’. Chambers has described him as “very committed to the work he does’’ and said he “leaves no stone unturned and has a passion for what he does’’. It has repeatedly highlighted his expertise in POCA work and asset recovery proceedings. The 2023 edition of Chambers praises his ability to “forge ground in fast-developing areas’’ and his cryptocurrency case skills.

Syed’s clients include corporates and their directors, financial institutions, hedge funds, high net worth individuals and international private clients around the world. Syed has a particular interest in litigation arising from mergers and acquisitions, derivatives and securities offerings (IPO’s, SPAC IPO’s and debt offerings) and works with private equity funds and private sponsors for public companies.

He is adept at advising corporate entities and their directors and officers on their regulatory and compliance obligations and in investigations conducted by agencies such as the Serious Fraud Office, Financial Conduct Authority, National Crime Agency and HM Revenue & Customs. His ability to assess complex issues, establish the facts and analyse challenging sets of circumstances have seen him excel on internal investigations carried out for Rahman Ravelli’s corporate clients.

Syed routinely advises clients in FCA investigations into alleged market abuse, breaches of regulated activities and unauthorised trading. He is sought by asset management firms and chief investment officers at hedge funds facing enforcement proceedings and financial services litigation.

The Legal 500 has called Syed “a creative thinker’’, “a master of detail’’ and someone who “entirely devotes himself to his cases’’. It has drawn attention to the wide variety of global corporate wrongdoing and multi-jurisdictional bribery and corruption investigations he has worked on. It has praised his “incredible depth of experience when it comes to fraud matters, and in particular those with an international element or where the National Crime Agency are involved.’’ The 2023 edition calls him “one of the most well-respected names’’ in the legal world and emphasises his abilities in emerging areas such as SPACs and cryptocurrency fraud.

Syed is also in demand to work on cases where there is the possibility of securing a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) for clients. The Legal 500 has noted Rahman Ravelli’s expertise in advising on DPAs and recognised that Syed “goes the extra mile to get the best results for his clients in leading on a multi-jurisdictional matter concerning this area”.

His recent work has involved global energy sector corruption allegations, major financial services cases, fintech companies and many of the most complex worldwide asset recovery cases.

Representative Matters

White collar crime  

  • Secured the acquittal of a former senior executive of a seismic testing company - after the company itself had admitted wrongdoing - following an SFO investigation into alleged bribery of a South Korean public official to secure multi-million-pound contracts.
  • Defended a forex trader who lost ÂŁ130 million of investors’ funds, in a large-scale, cross-border investigation which included jurisdictions such as Turkey, Thailand, Australia and United States of America.
  • Representation of a global precious metals company in an SFO bribery and corruption investigation. This included conducting multi-jurisdictional internal investigations of more than 40 companies worldwide and negotiations for a deferred prosecution agreement.
  • Defended a London-based hedge fund trader being investigated by authorities in Europe over alleged involvement in a ÂŁ193 million Cum-Ex share trading scheme.
  • Represented a partner at an asset management firm in a multi-jurisdictional Cum-Ex trading investigation headed by UK, German and Austrian authorities.
  • Defence of a corporate’s chief executive and director in an FCA criminal investigation into making false/misleading statements and concealing material facts relating to a large, publicly-listed company.
  • Represented an alleged director in an SFO investigation relating to the operation of pension schemes and SIPP investments, involving ÂŁ120 million.

Sanctions

  • ASSISTED a major raw materials industrial group in assessing the impact of UK and EU sanctions regimes on its business activities and preparing a licence application for the Department of International Trade (“DIT”). 
  • REPRESENTED a major raw materials manufacturing company in its interactions with the UK and EU regulators in connection with restrictive measures impacting its business activities.
  • ASSISTED a leading global energy trader in assessing the impact of UK and EU sanctions regimes on its business activities.
  • ADVISING a privately owned Museum in relation to valuable cultural artefacts in relation to UK sanctions compliance and export advice.
  • ADVISING an offshore corporate service provider in relation to its clients and the impact of UK sanctions relating to Russia.
  • ADVISED a corporate entity in the digital risks sector on the application of UK sanctions and contemplated restructuring of foreign UK subsidiaries.
  • REPRESENTATION of a major conglomerate which floated on the London Stock Exchange. Advising on complex capital restructuring and compliance following the imposition of sanctions on Russia.
  • REPRESENTED a large power engineering company headquartered in Russia. Advising on the imposition of international sanctions and the performance of a contract valued at c$787 million USD.
  • ADVISED a major oil producer on the risks of breaching trade sanctions and compliance with UK sanctions law.
  • PREPARED a licence application to OFSI for a public joint-stock company, in relation to a $500 million USD corporate bond and coupon payments due to noteholders following finance agreements.
  • ADVISED a chemicals company headquartered in Switzerland on the structure and application of the UK sanctions regime, including corporate restructuring of its subsidiaries.
  • REPRESENTATION of a large conglomerate in the timber industry listed on the Moscow Stock Exchange and advising on the UK sanctions regime.

Cryptocurrency 

  • REPRESENTATION of an artificial intelligence lab in the landmark case of Fetch ai v Persons Unknown. This case is widely recognised as it involved the successful obtaining of a worldwide freezing order after the applicant suffered a loss of $2.6 million when unidentified bad actors gained access to cryptocurrency accounts.
  • Represented a major US corporation in a transatlantic investigation into a sophisticated hack and theft of crypto assets. This involved working closely with the FBI in the US and the UK National Crime Agency’s cybercrime department.
  • Defence of an international private client in the landmark case AA v Persons Unknown. This was the first case where a high court judge recognised cryptocurrency as “property”.
  • Represented a corporate entity in the landmark case of Ion Science v Persons Unknown. This case is widely recognised as the first ICO fraud case to go before the commercial court, and the first time a court considered the location of Bitcoin for jurisdictional purposes. An injunction was obtained to freeze crypto assets.
  • Representation of an English cryptocurrency exchange that was subject to a sophisticated hack, leading to investigations in nations including the Seychelles, Belarus and Ukraine. 

Civil fraud and asset recovery

  • Represented a multi-national corporate in a worldwide asset recovery investigation arising from its subsidiary being targeted in a phishing fraud.
  • Representation of an international private client in a global asset recovery investigation spanning jurisdictions in South Africa, Europe, the UK and North America.
  • Represented a UK company in an asset recovery investigation relating to wrongdoing in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
  • Defence of a UK company in High Court proceedings following an HMRC investigation into a ÂŁ4 million VAT fraud. 
  • Defended a professional services firm and its CEO that were subject to High Court proceedings in a HMRC probe concerning a ÂŁ12 million labour supply fraud.
  • Defence of an executive in relation to 19 account freezing and forfeiture orders and a criminal investigation into a ÂŁ60 million money laundering operation.
  • Defended a group of companies and its executives in civil recovery proceedings brought by the NCA under Part 5 of POCA, following allegations of money laundering and tax evasion.
  • Representation of an individual in civil recovery proceedings brought by the NCA under Part 5 of POCA, following allegations of drug trafficking, money laundering and mortgage fraud.
  • Defence of an individual in a Part 6 POCA investigation, where the NCA adopted the powers of HMRC and made allegations of undisclosed income and capitals gain tax liabilities.

Advisory/Compliance  

  • Advised a multi-national cryptocurrency and non-fungible token (NFT) art dealer on compliance with UK and US money laundering and sanctions law.
  • Advised a global fintech company on regulatory matters and FCA compliance.
  • Conducted an internal investigation for a well-established European confectionery company in relation to HMRC VAT investigations.

Awards and Honours

He is without question one of the leading lawyers on cryptocurrency tracing and recovery, having worked on very high profile and pioneering cases in this area.

The Legal 500 2022

Syedur Rahman

Syedur Rahman

Partner

syedur.rahman@rahmanravelli.co.uk
+44 (0)203 910 4566 vCard

Syedur Rahman is known for his in-depth experience of serious fraud, white-collar crime and serious crime cases, as well as his expertise in worldwide asset tracing and recovery, international arbitration, civil recovery, cryptocurrency and high-stakes commercial disputes.


Professional Affiliations

  • International Bar Association (IBA)
  • The Law Society
  • American Bar Association (ABA)
  • Fraud Lawyers Association (FLA)
  • European Fraud and Compliance Lawyers (EFCL)

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