The right response to a Serious Fraud Office investigation is all-important. Using expertise and experience to challenge the SFO’s assumptions can determine whether or not it proceeds with a case.
If you are facing investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) your response is of vital importance.
The right approach can make all the difference between the SFO proceeding with a case or dropping it as soon as its conduct or assumptions are questioned or challenged. We speak as a firm with huge amounts of expertise and experience when it comes to acting for corporates, senior executives and high net worth individuals in SFO investigations.
Major investigations involving the SFO are one of the biggest areas of work for Rahman Ravelli. We are adept at knowing exactly when and how to negotiate with the SFO and when to swiftly and robustly challenge aspects of its case and its conduct. At Rahman Ravelli, we do this every day for corporates and senior business figures. At any given time, the most high-profile and challenging SFO cases are part of our workload.
We manage the complexities of a national or multinational investigation so those at the highest levels of business can continue to function as normal. And we make sure we achieve the very best possible conclusion to any SFO investigation. We are problem solvers with a global reach as long as the SFO’s. And the personal touch.
Our skill in dealing with the SFO means we can pinpoint weaknesses in its case and develop the most appropriate strategy for exploiting them. But we are also experts in recognising how and when to engineer an opportunity to negotiate the most favourable outcome, such as a deferred prosecution agreement.
For many individuals or corporates, the first they know of an investigation can be when their premises or home is raided by the SFO. Alternatively, it could be when they receive a Section 2 notice from the SFO or other correspondence from it. The SFO has had as long as it wanted to plan its actions and apply for search warrants and restraint or asset freezing orders. But the right resolution to such a situation can be achieved - if a corporate or individual’s legal team has the right skills.
For years, our teams have been successfully representing clients who are being investigated by the SFO; often in cases that involve a number of countries. A well thought-out, correctly executed approach can see SFO allegations put to the test, leading to them being dropped before either charges are brought or the case goes to trial.
We are known for our ability to conduct internal investigations for major corporate clients to determine what, if any wrongdoing, has occurred. Such investigations then inform the way we manage our dealings with the SFO on a particular case. Matters such as whether to self-report problems and whether to challenge or negotiate are major decisions that can be guided by a properly-conducted internal investigation.
Speed of thought, an ability to focus on the main issues and skilful challenges to the SFO on matters such as the conduct and legality of a raid, admissibility of evidence, use of expert witnesses and the allegations themselves can ensure a client retains what is theirs and does not face prosecution.
The SFO is a unique organisation. It can order individuals to attend interviews, can offer alternatives to prosecution and has been given great scope to investigate and prosecute by legislation such as the Fraud Act 2006 and the Bribery Act 2010.
But the right approach can prevent any harm to the reputation or business of any corporate or high-level individual. We are about navigating an SFO investigation so that it is both conducted and concluded in the best way possible for those we represent.
Aziz Rahman is Senior Partner at Rahman Ravelli and its founder. His ability to coordinate national, international and multi-agency defences has led to success in some of the most significant corporate crime cases of this century and top rankings in international legal guides. He is recognised worldwide as one of the most capable legal experts regarding top-level, high-value commercial and financial disputes.
One of the leading criminal defence firms in the country and its reputation continues to grow, based on its commitment to clients.
The Chambers UK Guide 2022
Challenges facing the Serious Fraud Office
The panel will analyse a range of significant issues currently facing the SFO and, in some cases, its European counterparts.
6 May 2021