Prosecutions against individuals and businesses for financial crimes are on the increase. This trend is reflective of recent moves by the Government away from punishing financial misconduct through administrative sanctions, and instead choosing to use the power of the criminal justice system to maintain standards of corporate governance.
Our Criminal Defence Team specialises in legal representation in relation to all types of financial crime and is dedicated to providing our clients with the best possible defence.
In most cases, financial crimes will be prosecuted by specially trained lawyers with experience in dealing with complex financial cases. If found guilty, the consequences can be heavy financial penalties, substantial prison sentences, removal of assets, a criminal record and damage to an individual or business’s reputation. In order to carry out investigations into financial crime, enforcement authorities have at their disposal the powers to arrest, detain and interview individuals under caution, as well as powers to search and seize premises and use compelled interviews. For those accused of financial crimes, it is vital that they have sophisticated and astute legal expertise at hand in order to conduct a robust defence in relation to any charges made against them. The Financial Crime Solicitors at Wilford Smith have the required skills, knowledge and determination to ruthlessly develop a top-level strategy on their client’s behalf, ensuring the best outcome in any case.
What is financial crime?
Financial crime is defined as any criminal conduct that relates to money or to the markets or financial services. Included in this are offences that involve fraud or dishonesty, misuse of information in relation to financial services and the handling of the proceeds of crime. Examples of financial crime include bribery and corruption, tax evasion, insider dealing, accounting misstatements and abuse and manipulation of the financial markets.
Financial crime is not just a concern for large multinational corporations; it is a concern throughout the corporate environment. From global organisations to small companies and partnerships, all businesses are subject to legal restrictions on how they conduct their financial affairs. As such, the expert legal advice provided by the Financial Crime Solicitors at Wilford Smith can prove invaluable to anyone operating a business, whatever the size.
How does the Government target financial crime?
Over the course of recent years, there has been a movement towards greater numbers of prosecutions for crimes committed by businesses in relation to their financial dealings. So as to better protect the public and to encourage businesses to engage in more ethical financial practices, the Government has introduced laws that change how those convicted of financial crimes are dealt with.
In some instances, this has meant creating offences to punish illegal practices, such as the Bribery Act 2010, which makes it a corporate offence to fail to prevent bribery. Similarly, the Criminal Finance Bill will make it an offence for a business to fail to prevent tax evasion. In other cases, the Government has sought to pass laws that encourage businesses to report criminal dealings, such as the introduction of Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs) that allow companies to avoid criminal charges if they agree to comply with certain conditions.
The Government has also put forward plans to extend corporate criminal liability due to concerns that state enforcement agencies are not currently able to effectively prosecute businesses in relation to crimes such as fraud, false accounting and money laundering, and concerns that companies are not properly held to account for criminal dealings by members of their staff.
What is clear from this is that financial crime is an extremely complex area of law. With years of experience in handing the most complex financial cases on behalf of our clients, we are best placed to advise you on regulatory issues, bring and defend claims on your behalf and conduct your defence in court where necessary. For individuals and businesses targeted in relation to their corporate financial dealings, the process can be a traumatic and disruptive one. As well as impacting upon the business itself, the stress of such an investigation will be felt by employees and family members as well. Wilford Smith’s Financial Crime Team is dedicated to providing a high level professional service that is tailored to your particular circumstances and needs, giving you pragmatic and easy to understand legal advice to help reassure you and those around you.
How we represent our clients
The legal specialists in criminal defence at Wilford Smith are experts in advising on all aspects of financial crime including corporate crime, fraud, regulatory and compliance, advising both directors and employees on issues such as bribery and corruption, insider trading, cartels, tax investigations, proceeds of crime and money laundering. We are able to provide representation for those attending interviews under caution or interviews under compulsion, provide guidance on managing risks to reputation resulting from regulatory investigations or prosecutions, and assisting companies who choose to make voluntary disclosures to regulatory bodies, referred to as self reporting. Wilford Smith’s Criminal Defence Solicitors, with expert knowledge and skills in representing clients in relation to financial crimes, take a ruthless approach to ensure the best possible outcome in any case.
Contact our Financial Crime Defence Lawyers, England and Wales
Our team of solicitors appears in court regularly, providing representation from the first hearing through to trial, dealing with a full range of cases involving accusations of financial criminal activity. Wilford Smith’s Criminal Defence Team takes pride in its reputation for unique representation, giving our clients a service that is exceptionally strategic and results driven, and is able to attract the highest calibre barristers to provide support when necessary. We know how distressing a criminal investigation can be and will ensure that you are given sympathetic, straightforward advice as part of our client focused and highly personal service.
Contact our specialist Financial Crime Team today on 01709 828 044 to find out how we can help.