Colin Aylott QC

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year of silk :




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Appointed to Queen’s Counsel in 2017. Before taking Silk he was listed by both “Chambers and Partners” and the Legal 500 as one of London’s leading juniors in both fraud and crime.

"A dependable junior popular with instructing solicitors for defending complicated fraud cases...Straightforward in his approach and not a man to panic.” (Chambers and Partners 2017)

“Has a very measured and calm approach.  He’s no-nonsense.” (Chambers and Partners 2016)

“He has a really nice style in court and is really switched on.” (Chambers and Partners 2015)

“A noted junior who acts exclusively for the defence in complex fraud cases." (Chambers and Partners 2013)

“His practice covers the gamut of serious crime” (Legal 500 2016)

“An excellent leading junior counsel.” (Legal 500 2015)

Widely recognised as an expert in crime and serious fraud. He has appeared for the defence in many of the most recent high profile criminal trials in the country including the News International “Operation Elveden” prosecutions and the SFO LIBOR manipulation case. His practice embraces serious fraud, homicide, historic sexual abuse, corruption and international criminal conspiracies.

His expertise in complex fraud and financial crime as leading counsel includes defending allegations of MTIC fraud, fraudulent trading, diversion fraud, boiler room fraud, international money laundering and revenue offences.

He is well known for his ability to marshal large amounts of complex evidence and to identify a clear strategic approach.

His financial and business crime practice encompasses High Court civil restraint proceedings, confiscation and cash seizure proceedings. He defends in prosecutions brought under various regulatory regimes and appears before a range of tribunals and Professional Disciplinary bodies.

In addition he advises companies in relation to money laundering procedures, regulatory compliance and internal corporate investigations.

Equally experienced in all areas of serious crime. His homicide practice spans 15 years and includes contract killings, gang related killings and baby-shaking cases. In recent years he has been regularly instructed as leading counsel in major drug trafficking, allegations of commercial armed robbery, kidnapping, terrorism and serious sexual offences.

He appears regularly before the Court of Appeal and has represented the Government of Mauritius before the Privy Council.

He frequently advises television companies including Channel 4, ITV and Company Pictures on documentary and drama productions.

Called to the bar in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Memberships: South Eastern Circuit, Criminal Bar Association.

Recent cases:

R v Gilmour  - Currently acting as junior counsel for a yen cash broker in the SFO LIBOR manipulation prosecution. This is the SFOs largest ever investigation and the case has attracted global media coverage.  The defendant is alleged to have operated at the heart of the conspiracy to manipulate the Yen LIBOR rate via contacts at various “panel banks”. The Crown alleges that the manipulation provided a UBS and Citibank trader with an advantage in multi-billion yen derivatives trades. Trial expected to conclude in late January 2016. Press links: Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, and BBC News

R v G  - Instructed to act for a chartered surveyor alleged to be party to a high value mortgage fraud. Allegations concern mortgages obtained against high value properties in prestigious Central London locations purchased using companies incorporated in the British Virgin Islands with money advanced through Barclays Private Clients International based in the Isle of Man. The loans obtained exceeded £40 million.  In total fifteen defendants charged and the client said to be one of the prime-movers. 

R v Basra (“Operation Carp” & “Operation Tulipbox”)  - Secured acquittals in two separate trials for a carbon credits trader following the “Operation Tulipbox” and “Operation Carp” investigations. The cases concerned an international carbon credits trading fraud and the defendant’s trades with Deutsche Bank, Gazprom, RBS, Morgan Stanley and other “Blue Chip” companies. The money laundering element of the case was highly complex and included the use of British Virgin Islands based trusts and banking platforms based in Hong Kong, Dubai and New Zealand. The combined alleged losses to the Revenue ran to in-excess of £50 million. Press links: Carbon Pulse and The Daily Mail.  

Operation Chainmail & Crystallite  - Advised and acted for an Investment Banker charged with conspiracy to cheat. The allegations concerned a film investment scheme that was used by “high net-worth” individuals to offset personal tax liabilities. The scheme utilised Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) as investment vehicles  that were allegedly created with the sole purpose of tax avoidance and used by the LLP partners to then fraudulently claim sideways tax relief against their personal tax liabilities arising out their employment.

R v Rollinson (“Operation Hayrack”) – Instructed to represent a defendant charged with laundering the proceeds of corruption linked to the awarding of contracts by the Royal Household. The contracts were for the management of mechanical and engineering work undertaken at the Royal Palaces between 2006-2011. Due to the link with the Royal Household it is anticipated that the case will attract significant media interest. 

Re CE Limited v The Serious Fraud Office  - Instructed by the board and current directors of CE Limited to intervene in judicial review proceedings arising out of an SFO investigation. Former directors of the company were potential defendants in criminal proceedings giving rise to various issues relating to professional legal privilege and the R (Kent Pharmaceuticals) v SFO procedures. This was a complex multi-party judicial review with the underlying allegations relating to the use of fraudulent international holding companies to transfer ownership of various freeholds and thus circumvent UK primary legislation prohibiting the same.   

R v Misick – Turks and Caicos Islands Supreme Court – Acted on behalf of a Turks & Caicos attorney, the brother of the former Chief Minister of the Turks and Caicos Islands (“TCI”) in relation to allegations of money laundering the proceeds of corruption and bribery. Allegation centred on the sale of land to global Hoteliers and Casino companies together with favourable planning authority. This case has attracted worldwide media interest and has been the subject of investigations by the BBC Panorama strand and the Sunday Times.

R v Harris - Southwark Crown Court  - Acted as leading junior defending in a prosecution conducted by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.   Multi-handed [12 defendants] long firm fraud perpetrated by inducing trade suppliers to grant various building companies credit facilities and then folding the companies and creating a new corporate entity. The fraudsters employed corrupt accountants to carry out the numerous liquidations, receiverships and administrations of the “failed companies”. The losses to the various trade creditors ran into the millions.  

R v Khan (“Operation Spallation”) – Acted for a Customs Officer in a series of trials at the Old Bailey in 2014/15. The Crown alleged high level corruption. The defendant was alleged to be the insider providing  “tip-offs” and intelligence to individuals involved in multi-million pound diversion frauds. Crown also alleged the defendant facilitated the grant of licences to the alleged fraudsters to transport and store bonded goods.

S, M & A v G – Instructed to advise and appeared on behalf of a defendant in a Chancery Division fraud claim. The complex litigation concerns allegations relating to an international “boiler room fraud” with multi-jurisdictional evidential issues and worldwide freezing orders. The defendant represented was one of nine defendants to the action with money traced to various banks around the world. Advised in relation to the concurrent civil and criminal proceedings and appeared in interlocutory proceedings before Mr. Justice Smith sitting in the Chancery Division.