Colin Aylott QC

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cv & downloads

Fraud and Financial Crime

Click here to download Colin Aylott QC's specialist Fraud CV. 

Recent cases include: 

SFO Unaoil Investigation – Instructed pre-charge to act for an oil industry executive in relation to an ongoing SFO investigation into the activities of Petrofac PLC and Unaoil. The SFO investigation is focusing on allegedly corrupt payments made to secure the award of multi-million dollar government oil industry contracts in Iraq. The case involves special Treasury funding indicating that it is in the top tier SFO investigations.

R v Copp - Instructed as Queen’s Counsel for a company director charged with a complex VAT fraud. Four handed alleged conspiracy to cheat the public revenue of VAT of £35 million. The allegations concerned the use of a series of umbrella companies to steal VAT paid on company payrolls. The prosecution case alleged that the companies controlled by the defendants were used to divert both VAT and tax relief otherwise payable to workers supplied through recruitment agencies. Press articles in the Daily Mail, The Sun and The Mirror

R v Gilmour  - Junior counsel for a yen cash broker in the SFO LIBOR manipulation prosecution. The case followed the SFOs largest ever investigation and the trial attracted global media coverage.  The defendant was alleged to have operated at the heart of the conspiracy to manipulate the Yen LIBOR rate via contacts at various LIBOR panel banks. The Crown asserted that the manipulation provided a UBS and Citibank trader with an advantage in numerous multi-billion yen derivatives trades. After a four month trial before Hamblen LJ the defendant was acquitted. Press articles in the Bloomberg, The Financial Times and The New York Times

R v Spence – Instructed to act for one of the directors of the London Fields Brewery. The company was one of the first and most successful of the craft microbreweries that have been established in recent years. The defendant was charged with a range of offences relating to tax avoidance by the company. Due to the company’s high profile and strong brand image the case has attracted significant media attention Listed for trial January 2017. Press articles in the The Telegraph and Evening Standard: Evening Standard - London Fields Brewery boss and wife 'cheated on £730,000 tax bill' and Evening Standard - Brewery boss in tax trial had £3m drug bust debt wiped out

R v C  - Instructed as leading counsel on behalf of a partner level accountant charged together with three others with VAT fraud. The case concerns the alleged use of two large engineering and telecommunications companies that had been contracted to install broadband for BT Carillion Telent to defraud HMRC. The contracts were worth in-excess of £15m. The Crown’s case is that the conspirators set-up a series of bogus companies that were then sub-contracted to provide labour to the two main contractors. The bogus companies were utilised to avoid evade the payment of more than £1 million. Trial at Southwark Crown Court 2018

R v G  - Instructed to act for a chartered surveyor alleged to be party to a high value mortgage fraud. Allegations related to £40 million mortgage advances loaned against high value properties in prestigious Central London locations purchased using companies incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. In total fifteen defendants charged and client said to be one of the prime-movers. Client acquitted.

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 articles in 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 R (“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.

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.

R v W  - Allegation of conspiracy to defraud relating to a sophisticated property fraud. The conspirators using insiders at the Land Registry, Banks and solicitors hijacked the ownership of a number of high value London properties and sold them. The fraud generated millions of pounds that was then laundered or used to finance multi-kilo cocaine deals.. The defendant after a trial at Southwark CC was acquitted.