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Fraud and Financial Crime

A substantial element of Mark’s practice relates to fraud and financial crime, in which he is regularly instructed as leading counsel. He is “Top Ranked” in the 2019 Chambers and Partners Directory in this field.

He has significant experience defending prosecutions brought by the National Crime Agency, its previous guise as the Serious Fraud Office, and HMRC, in particular allegations of tax evasion fraud and banking and investment fraud.

In addition, he has defended a number of professional lay clients, including accountants, company directors, CEOs and members of the legal profession facing allegations of fraud, corruption and embezzlement.

He is adept at handling cases involving a very large volume of paperwork and distilling the important issues into manageable and comprehensible topics to be presented to a jury simply and with persuasion.

Mark lectured on the hallmarks of fraud, with a particular emphasis on hedge fund and banking fraud, at the 2014 Carmelite International Fraud & Asset Recovery Conference.

Current instructions for 2018/2019 include the defence of a man accused of a £14m phishing/diversion fraud in a trial at Blackfriars, a company director facing allegations of tax evasion in a biofuel fraud and a director accused of trademark infringements and insolvency fraud in a private prosecution brought by a company based in France.

Financial Crime cases of note include:

R v GJ (Derby): Operation X - acted for the first defendant in a multi-handed 9 week trial in which GJ, a solicitor, was alleged to have run a “cash for crash” fraud through his law firm. 5 of the 7 co-accused ran cut-throat defences. They were convicted. GJ was acquitted. The Daily Telegraph. 

R v MF (Southwark): Leading junior for company director accused of cheating HMRC of VAT generated in a construction industry fraud. MF pleaded to substantive VAT Act offences and avoided imprisonment. Two others were convicted of conspiracy to cheat.

R v HS (Southwark): Leading junior for bank manager acquitted of providing mule accounts for money laundering the proceeds of £33m Operation Kadenza diversion fraud.

R v Adams (Woolwich): Acted for defendant accused of facilitating mortgage fraud by his sister and laundering the proceeds. Suspended sentence. The Times and The Mirror

R v Copp (Wood Green): Led junior for company director accused of £44m VAT evasion using payroll companies to pay temporary workers. Confiscation proceedings ongoing. The Daily Mail

R v B (Southwark): Operation Evenbox – defence of Financial Director chartered accountant in 6 month HMRC prosecution alleging illegal tax sheltering against context of international environmental and medical research. Click here for press interest. 

R v Zlaoui (Southwark): Operation Hayrack – acted for a company director accused of bribing the deputy property manager in return for service contracts at a major national institution. The only defendant convicted of corruption to avoid immediate imprisonment.

R v G (Lincoln): Defence of former CEO and “Superhead” of a Federation of Academies accused of embezzlement of public money and manipulation of contracts to employ family members. 10 week trial in Lincoln in which the Crown called over 20 lay witnesses including several Heads and Governors, the Chairman of the Board, a solicitor and an accountant, each of whom were cross-examined with a view to demonstrating a politically driven campaign to discredit the defendant. Acquitted on all counts. Click here for BBC News and local press.  

R v S (Manchester): Operation Doberman - a money laundering operation secreting drug trafficking funds in property purchases and the avoidance of confiscation proceedings. Acquitted at conclusion of Crown’s case.

R v S (Bradford): Operation Bamburgh – large scale mortgage fraud in the North East. Prosecution eventually offered no evidence.

R v C (Birmingham): Operation Lift – multimillion pound money laundering disguising criminal proceeds as the product of trade within the garment industry

R v Woodward (Southwark): Operation Quiver - £6m VAT and Corporation Tax fraud arising out of the creation of false invoices within the Railways Industry artificially reducing company profits and defraying its tax liabilities. Click here for press interest.  

R v CT (Maidstone): Operation Advent - VAT and income tax fraud within the haulage industry facilitated by the creation of false invoices to minimise tax liabilities (retrial pending)

R v SS (Southwark): Operation Barber – leading counsel for a woman accused of a role in a multi-million pound long-firm fraud within the construction industry. Click here for press interest.  

R v P (Manchester): Operation Enigma - acting for a defendant involved in a £200 million money laundering operation in which funds were diverted to Pakistan via travel agencies and money transfer bureaux. Stayed on successful abuse of process application.

R v S (Southwark): Operation Iceman – acted for the first defendant accused of a £5m wine investment fund fraud. Click here for press interest. 

R v Souleiman (CCC): Operation Ninjask – leading counsel for the first defendant, a solicitor, accused of using his law firm to run a £5m sham marriages fraud and a ghost employee tax fraud. Click here for press interest. 

R v U (Southwark): Acting for the first defendant in a £40m money laundering allegation involving the movement of Ukrainian mafia money across Europe to be distributed within the UK. Acquitted. Click here for press interest. 

R v Davies (Kingston): Operation Vaulter - 5 month £30m MTIC trial for the first defendant in a cut-throat with others.

R v PS (Southwark): Operation Tulipbox - Acted for a defendant alleged to have operated a defaulting trader company in a £20m MTIC – the first UK prosecution involving the artificial trade of carbon emission credits. Cut-throat against the controlling minds. Acquitted. Click here for press interest. 

R v H (Bradford): Acted for the first defendant in a £10m Ponzi fraud prosecuted by the SFO, that eventually resulted in a plea deal.

R v Murden (Leeds): Operation District - MTIC fraud involving over 135,000 pages of evidence. Click here for press interest.  

R v Smallman (Middlesbrough): Operation Anaconda - largest DfES prosecution of the director of a distance learning college for fraudulent trading and trading whilst insolvent.

R v Scriven (Wolverhampton): Operation Callous - MTIC via travel agencies.

R v Roope (Worcester): International Advance Fee Fraud prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office

R v IL (Southwark): Boston United Football Club fraud by means of the fabrication of playing and coaching staff FA contracts. Acquitted. Click here for press interest.