Anthony Barnfather

Anthony is one of the UK’s most pre-eminent and highly regarded white-collar and corporate crime solicitors, with extensive experience of defending individuals and businesses in complex cases.

He has an unrivalled reputation as ‘the go-to solicitor to knock a case out at investigation stage and avoid trial’, having an enviable success record second to none.

Recently, Anthony has advised on some of the major investigations brought by UK regulators including the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigations into Rolls Royce, Una Oil, Tata Steel and Capita Oak.

In the last two years, he has been instrumental in bringing three major financial crime prosecutions to an end before trial, often exposing grave failings by prosecutors and resulting in millions of pounds of defence costs being awarded against the Crown.

He has had notable success in some of the largest and high-profile cases brought by regulators including the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Office of Fair Trading now the Competition and Markets Authority (OFT/CMA) HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Anthony is praised by clients and peers for his technical expertise and tactical acumen – providing clear and prompt strategic advice to high profile individuals and corporates. His expertise includes tax investigations both civil and criminal, corporate fraud, bribery and corruption, money laundering, company internal investigations, cartel and price-fixing, extradition, competition (antitrust law) and corporate manslaughter. Many of his cases have a multi-jurisdictional element.

Anthony has been consistently recognised nationally as a ‘leader in the field’ by respected legal guides such as Chambers UK for more than a decade. He has occupied the ‘first tier’ in areas as ‘criminal fraud’, ‘financial crime’ and ‘cartel investigations’  for several years.

Anthony qualified as a solicitor in 1997 and was offered partnership upon qualification. He joined Pannone in 1998 and was head of its 30-strong Regulatory Investigations team before the firm was acquired by Slater & Gordon. Under his leadership, the regulatory team became a national player with an excellent reputation in this area. Anthony also managed a division with more than 60 lawyers and held a seat on the Pannone board.

He founded Barnfather Solicitors in 2015 and joined Richardson Lissack in 2024, Anthony focusses his niche practice on advising and acting for senior individuals such as executive and non-executive board members, leading entrepreneurs and high net worth individuals involved in challenges to corporate governance regimes and regulatory investigations.

Recent Cases

Advised the defendant in an extremely high profile HMRC prosecution in a £130m-plus alleged tax evasion scheme.  The High Court described it as the ‘largest criminal investigation of its kind’. We led a successful application to dismiss the case. Given the gravity of the admitted failings by the prosecution, costs were awarded by the Crown that exceeded £2m in total.

Advised three directors in concurrent criminal and civil cartel investigations launched by the CMA.  It was the first known case where the CMA have actively used covert intelligence to substantiate an investigation.   The case involved alleged cartel activity between three prominent companies in the construction industry. During the investigation one director, who was represented by another firm, was charged and pleaded guilty.  No criminal proceedings were brought against our clients. We represented the company in the subsequent civil investigation and a settlement was agreed with the CMA. We went on to settle civil liabilities for the company.

Advised senior personnel in the Serious Fraud Office investigation into corruption at Rolls Royce. This was a worldwide investigation and added complexity resulted from convictions in the USA of former employees and a Deferred Prosecution Agreement being reached with the group. No proceedings were brought against our clients.

Advised a director in relation to the worldwide Serious Fraud Office investigation into the alleged corrupt activities of Una Oil, a Monaco based advisory company involved in the oil and gas sector. The investigation has recently concluded with no further action taken against our client. Other individuals in connection with the wider allegations have been charged and convicted.

Successfully defended a director in a controversial prosecution brought by the Department of Transport. The defence team always maintained that this was an unlawful prosecution and an abuse of process. Investigations spanned various countries throughout Europe. The case was successfully ended. Normally, in criminal litigation, a successful defendant cannot recover his private costs. However, such was the prosecution’s behaviour the defence team recovered more than £2m in costs.

Advising the directors of large imports and logistics companies in respect of worldwide investigations into the alleged £50m evasion of ‘anti-dumping duties’ imposed by the EU on Chinese manufactured Solar panels. This is the first ‘anti-dumping’ criminal investigation conducted by HMRC.

Advising a senior individual of Tata Steel Europe in a case of alleged fraud by misrepresentation on a massive scale.  The allegations relate to the supply of steel to various manufacturers in all jurisdictions by Tata Steel of Europe.  The Serious Fraud Office and Department of Justice in the United States are investigating this matter.

Instructed by high-net-worth owner managers of a construction group which is subject together with several other UK companies in a large CMA investigation into anti-competitive behaviour. It has been widely publicised in the construction press and millions of documents have been seized. The investigation is expected to conclude towards the end of 2021.

Acting for an individual who is a focus of the Pension Regulator’s first criminal investigation. Our client is said to have created a fraudulent pension scheme in which member funds were invested. The allegation is that the investment was a sham which could not have generated sufficient yields to give a return for the investors.

Advising a prominent businessman who is under investigation by the SFO in respect of his suspected involvement in an alleged pension fraud. The investigation is multijurisdictional and the lead case in a coordinated operation involving the Financial Conduct Authority, HM Revenue & Customs, and led by the Serious Fraud Office under Project Bloom.

Advising an ex-director of a multi-jurisdictional PLC at the inception of an HMRC enquiry. More than 200 officers were deployed to raid various premises throughout the country. HMRC’s investigations are worldwide and focus on what is an alleged a multi-million-pound VAT missing trader fraud (MITC).

Successfully defended a high-profile individual who faced proceedings around the world. HMRC investigated criminal allegations in connection with a £500 million discretionary trust. Successful representations led to the matter concluding in client’s favour.

Advising a UK based, former senior executive of a multi-national listed entity in a criminal investigation by the Indian governments’ Enforcement Directorate.  The case is being investigated in India and has attracted significant media interest.

Notable Historic Cases

Acted for director in the SFO prosecution of O’Neil and others in suspected large-scale cartel activity in the generic drugs market. The SFO prosecuted the case as a conspiracy to defraud. Throughout the proceedings we maintained that conduct was not criminal. Complex legal arguments followed, with the House of Lords deciding against the SFO. The failed prosecution cost the public purse in excess of £50m.

Acted for former finance director in the high-profile iSOFT case. Directors were prosecuted on conspiracy to mislead the market. The case was described as the FSA’s ‘flagship prosecution’. All four directors were acquitted at the end of a second trial.

Acted for a director based in the Middle East in the BAE Systems Saudi international corruption case. The investigation eventually ended in controversial circumstances after the Saudi Government proposed action that was deemed to put UK national security at risk.

Operation Venison – advised managing director in £130m alleged international fraud prosecuted by HMRC. Resulting in a successful three-month abuse of process application leading to the end of proceedings. Several HMRC personnel were subsequently placed under criminal investigation.

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