Ben Richardson has extensive experience representing corporates and individuals in white collar crime and Regulatory investigations, as well as proceedings brought by government prosecution agencies.
Ben is the Managing Director of the firm and Head of the Corporate Crime and Investigations department. He is instructed almost exclusively by corporations and company executives in relation to white collar crime, civil, regulatory and internal investigations. He receives regular instructions from clients who are the subject of Account Freezing Orders, Restraint Orders or Worldwide Freezing Orders.
Ben is regularly instructed by corporates and individuals who are the subject of criminal investigations for fraud, bribery, money laundering and other financial crime, brought by government prosecuting agencies. He is able to immediately establish the core issues of the case, and provide advice which is concise and incisive. He is instructed in cases that enter foreign jurisdictions which has resulted in him developing links with lawyers in Europe, the U.S and other jurisdictions. This has become invaluable for clients who are the subject of a complex investigation which involves an international element, in and outside of Europe.
Ben is sought by corporations to conduct Firmwide Risk Assessments (‘FWRA’) which in many cases result in further instructions for internal investigations, the drafting of policies and procedures, including AML, ABC and further compliance advice. Ben is described by his clients as tenacious, sharp and tactically astute; a Solicitor who is unflappable, fearless and able to offer first class advice in some of the most difficult cases. He prides himself on his discreet representation of his clients and his ability to bring investigations to a close whilst avoiding charges.
SFO v B
Ben acted for a client who was the subject of an SFO investigation in respect of Luis Michael Limited. This company was ultimately prosecuted for a £5m apprenticeship fraud scheme that targeted colleges, charities, football clubs and sports associations. Our client received notification of no further action being taken against him after following advice provided by Ben.
FCA & SEC v P Ltd
Ben recently advised a corporate client in respect of a joint operation by the Financial Conduct Authority (UK) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (US) in respect of an overseas request for information, which related to transactions between our client and a global provider of medical technology.
Ben represented a company executive in respect of an internal investigation, arising out of allegations of bribery and corruption, linked to contracts for oil and gas in the Middle East with Far East Corporations.
HMRC v P
Instructions in a £330 million offshore debt case against HMRC. HMRC appointed liquidators to recover monies from companies based in Jersey, Gibraltar, and Guernsey. The case is currently proceeding in the High Court with allegations of civil fraud being defended.
HMRC v B
Criminal investigation into the ‘Paradise Papers’ which appeared on Panorama. The case involves the allegation of a £124 million pound fraud relating to tax evasion. This is an ongoing criminal investigation into an allegation that concerns the ‘rich and famous’ who have placed assets into offshore trusts in an alleged attempt to evade tax.
R v B
This case involved a multinational construction company which was at the centre of a bribery and corruption allegation. The allegation was that our client, together with other persons engaged as Costs Advisors and Project Managers by NHS Health Board falsified financial records which were produced to the Health Board, NHS Facility Services, and the NHS Specialist Services Unit.
R v B
This case was one of the longest fraud trials in the UK. Ben was instructed by the lead defendant in this case. He was assisted by Bridie Kelley and Jessica Merron plus a team of 4 other lawyers. This case lasted 12 months at trial in the Crown Court at Liverpool. Our client was charged with 25 counts of fraud and money laundering including conspiracy to defraud. The offences took place over a 14 year period whilst he was a director of a luxury nursing home in the North of England.
It was alleged that this was done in order to show that costs incurred in the redevelopment project of a hospital aligned with budget figures in the region of £89.9m which were identified in Outline and Formal Business Cases and to show that the project was not subject to financial risk when this was not the case. This firm acted for this client during the investigation stage providing strategic advice and submitted documentary evidence which assisted in the avoidance of charge.
FCA v CCL
FCA investigation into company suspected of breaches of Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. Ben was instructed by a corporate client in relation to an FCA investigation. Our client’s business was involved in internet comparison websites. The FCA alleged that the company were in breach of FSMA s19 as they believed that they were conducting regulated activities by advising their clients in respect of insurance deals. Our pre charge investigation work resulted in the FCA ceasing its investigation into our client. We were able to show that our client’s activities were not regulated activities and therefore a prosecution was not lawful.
R v C
Ben is instructed in this matter brought by National Trading Standards which is the first of its kind. The prosecution is in relation to the secondary ticket market. Ben acts for one of the alleged controlling minds of the main companies who sell tickets using the secondary ticket platform Viagogo.
City of London Police v M
Defended client against City of London Police and Crown Prosecution Service in relation to a Restraint Order which was successfully discharged. The Crown were ordered to pay clients full costs due to its failure in its duty of candour.
SKAT (the Danish Customs and Tax Administration) v Solo Capital Investments Ltd
Instructed in the £1.5 billion pound commercial fraud which involves Cum-Ex trades. SKAT allege that our client has been involved in the facilitation of fraud and money laundering offences which have resulted in the huge loss to the Danish tax payer. The allegation centres around taxes being reclaimed from SKAT in respect of dividends for shareholders of companies who reside in foreign jurisdictions. The case was dismissed last year and costs were awarded to the respondents.
R v S
Ben was instructed to defend this client in relation to an alleged boiler room fraud which was selling carbon credits. The client is a director of two companies which are alleged to be involved in the said fraud. One of the companies is alleged to be a vehicle to launder the proceeds of the fraud and is known as a clearing company for the shares which were bought by individuals. The case had highly complex issues relating to disclosure and third party production orders in foreign jurisdictions such as US and France.
HMRC v EC Ltd
Ben represented 2 company directors in respect of an investigation into an allegation of VAT fraud. After written representations to HMRC, the decision was made to withdraw the criminal investigation and continue with a civil investigation.
City of London Police v BW Ltd
Instructed by company BW which was subject of an AFO. After written representations to the police, the decision was made to discharge the Order and release the frozen accounts.
Other notable cases
R v W – Gross Negligence Manslaughter – Ben represented a client at the Old Bailey charged with gross negligence manslaughter. The case was referred to him after the client had been charged. The client was charged alongside a number of other defendants linked to a death which occurred at a commercial dry cleaning company. Our client was the director of the company which owned the building that housed the dry cleaners. After a lengthy trial, our client was acquitted of all charges against her.
R v P – Defended client in a farming fraud.
R v Mc – Defended client in a customs and excise fraud.
R v A – Defended client in a pension liberation scheme fraud.
R v T – Defended client in Fraud against X-factor runner up.
R v H – Large scale multi-handed conspiracy – Insurance fraud.
R v B – Acted for client who had a third-party interest in assets that were subject of a multi-million pound Proceeds of Crime application.
Foreign jurisdiction and Extradition cases
France v P – client wanted in France for importation of around 4 tonnes of illegal cigarettes. The intervention stopped a European arrest warrant being issued for the client.
G v De Schie Prison Netherlands – Human rights case. Ben attended the Netherlands to act for this client in this matter against a prison in Rotterdam.
The Netherlands v W – Extradition from the UK to the Netherlands. The client was facing charges of murder in the Netherlands.
Slovenia v P – Extradition to Slovenia to face charges of Fraud.