Clifford Chance

Expertise & Experience

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The global nature of our clients' businesses and an increasingly aggressive enforcement environment require an understanding of complex, overlapping and sometimes contradictory international regulations and regulatory approaches. Our Regulatory Investigations, Enforcement and White Collar team advises clients on how to avoid the risks posed by government and regulatory investigations and prosecutions and guides them through these proceedings when they arise.

We are able to assemble teams of experts who have the skills and experience to help you manage the significant legal, commercial and reputational risks associated with regulatory and white collar crime issues. We are leaders in the field, and are known and respected by regulators and industry groups across different jurisdictions.

We have experience of all the key areas of business and financial services regulation and we can advise on regulatory enforcement and criminal investigations into corporate activity across multiple jurisdictions. We also have expertise in the recovery of the proceeds of fraud through civil court actions and liaising with criminal investigators. We benefit from having in-house forensic accountants.

Our clients in these fields include leading businesses and global financial institutions, professional bodies, governments and international organisations, as well as individuals from the business community and public bodies.

International expertise

Across our international network of offices we combine first class local expertise with the ability to provide a cross-border team that can manage complex multi-jurisdictional projects.

We have particular experience of acting for banks and corporations in cross-border investigations into breaches of securities law, misselling, market abuse, money laundering, compliance failings and economic sanctions contraventions. Our criminal expertise centres on financial and economic crime, including, bribery and corruption, insider dealing money laundering and fraud.

We have represented leading clients in proceedings involving law enforcement agencies, regulators, and other investigators in the US, the EU, the Middle East and Asia.

The team includes former regulators and prosecutors from many different agencies.

Our expertise covers:

Regulatory investigations and enforcement: Across our network, we regularly assist the world’s leading businesses in responding to regulatory challenges. We have the experience to advise clients on how to avoid the risk of intervention by governmental agencies and regulators, and to guide them through the difficult tactical and commercial decisions that they will face if investigations arise. We can draw upon our firm’s broad expertise in the laws and practices governing different markets and sectors. We proactively assist clients by providing a seamless global service tailored to their cross-border business operations. For major cross border investigations we can provide central coordination and project management.

Our experience includes representing clients in investigations and disciplinary proceedings brought by the principal regulatory and criminal authorities in the US, the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Although our expertise is most frequently sought by clients facing investigation from financial services regulators, we are also instructed on some of the most high profile and sensitive investigations in other areas (as the first example on the right demonstrates).

Our reputation in this area is such that leading regulators have also instructed us to carry out investigations on their behalf.

Internal investigations: An institution that discovers potential violations must make important choices as to how to investigate them. These will determine the speed, effectiveness and credibility of the investigation, as well as its cost.

We understand the issues that our clients face in these circumstances and we regularly conduct investigations for some of the world’s leading businesses. We have the expertise to help our clients focus on the outcomes that they want to achieve and to advise them on the issues that are often associated with internal investigations, such as reputation management or disciplinary action against employees.

Our global team is highly skilled in the conduct of interviews, document search and analysis and report writing. We have considerable experience of advising on local law limitations on internal investigations and the provision of documents and information to foreign investigation authorities. Our team are sensitive to such local law limitations as employment and data privacy laws and well versed in bank secrecy laws.

Our multi-disciplinary teams of lawyers and forensic accounting specialists work with IT systems that are specifically set up to conduct and manage the most complex internal investigations. Our extensive skill base, infrastructure and support network enables us to conduct assignments reliably and cost-effectively.

Criminal investigations and prosecution: In many jurisdictions, the business community increasingly faces the risk of criminal liability, in areas of the law that did not previously present such risks. There is also an increased level of cooperation amongst agencies in different countries, and a willingness to use criminal powers instead of regulatory sanctions.

Our clients may therefore face the risk of parallel criminal investigations in different jurisdictions. They may also be confronted with a range of different criminal, regulatory and civil liabilities that arise from the same allegations.

We have extensive experience of helping clients manage these challenges. We have particular expertise in large scale, multijurisdictional investigations relating to issues such as employee fraud, sanctions violations, corruption and competition law.

As with other types of investigation, we can combine the expertise of specialist lawyers in particular jurisdictions with the ability to coordinate teams across borders.

Anti-money laundering: We can address the full range of anti-money laundering issues across our network.

We have been at the forefront of anti-money laundering compliance ever since financial institutions were first called upon to maintain AML systems in the early 1990s. Lawyers from our financial services and litigation practice areas are recognised as experts in this field and we have helped institutions across the globe implement systems and provide training to their staff. We also readily advise on money laundering issues in the context of pre-acquisition due diligence.

We have represented banks and other organisations in cross border money laundering investigations, with particular experience of transatlantic enquiries. We also represent firms in regulatory investigations into AML systems and controls.

We have the resources and experience to act quickly across jurisdictions so that our clients can respond robustly to this type of crisis.

Sanctions and export controls: Through our offices in Washington, London, the UAE and across Europe and Asia, Clifford Chance has a unique capability to counsel international banks and corporates on the full range of sanctions, export controls and related regulatory risks under US, EU, and other locally applicable laws.

We provide expert advice on matters arising under the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions programs, Export Administration Regulations (EAR), International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), Antiboycott Regulations, US Customs regulations, and other US and international laws and regulations governing trade, payments, and investment transactions.

Our core clients include the world’s largest financial institutions, particularly major non-US banks with significant operations in the US, and other multinational enterprises at high risk under US/EU sanctions, export controls, and anti-corruption laws.

We have exceptional experience in conducting economic sanctions and export controls due diligence reviews and investigations as well as providing clients with ongoing regulatory advice in these areas.

Anti-bribery and corruption: Clifford Chance has unmatched capabilities and experience in providing cross-border anti-corruption advice to multinational corporations and financial institutions.

The emergence of international initiatives against corruption (as well as new legislation in many countries) poses a significant threat to businesses and to individuals within the business community.

In the UK and many other jurisdictions, businesses are now required to implement and enforce anti-corruption policies. Furthermore, a business that discovers that its agents or employees may have been implicated in corrupt activities will face a number of difficult challenges. These will include questions as to how best to investigate and stop those activities. It will also need to consider the steps that it must take to minimise the risks of criminal liability and regulatory sanctions, as well as the actions that are needed to reduce the risks of civil claims from contractual counter-parties.

Our team, which includes former government regulators and prosecutors, has extensive experience of advising on all of these actions, as well as issues that may arise under related areas of the law, such as money laundering legislation.

We can help our clients identify and address risks before they escalate. Specifically, we can assist in the design, implementation and testing of compliance policies and controls; perform due diligence reviews and conduct internal investigations. In cases where problems do arise, we can represent clients in regulatory and criminal investigations, jury trials and other proceedings.

Directory listings and client comments

  • Excellent team spanning numerous jurisdictions including the UK and China. Practice includes anti-money laundering, economic sanctions and fraud investigations. Praised for its banking investigations practice but also prominent in a range of other sectors. Comfortable handling cross-border
    investigations and interfacing with a variety of authorities.
    "They are excellent,adding: "They have the people, the facilities and the back-up."
    Chambers Global 2017: Corporate Investigations – Band 1
  • Clifford Chance LLP remains 'right at the top of the very competitive group' of London corporate crime teams.
    Legal 500 2016: Corporate Crime (including Fraud. Bribery and Corruption) – Tier 1