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Civil Fraud & Asset Recovery

The highly ranked Civil Fraud and Asset Recovery team at Pinsent Masons acts on behalf of businesses and individuals to trace assets and to recover stolen money when fraud occurs.

Should a critical incident occur, our rapid response team act immediately to shut down threats and to recover assets swiftly. 

Our highly experienced civil fraud lawyers have acted on the full spectrum of fraud matters: from domestic internal employee fraud to major cross-border investment fraud as well as offshore and onshore trust litigation. It is a true Crisis Management team.

The fight against fraud

Fraud impacts on a wide range of businesses and individuals across the world. The National Fraud Authority in June 2013 estimated that fraud costs the UK economy £52 billion. The cost to the rest of the world is likely to be valued in the trillions.

Whilst prevention is always the best cure, once a business or individual finds itself caught up in a fraud, it is imperative that specialist solicitors are instructed to ensure the fraud is investigated and assets are safeguarded and recovered without delay.

Our team of specialist Civil Fraud and Asset Recovery experts have an in-depth understanding of fraud in a wide range of sectors and industries.

We are accustomed to dealing with situations of crisis and often utilise our knowledge and resources at short notice to ensure clients are provided with the support they need.

How we can help

The team has advised on numerous domestic and international fraud cases to recover stolen assets including by way of:

  • Obtaining and responding to freezing orders (injunctions) and worldwide freezing orders;
  • Obtaining and responding to search and seize orders;
  • Obtaining disclosure orders and Norwich Pharmacal orders; and
  • Conducting internal investigations.

We are also experienced in conducting comprehensive risk assessments on behalf of our clients. Once the relevant risks are identified, we work closely with our clients to implement a detailed fraud prevention policy covering prevention, detection and response.

We also work closely with the Corporate Crime team at Pinsent Masons to provide holistic, joined-up advice as to the civil and criminal implications of fraud.

We also have vast experience working with defendants facing fraud allegations. We work closely with our clients to advise and act on all stages of defending a fraud claim to a successful conclusion.

What others say

Winner of the Legal 500 UK Firm of the year 2018 for Crime, Fraud and Licensing.

Chambers and Partners 2018 say:

  • "They are a very good, strong fraud team. They know absolutely what they are doing. The tenacious and creative Alan Sheeley acts for banks and businesses in large-scale, complex fraud disputes. Sources say he is fantastically energetic and adept at looking at all of the options."

Legal 500 2018 say:

  • Pinsent Masons LLP provides ‘a faultless level of service, carefully outlining all threats and opportunities’ and ‘managing each case with consummate ease’. The group has significant expertise in obtaining freezing, disclosure and passport delivery up orders, and regularly deals with fraud committed in offshore jurisdictions. Alan Sheeley is a star when it comes to litigation and the right partner for a tough case. Alan stands out as brilliant - he knows how to achieve his clients’ objectives and fights hard for them.”

Chambers and Partners 2017 say:

  • Alan Sheeley heads the civil fraud practice and assists banks, businesses and individuals with complex fraud-related matters. Market observers characterise him as a "very bright" and "sensible" tactician, who "does not give up easily and is willing to stick with something through thick and thin."

Legal 500 2017 say:

  • Alan Sheeley's practice at Pinsent Masons LLP specialises in complex international fraud and is highly regarded for its technological innovation. The team acts for RBS and LLB Verwaltung."

Chambers and Partners 2016 say:

  • Alan Sheeley, Head of Civil Fraud and Asset Recovery, is "a dynamic, energetic lawyer" who is "really tenacious and focused on clients." Clients consider him to be "commercial and good to work with." He leads the firm's international civil fraud practice and regularly advises on offshore and international matters.

Legal 500 2016 say:

  • "Alan Sheeley's practice at Pinsent Masons LLP specialises in complex international fraud and is highly regarded for its technological innovation. The team acts for RBS and LLB Verwaltung."

Chambers and Partners 2015 say:

  • Alan Sheeley is an expert in obtaining freezing orders, disclosure orders and asset tracing. One client comments: "He grasps complex situations very quickly, comes up with creative strategies and solutions, and is incredibly tenacious."

Legal 500 2015 say:

  • "Alan Sheeley now heads the ‘committed’ department at Pinsent Masons LLP. The team acts for corporates on a wide range of fraud matters; key clients include Platebright, 4 Eng and Aeroflot-Russian Airlines."

Who’s Who Legal Asset Recovery 2018 say: 

  • Alan has a wealth of experience handling both onshore and offshore trust litigation. According to sources, “He is very practical and creative and clients love him.”

Our clients say:

  • “Their advice was highly commercial, well directed and well founded. They quickly built up a relationship of trust with the client. I have a very positive impression of Pinsent Masons."
  • “They're highly competent human beings and passionate about what they do. They have no shortage of expertise to call on.” 
  • “The team has strength in depth with ready access to a wide range of specialisms, which is essential in complex fraud cases.”
  • “They were supportive every step of the way. They really held our hand through the process and kept us informed of our options all the way.”
  • "The service was excellent; it was their attention to detail, their thoroughness and the amount of information they had to consume from us and which they then had to process in their own minds. They were extremely good at spelling out the options and providing recommendations which was exactly what we needed.”

Our experience

Recent examples of our work include:

  • Advising a Swiss Bank on a multi-party, cross-jurisdictional fraud claim brought by a Maltese company and a Panamanian company. The claim relates to an action involving international fraudsters and the theft of €100m.
  • Acting for a company which had been defrauded by a director and majority shareholder and obtaining a without notice freezing order, proprietary injunction and prohibitory injunction against the director within four days of being instructed.
  • Acting on behalf of a law firm and trust companies based in an offshore jurisdiction in an internal investigation of suspected senior employee fraud estimated at £15 million.
  • Acting on behalf of overseas guardians of a high net worth individual in a £multi-million claim.
  • Acting on behalf of a major listed construction company in relation to an internal investigation concerning suspected employee fraud following a report from a whistleblower.
  • Acting for a high net worth individual and offshore company in a £multi-million unfair prejudice dispute where serious allegations of misconduct and fraud were made against the respondents.
  • Acting for a global outsourcing company in respect of a fraud which occurred involving its client, our client's Bangalore office and as yet unidentified individuals. Our work included conducting an internal investigation and successfully obtaining Norwich Pharmacal Orders against third parties
  • Acting for the English subsidiary of a global transportation company on an internal investigation into a suspected procurement fraud by a senior employee.
  • Acting for a well-known high-end retail company in relation to a procurement fraud.
  • Acting for a family trust tracing monies lost in investment frauds which have involved multiple disclosure orders, proceedings in offshore jurisdictions and freezing orders  against the defendants’ assets.
  • Acting for a consultancy in relation to allegations of theft of confidential information and assisting with the internal investigation and managing litigation risk.
  • Acting on a large cross-border fraud perpetrated by a former director/employee. We advised on asset tracing in the UK, Switzerland, Cyprus and Russia.
  • Acting on a directors’ dispute involving a Bermudan registered UK listed company. The dispute involved the misappropriation of the company’s main asset.
  • We act for a UK bank defending an ‘MTIC fraud’ claim valued at over £145 million, brought by various companies in liquidation and those companies’ liquidators.  The claimants allege that the bank dishonestly participated in transactions involving the sale and purchase of carbon credits.

To learn more about our work, contact a member of our team.