Richard Ferry-Swainson

Year of Call: 1994  


Richard Ferry-Swainson is an experienced defence advocate specialising in white collar crime, corruption, fraud and money laundering.

His defence practice covers investigations by the Serious Fraud Office, The City of London Complex Crime Unit and Revenue and Customs. He is regularly instructed in significant, complex and often high profile financial crime cases.

He has a reputation as a highly skilled, measured, forceful and persuasive advocate with great attention to detail.


Richard has particular expertise in confiscation matters brought by the SFO, the ARA and the DTI/BERR (with benefit figures often running to several million), representing clients with complex financial affairs located both within the UK and abroad.


  • R v G: Multi-million pound confiscation matter following a guilty plea in a Trade Mark and Copyright infringement case. Client with complicated financial affairs involving a number of different companies and bank accounts both within the UK and offshore.
  • R v L & Others: Multi-milion pound confiscation matter following a guilty plea to conspiracy to defraud. L and another set up bogus companies to defraud a Government Learning Scheme. L had complex financial affairs with companies and bank accounts in the UK, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar and the USA, together with a company set up in Romania to launder the proceeds of the fraud.

Coroners Inquests

Richard appears on behalf of a variety of clients at inquests. Recent inquests include the death of a 16 year-old young man who, following brain surgery, dived in front of a police car being driven by a young PC, and in another case representing a Chief Inspector and two Sergeants who controlled a firearms incident in which the deceased shot himself. He also represented a Teacher who was one of a number of teachers responsible for an 11 year old child who drowned whilst on a school trip to France, and a Custody Nurse following the death in custody of a man who overdosed on ecstasy.


Richard is also experienced in a wide range of other serious criminal cases, including murder, manslaughter, stabbings, shootings and other offences of violence; multi-handed conspiracies to import and supply drugs; sexual offences including rape, USI, indecent assault, indecency with children; gross indecency and internet child pornography; offences under the Theft Acts including armed robbery and conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary.


  • R v B & Others: 13 handed conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs in the South of England. Following a five month trial, the prosecution case collapsed due to failures in disclosure.
  • R v Q & Others: Conspiracy to supply Class B drugs from a massive cannabis den within the heart of London’s West End, which was closed down following an armed police raid, the largest of its kind in the UK.
  • R v D & Others: Multi-handed conspiracy to supply Class A drugs with the centre of operations in Hull and satellite suppliers elsewhere in the UK. Defendant acquitted.
  • R v H & H: Company Director of an Independent Record Label prosecuted under the Disqualified Directors Act. Defendant acquitted.
  • R v W & Another: Local Government corruption case involving a senior official in the local Borough Council (L) and the Managing Director of a local construction company (W). It was alleged that favours were passed from W to L in return for lucrative local Government construction contracts. Defendant acquitted.


Richard specialises, and has particular expertise, in defending those charged with serious fraud and corporate and financial crime. He has extensive experience and knowledge of: multi-jurisdictional money laundering cases; multi-million pound Stock Market, Inland Revenue, VAT and Clearing Bank frauds; carousel and MTIC frauds; advance-fee frauds; mortgage frauds; construction industry frauds; corporate bribery and corruption cases; and Public Office corruption cases.


  • R v H & Others: instructed on behalf of a global oil and gas company and the Chairman of said company, in an allegation of conspiracy to make corrupt payments. A rogue Managing Director of a subsidiary company had, over a period of five years, been paying bribes to the Global Subsea Safety Adviser at a multi-national oil company in order to retain lucrative multi-million pound contracts for the provision of dive reps on oil platforms all over the world. It was argued that the Chairman had been complicit in these payments and that as the directing mind and will of the company, it too was guilty. Both the Chairman and the Company were found not guilty.
  • R v P & Others: Multi-million pound construction industry fraud which commenced in 2002. When the jury finally returned their verdicts in late February 2004, after some two weeks deliberation (convicting three of the defendants, an Architect and two Professional Quantity Surveyors), it became the longest criminal jury trial in British legal history. The case, with its complexity of issues and vast detail, is already being regarded [and quoted] as one of the finest examples of how a jury can, and should, continue to try fraud cases. Defendant acquitted.
  • R v B & Others: £44 million VAT fraud and money laundering conspiracy. Multi-jurisdictional MTIC fraud involving UK, Ireland, Spain, Dubai and Hong Kong. Fraudsters carried out massive MTIC fraud in UK and then laundered the proceeds around the world. Defendant set up a company in Spain to facilitate the fraud, it was argued. Five out of the six defendants, including a solicitor were convicted. Defendant acquitted.
  • R v L & Others: Conspiracy to defraud Revenue & Customs and money laundering by group of fishermen using the reclaim of hydrocarbon fuel rebates system having manufactured false documents to support their claims. First case of its kind, with four of the six defendants being convicted. Defendant acquitted.
  • R v A & Others: Defendants charged with fraudulent trading and fraudulently removing property having set up company and purported to trade legitimately whilst in reality diverting funds to their own accounts and not paying creditors or employees. Defendant acquitted.
  • R v B & Others: Multi-million pound MTIC and Carousel VAT fraud involving companies in the UK, Belgium, Spain and the UAE, with proceeds of same being laundered both at home and abroad. Separate allegation of money laundering the proceeds of crime on behalf of others by the use of gambling, safety deposit boxes, moving monies between properties and locations outside of the banking system.
  • R v C & Others: £20 million clearing bank fraud and money laundering conspiracy. Multi-jursidictional bank fraud with funds being dissipated through complex series of accounts and companies from UK to Latvia and onward transmission to Dubai. Attempt made to disguise the fraud by the creation of documents purporting to show massive trade in mobile phones.

Military Law

Richard represents members of the armed services at Courts Martial both in the UK and abroad.


Richard has an extensive Regulatory practice.

Richard sits as a Legal Adviser for the following Regulatory bodies:

  • The General Dental Council
  • The Nursing and Midwifery Council
  • The General Chiropractic Council
  • The General Social Care Council (prior to its abolition)
  • The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
  • The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy
  • The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (reserve)
  • Police Misconduct Disciplinary Tribunals

Recent feedback from a Committee Chair it was said, “An excellent performance exceeding standards in every way. Richard had mastered the voluminous bundle of papers. He offered tailored advice at each stage that was succinct but comprehensive. During the in camera sessions he only spoke when asked for some guidance or clarification thus ensuring his independence. His first draft of the reasons was outstanding. It was produced very quickly and needed virtually no amendments. In summary, a splendid performance by a most valuable Legal Adviser.”


  • Association of Regulatory & Disciplinary Lawyers
  • Criminal Bar Association
  • Lincoln’s Inn


  • LLB Hons, King’s College London