Richard Kovalevsky QC

Year of Call: 1983  Silk: 2003  


Overview


Richard specialises in white collar defence, corruption, fraud and money laundering. He is listed in the current edition of Chambers & Partners as a Leading Silk in the categories of ‘Financial Crime’, ‘Financial Crime Corporates and ‘Crime’: in the current Legal 500 he is listed as a Leading Silk in ‘Business and Regulatory Crime (Including Global Investigations)’ and in ‘Fraud: Crime (Including Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture)’.

Richard’s extensive experience and defence practice covers investigations and prosecutions by the Serious Fraud Office, the Financial Conduct Authority and Revenue and Customs in areas including taxation issues, VAT fraud, diversion, fraudulent trading, Companies Act offences, market manipulation, insider dealing, money laundering and restraint/confiscation proceedings.

Richard advises and represents companies, directors and individuals, nationally and internationally, on a wide range of issues which have a criminal or regulatory connection. He has wide experience of dealing with unusual issues and of the complexities which can and do arise in multi-jurisdictional cases.

Fraud


White Collar Defence / Business Crime / Bribery & Corruption including corporate investigations :

Richard has broad expertise in this area. Advice and representation has regularly been provided in cases involving matters investigated by the FCA, SFO and other Regulators. This includes:

R v Sir David Jones, represented Sir David, SFO prosecution concerning allegation of market manipulation and fraud whilst CEO of JJB Sports.

R v G, represented CEO, Inland Revenue prosecution concerning design and sale of tax mitigation schemes.

iSoft, represented former Finance Director /CEO of the PLC, FCA prosecution concerning allegations of market manipulation focussed on the activities of the main Board in its application of accounting standards, accounting practices, the PLC’s announcements and dealings with the City as regards financial information.

R v W, represented W a member of the board of a Bank (UMBS) prosecuted on the basis that the Bank had trading fraudulently in certain aspects of its operations. It was also the prosecution’s case that the Bank was involved in Money Laundering arrangements. This aspect of the case involved allegations extending into reporting duties of Directors in the Regulated Sector. The fraudulent trading allegations ran to hundreds of millions sterling and involved banking activities in several jurisdictions.

R v Securiplan & Sabrewatch, Security Industry Authority prosecution, appeared on behalf of CEO’s of both companies charged with regulatory breaches relating to deployment of security guards at prominent locations throughout the country.

R v C, advised and represented C, a director of an Australian company charged with serious allegations concerning computer misuse.

R v MM, represented both the CEO and Financial Director of a well-known internet retailer for allegations concerning computer misuse directly involving competitors.

R v W, Acted for Mr W an accountant with a large accountancy firm regarding the production and submission of fraudulent company accounts. The case concerned income tax and CGT.
R v W, represented CEO, Inland Revenue prosecution concerning PAYE National Insurance fraud involving several corporate entities.

R v L, represented the major shareholder and founder of Speed Medical in a matter involving allegations concerning commission payments between solicitors, medical agencies and insurers. The case focussed on issues of abuse of process.

R v B, represented B, a prominent political figure in relation to allegations concerning several regulatory breaches of planning laws concerning renovation of a listed country house and estate. The case focussed on abuse of process.

R v K, represented K, a well-known individual in the music industry in a case involving an allegation of theft of high value land over a 40 year period. The matter was complicated by the fact that K’s solicitor was also charged as an aider and abettor.

R v N and Stannard, represented N at trial and Stannard on appeal, fraud allegation concerning an international tax scheme involving purchase of shipping companies using trusts and banks in several jurisdictions.

Bribery and corruption: Richard became engaged in this area of law and practice prior to the Bribery Act coming into force and gained significant experience in investigations and allegations concerning the C.I.S. He is the co-author of ‘thebriberyact.com’ which has been recognised by the SFO as a leading UK on-line resource. In the UK Richard has advised companies and individuals as required and engaged with the SFO on behalf of clients when necessary. The scope of involvement in addition to the UK now includes the US, Bermuda, BVI, Malaysia and China. Richard has chaired televised discussions for Lexis-Nexis as part of their ‘Experts’ subscription web cast series for the Legal Profession; shared speaking platforms with the Serious Fraud Office, been a panel member in several US/UK ‘webinar’ events and lectured senior executives of various Oil companies in the USA on international Bribery and Corruption issues. Once again there are sensitivities as to client identity in this area of work, to give a flavour of matters dealt with examples include:

R v Pyatt, represented the South East senior Crime Reporter for The Sun Newspaper as part of the operation Elveden corruption prosecutions.

R v Larcombe, represented the Royal Editor of The Sun Newspaper as part of the operation Elveden corruption prosecutions.

Advice to an AIM listed company concerning their planned acquisition of a target company operating in the defence industry. The ‘advice’ including interviewing of the board of the target concerning bribery and corruption risks in several overseas jurisdictions.

Settlement discussions with the SFO on behalf of shareholders of a UK PLC resulting in an agreed settlement.

Advice to an African company over issues affecting it, caused by problems encountered by its supplier, a major European Corporation engaged with a joint-venture company based in China.

Advice to a director and shareholder of a company as regards potential exposure of its historic operations in the Far East.

 

Advisory


Advising clients in situations of potential risk:

Over the last few years Richard has regularly been asked to provide legal and tactical advice to individuals and companies, this has often involved unusual factual circumstances, Due to the nature of this work it is not possible to give any detail which may identify his clients, current retentions include two international corruption investigations being conducted by the SFO, a matter concerning corporate data protection issues and advising a PLC in the banking sector relation to banking issues.

Matters recently concluded include:

Advice to an individual in dealing with a significant HMRC criminal tax enquiry

Advice given to a political figure in relation to a UK financial enquiry.

Advice given to a foreign national concerning the theft of a valuable company asset located overseas from a company in which the foreign national was the major shareholder and director, the alleged theft being accompanied by contemplated extradition proceedings from the UK.

Advice given to a Swiss company regarding an investigation by the FCA concerning share trades.

Advice to a UK PLC in the Energy sector.

Advice given to a major UK Construction PLC concerning the position of a subsidiary company in the context of potential criminal allegations against that subsidiary company.

Advice given to members of a prominent overseas family in the context of assets in the UK and other jurisdictions which were threatened with confiscation in circumstances which were unusual.

Advice given to an individual concerning the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility.

Business Crime


White Collar Defence / Bribery & Corruption including corporate investigations / Business Crime:

Richard has broad expertise in this area. Advice and representation has regularly been provided in cases involving matters investigated by the FCA, SFO and other Regulators. This includes:

R v Sir David Jones, represented Sir David, SFO prosecution concerning allegation of market manipulation and fraud whilst CEO of JJB Sports.

R v G, represented CEO, Inland Revenue prosecution concerning design and sale of tax mitigation schemes.

iSoft, represented former Finance Director /CEO of the PLC, FCA prosecution concerning allegations of market manipulation focussed on the activities of the main Board in its application of accounting standards, accounting practices, the PLC’s announcements and dealings with the City as regards financial information.

R v W, represented W a member of the board of a Bank (UMBS) prosecuted on the basis that the Bank had trading fraudulently in certain aspects of its operations. It was also the prosecution’s case that the Bank was involved in Money Laundering arrangements. This aspect of the case involved allegations extending into reporting duties of Directors in the Regulated Sector. The fraudulent trading allegations ran to hundreds of millions sterling and involved banking activities in several jurisdictions.

R v Securiplan & Sabrewatch, Security Industry Authority prosecution, appeared on behalf of CEO’s of both companies charged with regulatory breaches relating to deployment of security guards at prominent locations throughout the country.

R v C, advised and represented C, a director of an Australian company charged with serious allegations concerning computer misuse.

R v MM, represented both the CEO and Financial Director of a well-known internet retailer for allegations concerning computer misuse directly involving competitors.

R v W, Acted for Mr W an accountant with a large accountancy firm regarding the production and submission of fraudulent company accounts. The case concerned income tax and CGT.

R v W, represented CEO, Inland Revenue prosecution concerning PAYE National Insurance fraud involving several corporate entities.

R v L, represented the major shareholder and founder of Speed Medical in a matter involving allegations concerning commission payments between solicitors, medical agencies and insurers. The case focussed on issues of abuse of process.

R v B, represented B, a prominent political figure in relation to allegations concerning several regulatory breaches of planning laws concerning renovation of a listed country house and estate. The case focussed on abuse of process.

R v K, represented K, a well-known individual in the music industry in a case involving an allegation of theft of high value land over a 40 year period. The matter was complicated by the fact that K’s solicitor was also charged as an aider and abettor.

R v N and Stannard, represented N at trial and Stannard on appeal, fraud allegation concerning an international tax scheme involving purchase of shipping companies using trusts and banks in several jurisdictions.

Bribery and corruption: Richard became engaged in this area of law and practice prior to the Bribery Act coming into force and gained significant experience in investigations and allegations concerning the C.I.S. He is the co-author of ‘thebriberyact.com’ which has been recognised by the SFO as a leading UK on-line resource. In the UK Richard has advised companies and individuals as required and engaged with the SFO on behalf of clients when necessary. The scope of involvement in addition to the UK now includes the US, Bermuda, BVI, Malaysia and China. Richard has chaired televised discussions for Lexis-Nexis as part of their ‘Experts’ subscription web cast series for the Legal Profession; shared speaking platforms with the Serious Fraud Office, been a panel member in several US/UK ‘webinar’ events and lectured senior executives of various Oil companies in the USA on international Bribery and Corruption issues. Once again there are sensitivities as to client identity in this area of work, to give a flavour of matters dealt with examples include:

R v Pyatt, represented the South East senior Crime Reporter for The Sun Newspaper as part of the operation Elveden corruption prosecutions.

R v Larcombe, represented the Royal Editor of The Sun Newspaper as part of the operation Elveden corruption prosecutions.

Advice to an AIM listed company concerning their planned acquisition of a target company operating in the defence industry. The ‘advice’ including interviewing of the board of the target concerning bribery and corruption risks in several overseas jurisdictions.

Settlement discussions with the SFO on behalf of shareholders of a UK PLC resulting in an agreed settlement.

Advice to an African company over issues affecting it, caused by problems encountered by its supplier, a major European Corporation engaged with a joint-venture company based in China.

Advice to a director and shareholder of a company as regards potential exposure of its historic operations in the Far East.

Confiscation


Money Laundering/restraint/confiscation:

Richard has wide experience in this area of law both in the UK and internationally. He has recently given a presentation on Hawala Banking as part of a professional discussion involving the Commissioner of the City of London Police. A small number of matters are set out to give a flavour of his experience:

R v IPOC International, retained and appeared for corporate entities in multi-jurisdictional investigation and resulting British Virgin Islands proceedings concerning allegations of laundering of corporate funds in relation to share purchases relating to a Russian telecom’s company. Advised in the UK, the USA, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands.

Stamford International Bank liquidation, appeared in the Court of Appeal on behalf of Antiguan Government in relation to their claims to assets arising from the collapse of Sir Allen Stanford’s Ponzi scheme, the claims were contested by the SFO/ DoJ and receivers appointed in the USA.

R v MC, case widely known as ‘The Ibouri Case’ involved allegations of State corruption by the Governor of Delta State, involving the diversion of the sale proceeds from the sale of ‘V Mobile’ Nigeria’s third largest telecommunications provider. I appeared for M a director of the company involved in the world wide investment of the diverted proceeds of sale. Laundering allegations involved investment vehicles, predominantly used for the acquisition of aircraft with subsequent liquidation via Liechtenstein and Luxembourg.

R v White, appeared in the Court of Appeal subsequent to conviction for smuggling, appeal focussed on the construction of domestic legislation and regulations and their compatibility with European Directives.

R v D, Confiscation proceedings concerning a company director convicted prior to instructions being received in relation to a Carbon Credit Fraud which gave rise to a £44m claim under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Significantly reduced order made which has been mentioned in Parliament.

R v P, appeared for company director in confiscation proceedings following his plea and sentence in relation to false accounting of the company’s accounts and underlying documentation.

R v C, appeared for Malaysian client charged with Money Laundering by the use of the ‘hawala’ system of banking stemming from Currency exchange deals via Singapore with credits resulting within the UK Banking system using cuckoo smurfing techniques.

R v Q, appeared on behalf of a limited company into which it was alleged that criminal proceeds were deposited by a solicitor.

Directory Quotes


“His subtlety, emotional intelligence and quick wit make him very effective.” Chambers & Partners

“A nice guy and a very capable advocate, he has a laid back advocacy style and good rapport with juries. He’s a good cross-examiner and argues the law really convincingly.” Chambers & Partners

“Considered an expert in in domestic and international crime, fraud and money laundering cases. He provides advice and representation to blue-chip corporate clients and individuals on the most sophisticated of matters.” Chambers & Partners

“He is a strategists and is capable of running a case in an innovative fashion, using legal arguments to position our case into the right place for trial.” Chambers & Partners

“Particularly suited to difficult fraud cases that require lateral thinking and a commercial approach. He is also sought after to advise corporate clients on issues arising under the Bribery Act 2010.” Chambers & Partners

“He is very commercially aware and pragmatic in the way he represents clients.” Chambers & Partners

“A deeply intellectual man, who is very clever at dealing with complex issues.” Chambers & Partners

“A thoroughly impressive barrister, who will know the papers backwards.” Chambers & Partners

‘His tactical nous makes him a first-choice weapon for anyone squaring up for a fight.’ The Legal 500

‘Charm and slickness personified.’ The Legal 500

“He achieves an uncommon number of positive outcomes.” The Legal 500

“He is respected by clients and other members of the bar.” The Legal 500

“Encyclopaedic knowledge of the law, particularly in relation to the bribery Act 2010.” The Legal 500

Publications


Co-author of ‘thebriberyact.com‘, recognised by the SFO as a leading UK on-line resource.

Qualifications


  • LLB Hons, Manchester University