Simon Baker

Year of Call: 1998  


Overview


Simon is recommended as one of the leading juniors for both Financial Crime and Crime by the Chambers & Partners UK directory 2016 (also ranked in 2013, 2014 & 2015). Simon is also recommended as a leading junior in Business & Regulatory crime and Fraud by the 2016 Legal 500 guide (also ranked in 2015).

Simon primarily specialises in cases of complex business and regulatory fraud, money laundering and serious criminal conspiracies. He is regularly instructed as leading, sole or led junior counsel in some of the highest profile cases in the UK.

He has particular expertise in cases involving disclosure / public interest immunity issues and confiscation / asset recovery.

Simon also has substantial experience and expertise in regulatory, civil and administrative law, particularly in relation to matters arising out of the cross-over between criminal law and civil litigation. This includes:

  • Proceedings for the recovery or freezing of assets (including cash forfeiture proceedings)
  • VAT tribunals
  • Financial & regulatory advice (including FSA, FSMA & AML issues)
  • Judicial Review
  • Civil Actions Against the Police
  • Election Law

Fraud


Simon has substantial expertise, both as leading and led-junior counsel, in criminal, civil, regulatory and electoral fraud work.

Criminal Fraud

Simon is recommended as one of the leading juniors for both Financial Crime and Crime by the Chambers & Partners UK directory 2016 (also ranked in 2013, 2014 and 2015). Simon has been praised in the Guides for his “experience in complex criminal fraud and regulatory matters” and is described as being “extremely efficient and wonderfully reliable”, “able to turn around documents very quickly to a very high standard” and “incredibly easy to deal with and user-friendly.” The 2016 Guide notes that Simon is “Very able and bright – he has a phenomenal memory.”

Simon is also recommended as a leading junior in Business & Regulatory crime by the 2015 Legal 500 guide, who praise him for being “Always the master of his brief”.

Simon has particular expertise in relation to complex fraud (including corporate fraud and MTIC), money laundering and cases involving disclosure/public interest immunity issues and confiscation / asset recovery.

Although primarily defence counsel, Simon is also on the CPS specialist fraud panel and the Attorney-General’s B panel of advocates, and has prosecuted serious cases for the Crown Prosecution Service, the Department of Work & Pensions, the Department of Trade & Industry and HM Revenue & Customs.

Cases

  • LIBOR: Successfully defended in the SFO prosecution of a former broker charged with LIBOR rigging. The case, involving allegations that bankers were colluding to fix the LIBOR rate which is used as a benchmark for world trading in a range of financial products. The value of the fraud was incalculable, as the impact could have run to trillions of dollars.
  • Operation Hornet (HBoS): Currently instructed as junior counsel for the first defendant in the high profile prosecution of HBoS directors and businessmen arising out of alleged fraud and corruption connected to the HBoS impaired assets division between 2003 and 2007. The Crown alleges that HBoS’s losses from the fraud are in excess of £250m. The defendant faces allegations of conspiracy to corrupt, fraudulent trading and conspiracy to launder criminal proceeds.
  • iSoft: Junior counsel for Tim Whiston (the former CEO of iSoft PLC) in the very high profile FCA (formerly FSA) prosecution of the directors of iSoft PLC for offences of market manipulation. The case was the largest ever prosecuted by the FCA/FSA. Following a 4 month trial, which collapsed following successful defence submissions relating to disclosure and abuse, the FCA conceded defeat and the defendants were acquitted.
  • Operation Modcons: Junior counsel (led by Alex Cameron QC) for the CEO of a multi-million pound construction logistics company facing allegations of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue through a £6.9m payroll fraud.
  • Operation Aquamarine: Instructed as leading counsel for a solicitor alleged to have been at the heart of highly sophisticated conspiracy to commit a very high value (over £40m) mortgage fraud on Barclays Private Clients International and Abbey Commercial Mortgages
  • Operation Tulipbox: Junior counsel in the UK’s first ever carbon credit fraud. This was a £39 million MTIC fraud in which carbon credits were traded on to Blue Chip traders such as Morgan Stanley, BP, Shell & Gazprom.
  • Operation Devout II: Instructed as junior counsel (led by Tim Owen QC) in relation to the confiscation proceedings arising out of a hugely complex MTIC fraud.
  • R v Quarco: Leading counsel in this highly publicised case defending an immigration officer charged with large-scale immigration fraud, facilitation, money laundering and misconduct in public office. The press described Mr Quarco as “the most dishonest man in Britain”.
  • R v Hanna & Another: Defence counsel in highly complex and substantial confiscation proceedings relating to money laundering, where the Crown have alleged criminality valued at in excess of £1 billion and where the s16 statement runs to almost 3000 pages.
  • R v F & B [2008] EWCA Crim 1868: Defence counsel at trial (an allegation of money laundering valued at almost £1.2 million), in the appeal before the Court of Appeal, and on the certified appeal to the House of Lords, on the question of whether the Crown are required to prove the underlying offence when prosecuting for money laundering.
  • R v Sheen & Others: Leading defence counsel in complex confiscation proceedings, valued in excess of £3.7 million, relating to the laundering of the proceeds of a large-scale conspiracy to steal cars.
  • R v Pearce: Junior defence counsel in a £75 million money laundering case connected to the London City Bond investigations (stayed as an abuse of process).
  • R v Fongho: Leading defence counsel for the first defendant in a case involving allegations of large-scale immigration fraud and corrupting Home Office officials.
  • R v Mitchell & Others: Junior counsel for the first defendant in a 19-handed conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud.
  • R v Amobi & Others: Junior defence counsel in the Kings College NHS Trust fraud (the largest ever fraud perpetrated against the NHS).

Civil Fraud Litigation

Simon has experience of a broad range of litigation ranging in the County Court and High Court, with particular experience of civil actions arising out of regulatory breaches, allegations of fraudulent conduct and actions against the Police. Simon is presently instructed as junior in relation to the proposed group action by victims of the GFX fraud seeking to recover their losses from financial advisors/regulators who allowed them to become involved in the scheme.

Electoral Fraud

Simon has a particular interest in election law and appeared for the applicant in the highly publicised High Court challenge to the postal voting regulations prior to the 2005 general election [Hemming v Department of Constitutional Affairs (2005)]. He also advised in the highly publicised Election Court in Birmingham arising out of postal vote fraud in the Bordesley Green and Aston wards.

Business Crime


Simon is recommended as a leading junior in Business & Regulatory crime by the 2015 & 2016 Legal 500 guides, which praise him for being “Always the master of his brief” and “always a joy to work with” as well as observing that “his extraordinary mind can absorb complex information in no time”.

 

Simon is also recommended as one of the leading juniors for both Financial Crime and Crime by the Chambers & Partners UK directory 2016 (also ranked in 2013, 2014 and 2015). Simon has been praised in the Guides for his “experience in complex criminal fraud and regulatory matters” and is described as being “extremely efficient and wonderfully reliable”, “able to turn around documents very quickly to a very high standard” and “incredibly easy to deal with and user-friendly.” The 2016 Guide notes that Simon is “Very able and bright – he has a phenomenal memory.”

 

Simon has particular expertise in relation to complex corporate fraud, money laundering and cases involving disclosure/public interest immunity issues and confiscation/asset recovery.

 

Although primarily defence counsel, Simon is also on the CPS specialist fraud panel and the Attorney-General’s B panel of advocates, and has prosecuted serious cases for the Crown Prosecution Service, the Department of Trade & Industry and H.M. Revenue & Customs.

 

Notable cases include:

 

  • LIBOR: Successfully defended in the SFO prosecution of a former broker charged with LIBOR rigging. The case, involving allegations that bankers were colluding to fix the LIBOR rate which is used as a benchmark for world trading in a range of financial products. The value of the fraud was incalculable, as the impact could have run to trillions of dollars.
  • Operation Hornet (HBoS): Currently instructed as junior counsel for the first defendant in the high profile prosecution of HBoS directors and businessmen arising out of alleged fraud and corruption connected to the HBoS impaired assets division between 2003 and 2007. The Crown alleges that HBoS’s losses from the fraud are in excess of £250m. The defendant faces allegations of conspiracy to corrupt, fraudulent trading and conspiracy to launder criminal proceeds.
  • iSoft: Junior counsel for Tim Whiston (the former CEO of iSoft PLC) in the very high profile FCA (formerly FSA) prosecution of the directors of iSoft PLC for offences of market manipulation. The case was the largest ever prosecuted by the FCA/FSA. Following a 4 month trial, which collapsed following successful defence submissions relating to disclosure and abuse, the FCA conceded defeat and the defendants were acquitted.
  • Operation Modcons: Junior counsel (led by Alex Cameron QC) for the CEO of a multi-million pound construction logistics company facing allegations of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue through a £6.9m payroll fraud
  • Operation Aquamarine: Instructed as leading counsel for a solicitor alleged to have been at the heart of highly sophisticated conspiracy to commit a very high value (over £40m) mortgage fraud on Barclays Private Clients International and Abbey Commercial Mortgages
  • Operation Tulipbox: Junior counsel in the UK’s first ever carbon credit fraud. This was a £39 million MTIC fraud in which carbon credits were traded on to Blue Chip traders such as Morgan Stanley, BP, Shell & Gazprom.
  • Operation Devout II : Instructed as junior counsel (led by Tim Owen QC) in relation to the confiscation proceedings arising out of a hugely complex MTIC fraud.

Confiscation


Simon is recommended as a leading junior for Fraud (including asset forfeiture) by the 2016 Legal 500 guide, which describes him as “an absolute joy to work with” and notes that “His extraordinary mind can absorb complex information in no time”.

 

Simon has particular expertise and experience in relation to proceedings, both criminal and civil, for confiscation, restraint and asset forfeiture. He has acted both as leading and junior counsel, acting on behalf both of the Crown and private and commercial, clients in a wide range of proceedings brought in the High Court, Crown Court and Magistrates’ Courts by agencies including the Crown Prosecution Service, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, H.M. Revenue & Customs and the Asset Recovery Agency

 

Simon has also been involved in training solicitors, barristers and the Crown Prosecution Service on confiscation, and has been a regular lecturer on the subject since 2003.

 

Significant cases in which Simon has been instructed include:

 

  • R v Hanna & another – Defence counsel in highly complex and substantial confiscation proceedings relating to money laundering, where the Crown have alleged criminality valued at in excess of £1 billion and where the s16 statement runs to almost 3000 pages.
  •  R v Orr & Others – Instructed specifically for the confiscation proceedings in respect of an international fraud and corruption case, representing a former solicitor said to have facilitated and laundered the proceeds of a large-scale £40 million fraud on the United Nations Development Programme and The Global Fund by corruptly obtaining contracts for the provision of pharmaceuticals to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  •  R v Sheen & others: Leading defence counsel in complex confiscation proceedings, valued in excess of £3.7 million, relating to the laundering of the proceeds of a large-scale conspiracy to steal cars.
  • Director of the Asset Recovery Agency v Way: Successfully defended in the civil claim for asset recovery against an alleged mortgage fraudster.
  • Operation Devout II : Currently instructed as junior counsel (led by Tim Owen QC) in relation to the confiscation proceedings arising out of this hugely complex MTIC fraud.

Crime


Simon is recommended as one of the leading juniors for both crime and financial crime by the Chambers & Partners UK directory 2016 (also ranked in 2013, 2014 and 2015). Simon has been praised in the Guides for his “experience in complex criminal fraud and regulatory matters” and is described as being “extremely efficient and wonderfully reliable”, “able to turn around documents very quickly to a very high standard” and “incredibly easy to deal with and user-friendly.” The 2016 Guide notes that Simon is “Very able and bright – he has a phenomenal memory.”

 

Simon is also recommended as a leading junior in Business & Regulatory crime and Fraud by the 2015 & 2016 Legal 500 guides, which praise him for being “always the master of his brief” and “an absolute joy to work with.” The also note that His extraordinary mind can absorb complex information in no time”.

 

Simon specialises in cases of complex fraud (including corporate fraud and MTIC), money laundering and serious drug conspiracies and is regularly instructed in some of the highest profile cases in the UK. He has particular expertise in cases involving disclosure/public interest immunity issues and confiscation/asset recovery.

 

Although primarily defence counsel, Simon is also on the Attorney-General’s B panel of advocates and the CPS specialist fraud panel. Simon has prosecuted serious cases for the Crown Prosecution Service, the Department of Work & Pensions, the Department of Trade & Industry and H.M. Revenue & Customs.

 

Simon is also experienced in extradition and regulatory work.

 

NOTABLE CASES INCLUDE:

  • LIBOR: Currently instructed to defend in the SFO prosecution of a former broker charged with LIBOR rigging. The case, involving allegations that bankers were colluding to fix the LIBOR rate which is used as a benchmark for world trading in a range of financial products. The value of the fraud is incalculable, as the impact could have run to trillions of dollars.
  • Operation Hornet (HBoS): Currently instructed as junior counsel for the first defendant in the high profile prosecution of HBoS directors and businessmen arising out of alleged fraud and corruption connected to the HBoS impaired assets division between 2003 and 2007. The Crown alleges that HBoS’s losses from the fraud are in excess of £250m. The defendant faces allegations of conspiracy to corrupt, fraudulent trading and conspiracy to launder criminal proceeds.
  • iSoft: Junior counsel for Tim Whiston (the former CEO of iSoft PLC) in the very high profile FCA (formerly FSA) prosecution of the directors of iSoft PLC for offences of market manipulation. The case was the largest case ever prosecuted by the FCA/FSA. Following a 4 month trial, which collapsed following successful defence submissions relating to disclosure and abuse, the FCA conceded defeat and the defendants were acquitted.
  • Operation Aquamarine: Instructed as leading counsel for a solicitor alleged to have been at the heart of a very high value (over £40m) mortgage fraud on Barclays Private Clients International and Abbey Commercial Mortgages.
  • Operation Modcons: Junior counsel (led by Alex Cameron QC) for the CEO of a multi-million pound construction logistics company facing allegations of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue through a £6.9m payroll fraud.
  • R v Quarco: Leading counsel defending an immigration officer charged with large-scale immigration fraud, facilitation, money laundering and misconduct in public office. The trial was front page news in the national press, who described Mr Quarco as “the most dishonest man in Britain”.
  • Operation Tulipbox: Junior counsel in the UK’s first ever carbon credit fraud. This was a £39 million MTIC fraud in which carbon credits were traded on to Blue Chip traders such as Morgan Stanley, BP, Shell & Gazprom.
  • R v F & B [2008] EWCA Crim 1868: Defence counsel at trial (an allegation of money laundering valued at almost £1.2 million), in the appeal before the Court of Appeal, and on the certified appeal to the House of Lords, on the question of whether the Crown are required to prove the underlying offence when prosecuting for money laundering.
  • R v Fongho: Leading defence counsel for the first defendant facing allegations of masterminding a large-scale immigration fraud and corrupting a Home Office official. The 2½ month trial attracted significant press coverage and resulted in the defendant being acquitted of the corruption offences on a half-time submission.
  • R v Kelly & others: Junior defence counsel (led by Sir Desmond de Silva QC) for the first defendant in the largest ever conspiracy to import cocaine (over 1.6 tonnes).
  • R v Hanna & another – Defence counsel in highly complex and substantial confiscation proceedings arising out of massive drug and money laundering conspiracies, where the Crown have alleged criminality valued at in excess of £1 billion and where the s16 statement runs to almost 3000 pages.
  • R v Sheen & others: Leading defence counsel in complex confiscation proceedings, valued over £3.7 million, relating to the laundering of the proceeds of a large-scale conspiracy to steal cars.
  • R v Pearce: Junior defence counsel in a £75 million money laundering case connected to the London City Bond investigations (stayed as an abuse of process).
  • R v Amobi & Others: Junior defence counsel in the Kings College NHS Trust fraud (the largest ever fraud perpetrated against the NHS).
  • R v Ram: Defending in an extremely serious supply of Class A case (involving 6 kilos of cocaine and 20,000 ecstasy tablets to undercover police officers), involving complex abuse of process, entrapment and P.I.I. issues.
  • USA v Benbow & others [2005] EWHC 1051 (Admin): Defending in the leading authority on applicability of entrapment in extradition cases (application to extradite to the USA to stand trial for conspiracy to supply cocaine allegedly to finance the $220 million purchase of Strontium-90 Metal from former Russian Intelligence Officers).
  • R v Nally: Defending in relation to the largest ever seizure of Ketamine in the UK (valued at over £4 million).
  • R v Baboschi: Led by Sir Desmond de Silva QC for the lead defendant in a highly publicised gang murder in the back of an ambulance arising out of a “turf war” between Romanian gangs involved in ATM fraud.

 

Regulatory


Simon is recommended as a leading junior in Business & Regulatory crime by the 2015 Legal 500 guide, who praise him for being “Always the master of his brief”. Simon is also recommended as one of the leading juniors for Financial Crime by the Chambers & Partners UK directory, which has praised him for his “experience in complex criminal fraud and regulatory matters”. He is described as being “extremely efficient and wonderfully reliable” and “able to turn around documents very quickly to a very high standard.” He is also described as “incredibly easy to deal with and user-friendly.” The 2016 Guide notes that Simon is “Very able and bright – he has a phenomenal memory.”

Simon has experience of advising on regulatory matters covering a broad range of regulatory regimes ranging from FSA and FSMA regulation of the financial sector through to Health & Safety, planning and professional conduct matters.

Simon’s experience includes:

  • Advising corporate clients on compliance and AML issues
  • Acting for parties seeking to bring actions against financial advisors under FSMA
  • Prosecuting and defending in regulatory cases brought by the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (formerly the DTI), local authorities, Trading Standards, and the PCO
  • Advising and representing individuals facing professional disciplinary proceedings, including matters brought by the Financial Reporting Council (accountancy) and the General Medical Council & British Medical Association (medical)

Sports Law


Simon has advised and represented a wide range of clients from the sports world in relation to a broad range of matters ranging from civil disputes arising out of contracts through to criminal and disciplinary proceedings.

Clients have included:

  • Harry Redknapp
  • Golf Management International
  • Merlin Sport Ltd

Tribunals


Simon’s experience of the cross-over between criminal work (especially fraud) and civil litigation means that he is extremely well placed to advise and assist in relation to clients facing the effect of HMRC verification processes and investigations. In particular, Simon deals with appeals before the First and Upper Tier tribunal (Tax Chamber) relating to VAT reclaims allegedly arising out of MTIC frauds. In addition to acting for appellants in VAT Tribunals, Simon is also instructed by HMRC in such appeals as both leading counsel and on his own.

VAT appeals in which Simon has been instructed include:

  • Micro River Limited v HM Revenue & Customs (as leading counsel)
  • Optima Global v HM Revenue & Customs (as leading counsel)
  • Else Refining & Recycling v HM Revenue & Customs
  • TLC International Limited v HM Revenue & Customs
  • Rattan v HM Revenue & Customs (as leading counsel)
  • Fone World (UK) Limited v HM Revenue & Customs
  • Telement Limited v HM Revenue & Customs
  • Intekx v HM Revenue & Customs

Directory Quotes


  • An erudite white-collar crime junior with an expansive practice that covers all types of major fraud.” (Chambers & Partners 2016)
  • Very able and bright – he has a phenomenal memory.” (Chambers & Partners 2016)
  • His extraordinary mind can absorb complex information in no time” (Legal 500 2016)
  • An absolute joy to work with.” (Legal 500 2016)
  • Always the master of his brief”. (Legal 500 2015)
  • experience in complex criminal fraud and regulatory matters” (Chambers & Partners 2015)
  • able to turn around documents very quickly to a very high standard.” (Chambers & Partners 2015)
  • incredibly easy to deal with and user-friendly”. (Chambers & Partners 2015)

Memberships


  • Bar Council IT Panel
  • Criminal Bar Association
  • Lawyers for Liberty
  • Inner Temple Bar Liaison Committee (Chairman)
  • Inner Temple Executive Committee

Qualifications


  • Attorney General’s list of specialist counsel (2003) (B panel 2006)
  • Attorney General’s Panel of approved prosecuting counsel (2000)
  • CPS Level 3 Prosecutor
  • CPS Specialist Fraud Panel
  • MA (Oxon)