Barrister Collingwood Thompson

Collingwood Thompson

Year of call: 1975  Silk: 1998

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“Very easy to deal with, commercial, pragmatic and very helpful.”

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Overview


Collingwood has specialised in both civil and criminal fraud since taking silk in 1998. He has prosecuted for all the main agencies (SFO, CPS, SOCA (now the NCA)) and advised the Attorney General of Jersey on fraud-related investigations, as well as defending clients charged on major fraud prosecutions instituted by these agencies.

His practice areas include asset recovery, bribery and corruption, money laundering, restraint and confiscation and criminal fraud litigation. Through his fraud practice he has developed an expertise in legal professional privilege, particularly in connection with search warrants and Production Orders. His practice is increasingly international, with appearances in courts in the Caribbean and, in particular, Hong Kong. He is ranked in Chambers 2014 as one of the leaders at the Bar in London Criminal (Fraud), and is Head of Chambers.

Complex Fraud Offshore & International Regulatory & Professional Discipline

Complex Fraud


Collingwood has specialised in both civil and criminal fraud since taking silk in 1998. He has prosecuted for all the main agencies (SFO, CPS, SOCA (now the NCA)) and advised the Attorney General of Jersey on fraud-related investigations, as well as defending clients charged on major fraud prosecutions instituted by these agencies. His practice areas include asset recovery, bribery and corruption, money laundering, restraint and confiscation and criminal fraud litigation. Through his fraud practice he has developed an expertise in legal professional privilege, particularly in connection with search warrants and Production Orders. His practice is increasingly international, with appearances in courts in the Caribbean and, in particular, Hong Kong. He is ranked in Chambers 2014 as one of the leaders at the Bar in London Criminal (Fraud). Appointed as a Recorder in 1997.

Memberships


  • Fraud Lawyers Association (Committee member)
  • International Bar Association

Asset Recovery Bribery & Corruption Criminal Fraud Litigation Extradition & Mutual Legal Assistance Money Laundering Sanctions

Asset Recovery


As part of his fraud practice, Collingwood has been regularly instructed by Claimants and Defendants in asset recovery cases linked to fraud or corruption. He has considerable experience in working with forensic accountants to identify, trace and recover the proceeds of such offences. In particular, between 2004 and 2010 he was instructed by the Attorney General of Jersey to lead an investigation into the location of funds stolen from Nigeria by the late General Abacha and his associates; as a result, over $200 million was traced through bank accounts, corporate structures and offshore trusts and successfully returned to Nigeria. More recently, he represented an English property developer facing a $25 million claim filed by the Attorney General of the Turks and Caicos Islands arising out of alleged corruption in the grant of planning permission. He was able to assist in achieving a comprehensive settlement agreement involving a much lesser sum.

AG for Jersey v Bhojwani & ors: Instructed by the Attorney General between 2004 and 2010 to assist in recovery of funds looted from Nigeria by the late General Abacha and associates. Through mutual legal assistance and other channels of international co-operation, able to return in excess of $200 million to Nigeria.

AG for Turks & Caicos Islands v Oceanpoint Developments” Represented the defendant company in the Supreme Court of Turks and Caicos Islands who was facing $25 million claim in civil proceedings for alleged bribery and corruption. Instructed by Charles Russell and Pannone; successfully reached a comprehensive settlement agreement which precluded confiscation proceedings in a parallel criminal case.

Bribery & Corruption


Collingwood has an extensive practice involving cases of bribery and corruption, particularly with an international dimension. Between 2001 and 2010 he was instructed by the Attorney General of Jersey to lead investigations in a series of high profile corruption cases which involved extensive, co-ordinated international mutual co-operation and successful asset recovery actions. He was also instructed by the Kenyan anti-corruption agency and a local law firm in Jersey to assist in tracing and freezing assets which were the product from bribes given in exchange for contracts with Kenyan public utility companies. Currently, has just completed representing an English property developer in both civil and criminal proceedings in the Turks and Caicos Islands; he is a frequent speaker at international seminars on corruption and money laundering.

“Operation Tetley” Instructed by the Attorney General of Jersey to investigate two Jersey trust funds held by the then Foreign Minister of Qatar in which it was alleged the proceeds of corruption had been placed.

Attorney General for Jersey v Durant International Corporation & Ors: Headed an investigation into allegations of corruption against the former mayor of Sao Paolo, Paulo Maluf. As a result of extensive international co-operation able to freeze some $25 million in accounts in Jersey and to provide evidence to the Brazilian authorities, surviving two judicial review challenges in the process.

Attorney General for Jersey v Bhojwani & Ors: Instructed by the Attorney General of Jersey to trace and recover funds stolen from Nigeria by the late General Abacha and his associates. Extensive investigation lasting from 2004 to 2010; led to the successful recovery of some $200 million and also the prosecution and conviction in Jersey of one of General Abacha’s conduits for corruption.

Attorney General for Turks & Caicos Islands v Michael Missick & Ors: Representing an English property developer facing criminal corruption charges; successfully negotiated a plea agreement with the prosecution which culminated in the imposition of a suspended sentence of imprisonment in the Supreme Court.

Criminal Fraud Litigation


Ranked as one of the leaders at the Bar for London Criminal (Fraud) by Chambers & Partners 2014. Collingwood has many years of experience, both prosecuting and defending in criminal fraud cases domestically and abroad. His recent cases include:

R v De Rome & Ors [2009]: Prosecuting a sophisticated Ponzi scheme in relation to the Panacea Bank of Nauru. Three out of four defendants were convicted.

R v Anwoir; Meghrabi & Ors [2006-13]: Prosecuted a series of trials for Serious and Organised Crime Division of CPS relating to money laundering via bureau de change in London.

Hksar v Gong Beiying & Ors [2008-11]: Successfully defended the senior partner of the then largest firm of Chinese solicitors in Hong Kong after a lengthy trial and appeals in relation to allegations of conspiracy to defraud; convictions quashed by the Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong.

Operation Bulkhead: Currently defending one of the principal defendants in the largest ever (£120m) case alleging cheating the Revenue and defrauding investors arising out of tax relief claimed in relation to Film Development Partnerships. Due for trial in early 2015.

Money Laundering


Since 1998 Collingwood has specialised in cases involving money laundering, both prosecuting and defending. He is a frequent speaker at international conferences on the topic. Cases Include:

  • R v Anwoir, Meghrabi & Ors [2006-13]: Prosecuted for the CPS a series of trials (3 in total) involving allegations of money laundering through bureau de change in London. In all, nine out of a total of ten defendants were convicted.
  • R v Ussama El Kurd [2013]: Successfully prosecuted a case involving money laundering through a bureau de change of some £180 million over 3 and a half years. Defendant had been previously acquitted of such charges. Prosecution by SOCA and CPS.
  • Hksar v Tsang Wai Lun Wayland & Ors [2014]: Represented two of the appellants in the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal on a point of law of public general importance concerning the definition of “the proceeds of an indictable offence”. Appeal allowed and conviction quashed.

Sanctions


Collingwood has been concerned in advising both companies and individuals who have needed advice in relation to possible breaches of OFAC, UN and EC sanctions regimes, particularly in relation to Iran; this has included financial institutions who have been part of sophisticated loan arrangements to finance shipping of cargoes. Recently he successfully represented a Dubai based company who had $35 million frozen as a result of suspected breaches of Iran sanctions regulations; the funds were released. He is currently advising a major mining company in relation to a sanctions based investigation involving its operations in Africa.

Complex Fraud Cases


  • R v Hayley & Ors (on-going): Privately instructed for one of the principal Defendants in the largest ever prosecution brought by HMRC arising out of claims for tax relief in relation to film production; trial due to start in March 2015.
  • In the matter of Ao Man Long (2013-14): Instructed by the CPS in proceedings brought to enforce a confiscation order made in Macau by the Court of Final Appeal against the former secretary of public works in Macau arising from multiple convictions for corruption. £25 million recovered as a result of the proceedings.
  • AG for the Turks & Caicos Islands v Missick & Ors (2011-14): Successfully represented an English property developer facing major corruption charges in relation to planning permission for tourist developments; following negotiated plea agreement client received a suspended prison sentence.
  • R v Ussama El Kurd & Ors (2012-13): Successful prosecution in a £180 million money laundering case arising out of operation of a bureau de change.
  • Hksar v Vivien Fan & Ors (2008-11): Represented the senior partner of the largest firm of Chinese solicitors in Hong Kong both at trial and on appeal on allegations of conspiracy to defraud investors and the Hong Kong stock exchange. All convictions quashed by the Court of Final Appeal.

Offshore & International


Collingwood’s civil and criminal fraud practice has become increasingly international since 2001. He has been instructed in both advisory work and litigation in offshore jurisdictions, especially in Hong Kong and the Caribbean. His range of work covers bribery and corruption, commercial fraud, regulatory work and international criminal law. He has twice appeared in the Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong acting for the successful appellants in criminal cases. He has also appeared in one of the leading cases on legal professional privilege in Hong Kong: Citic Pacific v Secretary of State for Justice & another, in the Court of Appeal; this concerned the doctrine of limited waiver of privilege in Hong Kong law. He has been admitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court of the Turks and Caicos Islands to represent an English property developer in both civil and criminal proceedings arising from corruption allegations. He is currently instructed in cases in Hong Kong, Jersey and the Cayman Islands.

Memberships


  • International Bar Association

Criminal Civil Regulatory International Criminal Law

Criminal


Over the last 12 years Collingwood has been instructed by and advised the Attorney General of Jersey on a variety of serious criminal matters involving corruption and money laundering with major international connections. He has appeared for the defence in criminal cases in Hong Kong and the Turks and Caicos Islands and is currently instructed in a criminal appeal from the Cayman Islands to the Privy Council. He has previously represented the Attorney General for Jersey in the Privy Council [AG for Jersey v O’Brien].

Civil


Arising out of various allegations of fraud and / or corruption, Collingwood has been instructed to represent clients in both the Turks and Caicos Islands and Hong Kong, as well as in Jersey and Mauritius, mainly in asset recovery proceedings and other civil cases involving issues of legal professional privilege in which he has developed an expertise.

Regulatory


Since 2001 Collingwood has been regularly instructed in offshore regulatory matters, particularly in Jersey and the Isle of Man. He has been instructed by the Jersey Financial Services Commission in a variety of capacities, both as a competent person and an inspector. In these roles he has reported on the money laundering controls of offshore banks.

International Criminal Law


For the past two years Collingwood has been engaged in the investigation of, and drafting charges relating to, crimes against humanity committed in a Far Eastern country. Consequently, he is familiar with international criminal law and especially the issue of state and jurisdictional immunities.

Offshore & International Cases


  • Hksar v Tsang Wai Lun Wayland & Ors [2014]: Appeared in Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong to represent two of the Appellants convicted at trial of money laundering offences. Case involved the definition of “the proceeds of an indictable offence”; convictions quashed; case involved a point of law of public general importance.
  • Attorney General of Turks and Caicos Islands v Missick & Ors (2011-14): Admitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court of the Turks and Caicos Islands to represent an English property developer in both civil and criminal proceedings arising from allegedly corrupt dealings with the then Government. Successfully negotiated plea and represented client in the Supreme Court, where he received a suspended sentence of imprisonment.
  • TWCF v LKKS, STL and OIL (on-going): Advising the Respondent to ancillary relief proceedings in Hong Kong in relation to allegations of fraud and perjury; currently awaiting ad hoc admission to the Hong Kong Bar to argue part of the case in the Court of Final Appeal on a point of public general importance involving legal professional privilege.
  • Citic Pacific v Secretary of State for Justice & another, Hong Kong Court of Appeal [2012]: Successfully appealed a judgment at first instance requiring the company to hand over documents pursuant to a search warrant; judgment reversed on the grounds that the documents were privileged; now a leading case on LPP.
  • Hksar v Vivien Fan & Ors (2008-11): Successfully Represented the senior partner of the then largest law firm of Chinese solicitors in Hong Kong on charges of conspiracy to defraud the Stock Exchange and investors; convicted at first instance but all convictions quashed on appeal to the Court of Final Appeal [the “Shanghai Land” case].

Regulatory & Professional Discipline


A significant part of Collingwood’s practice has involved financial regulatory work in both the UK and offshore jurisdictions. He has acted for both regulators and financial institutions, especially in the context of systems and controls operated by financial institutions. He has been instructed by the Jersey Financial Services Commission to report on the money laundering controls of offshore banks, the failure of split capital investment trusts based in Jersey and the operation of European Property Investment Funds by regulated entities in Jersey. On the other side he has also represented trust companies and financial institutions under investigation and successfully acted for the promoters of investment funds that the Jersey Financial Services Commission was seeking to wind up. He is currently advising a major trust company in Jersey that is the subject of a regulatory investigation.

In the UK he has represented clients at the RDC facing disciplinary action from the FSA (now the FCA) and more recently (2013) acted for a listed company facing allegations of breaching the UK Listing Rules in related party transactions, instructed by a leading City law firm.

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