Exclusive Fraud & White Collar Crime Q&A

With James Macguill – Macguill & Company

Posted: 24th January 2014 11:11

The Fraud & White Collar Crime landscape has changed – and continues to change – significantly, particularly in the aftermath of the Libor scandal.  We spoke with James Macguill of Macguill & Company to find out discuss the latest trends and developments.
 
James Macguill has been involved in co-operating with lawyers from many foreign jurisdictions in relation to criminal cases, including co-operating with lawyers in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, the Slovak Republic and Panama.
 
As Ralph Lauren have recently discovered, multi-national organisations are not exempt from facing corruption allegations on more than one front.  How can you assist an organisation facing successive prosecutions in multiple jurisdictions arising out of the same factual basis?
 
The key to successful multinational defence is to ensure expert assistance in each relevant jurisdiction from lawyers who are accustomed to co-operating in transnational cases.  The client's position is compromised by lack of teamwork which regrettably occurs all too frequently
 
Have there been any recent regulatory changes or interesting developments that could yet shake up the litigatory landscape further?
 
The imminent introduction of a European Public Prosecutor's Office will be marked by the introduction of previously unavailable methods of investigation and prosecution.  Their cross border nature will pose a real challenge for those who fall under suspicion and their advisors.  I don’t detect however that this is adequately appreciated by colleagues.
 
In your opinion, what are the biggest and most interesting cases to follow in 2014?
 
Assuming that there will be prosecutions – even if only at domestic level – arising from the food re-labelling issue of 2013; these cases will raise legal issues of significant complexity.
 
Governments and regulators appear to be taking tax havens and tax evaders more seriously with an increase in high net-worth individuals and large multinational companies having been investigated.  Do you expect to see a continued effort by authorities to tackle this issue or is it simply an uphill battle?
 
All the evidence is that Governments will equip themselves with further extensive powers if necessary in a bid to secure their revenue stream.  The trend is entirely against a suspect and these cases are likely to become increasingly problematic and it will require particular skills to defend them.
 
To what extent would global accounting standards make international trade cheaper and more accessible to a wider audience?
 
Consistency in accounting practice across all the jurisdictions means that business persons can properly interrogate any balance sheet.  This should promote business confidence but will also lead to more complaints of criminal conduct, which is currently “invisible” due to different reporting standards.
 
What key trends do you expect to see over the coming year and in an ideal world what would you like to see implemented or changed?
 
There is a developing trend towards dual representation where a suspect person will insist on having representation in all relevant jurisdictions.  This is a new approach (comparatively) and one which I very much welcome.  We have already seen in practice how far better outcomes are achieved by front loading the legal input right from the outset of a multi-jurisdictional inquiry.
 
For more information please contact James via email at: James.Macguill@Macguill.ie

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