Lawyer Monthly - April 2022

EXPERT INSIGHT 46 WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM | APR 2022 Central is in an entirely different market sector, taking me right back to my love of investigations. The company is based in London, operates globally and undertakes investigation, intelligence and surveillance mandates for corporates and private clients. Over the 13 years Central has been in business, we have taken on a broad range of work. The mandates vary widely but all focus on protecting or finding people, assets or information. Mandates can relate to private and highly personal matters, or be relatively public involving litigation support, establishing publicly disclosable evidence. Throughout our many assignments, the tasks have varied considerably, and subjects in these cases have ranged from rogue businesspeople and common fraudsters to high-profile political figures and kleptocrats. It is through the creativity and skill of our worldwide investigative team that we are able to use multiple and varied avenues of intelligence to complete each instruction. Covert surveillance, human Intelligence (HUMINT) and deskbased investigations, for example, allow us to trace persons of interest, establish patterns of life, identify residential addresses, places of business and associated individuals. In international tasks of this nature, our principal objective is to gain a complete and comprehensive understanding of the subject’s offshore structures and from this to flush out the various activities, relationships and assets to retrieve the misappropriated funds. We have also been able to reclaim regime assets looted from overseas governments and identify the wealth the subjects have derived from corrupt practices. Across these assignments, significant assets and holdings of real estate (residential and commercial), have been identified and traced back to the subjects of our enquiries, who often use complex structures through nominee holdings and trusts across a range of offshore jurisdictions to obscure their nefarious practices. To date, we have conducted work on the ground in 38 jurisdictions, located across most of the earth’s continents. In your opinion, what skills are most valuable to a legal professional wanting to be successful within whitecollar practice? I think half are personal attributes and half are knowledge-based. The personal attributes run on from my previous comments – the old saying “people buy people first” is very true. You cannot be sustainably successful in the long term if no one trusts you, no one likes you and you have a reputation for dumping others and only looking after yourself. Of the knowledge-based skills, case mastery and organised working habits get you most of the way home, but I think there is another aspect worth mentioning, and that relates to commercial standards. Although the structures and transaction trails through which white-collar crime is effected are often very complex (and they need to be mastered), it is important to identify the points of dishonesty and/or points of conduct which run contrary to normal business practice and prevalent commercial standards. That is where the mischief will lie. To do this, one has to understand what normal, honest behaviour looks like for those types of transactions. From there it is much easier to demonstrate why the course which was taken was improper. Those who dodge tax or aid and abet tax evasion all commit criminal offences. They should be prosecuted.

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