White-collar crime in Ireland

A&L Goodbody LLP

A&L Goodbody LLP acts for a client base of prominent companies and individuals in high-profile investigations and prosecutions, including handling the Irish aspects of major multi-jurisdictional cases. The team is adept at representing clients from sectors including financial services, construction and manufacturing, defending clients against allegations ranging from breaches of environmental regulations to corruption. The practice is co-led by Kenan Furlong and Joe Kelly. Dario Dagostino specialises in regulatory investigations, particularly those involving the Central Bank of Ireland, and Katie O’Connor is active in responding to actions by regulators as well as litigation resulting from these actions. Louise Byrne was promoted to partner in January 2021. Senior associate Noel Power was a new arrival in January 2022.

Practice head(s):

Kenan Furlong; Joe Kelly

Other key lawyers:

Dario Dagostino; Katie O’Connor; Louise Byrne; Mark Devane; Mairead O’Brien; Noel Power

Testimonials

‘We enjoy working with this clever and knowledgeable team. Their huge experience shines out, and they have great strength and depth. They are able to turn around complex matters with great speed and skill. They always know the right questions to ask to get the best out of us and produce the best result for us.’

‘Dario Dagostino and Mark Devane are exceptional. Dario should be praised for his huge knowledge of all things “regulator”. He has such vast industry experience that he is great at reading the nuances and knowing how we should react to and interpret things. Mark Devane has superb attention to detail. His probing questions mean that we produce our best work and give the best account of ourselves.’

‘Joe Kelly and Katie O’Connor are extremely responsive and proactive in their advice and in responding to us and advising us. They understand our concerns and our business needs and adapt their advice accordingly.’

‘Katie O’Connor and Joe Kelly are practical, efficient and responsive and give advice that has business and real world application as opposed to being a high-level repetition of legislation.’

‘ALG anticipated our needs and prepared us for all of the procedural steps of our legal process before they occurred. That aspect alone was invaluable. ALG is very strong with technology and offers IT solutions to make otherwise overwhelming tasks effortless. ALG has expertise in various domains of law, which helped with finding experts for our specific legal issue. The lawyers impressed me with their interpersonal skills in our relationship. They did it without unnecessary and tacky strategies such as having “client relationship managers”. The deep expertise of the lawyers is immediately obvious. Their billing is very transparent. Our partner made sure to forecast the costs of their services, of experts and of outside counsel as early as possible.’

‘The quality of Katie O’Connor’s work is exceptional, and this was combined with remarkable availability on her part. Although I know that this is not factually true, it felt like my company was her only client. Her meetings were short and on point, and her written advice immediately clear. ALG is strong on anticipating the client’s needs.’

‘Joe Kelly is wise, considered, independent and tough – both with clients (giving appropriate realism) and the authorities (defending clients’ interests). He is well supported by Mairead O’Brien.’

Key clients

Wirecard UK and Ireland Limited

Volkswagen Group Ireland Limited and Volkswagen Bank GMBH

Work highlights

  • Advising the former chairman of INM PLC on high-profile allegations regarding his work for INM and investigations by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, the Data Protection Commission and High Court inspectors.
  • Advising the Volkswagen Group on dealing with the Irish regulatory investigations involving the NOx emissions issue.

Arthur Cox

Arthur Cox is experienced in advising clients facing investigations by regulators, and also assists companies with carrying out internal investigations and ensuring compliance with regulations. The team is also noted for its strength in litigation involving allegations of fraud, as well as handling the first case relating to an alleged ‘raider attack’ to come before the Irish courts. Joanelle O’Cleirigh and Richard Willis jointly lead the practice; O’Cleirigh has deep expertise in investigations and inquires, while Willis has broad experience in complex disputes and investigations.

Practice head(s):

Joanelle O’Cleirigh; Richard Willis

Other key lawyers:

Deirdre O’Mahony; Peter Woods

Testimonials

‘A market-leading team in terms of experience in virtual and paperless hearings. Great use of technology and innovative from a tech perspective. Good collaboration with other firms.’

‘Richard Willis is very accessible, personable and well versed in his subject matter. Peter Woods is also excellent and incredibly hardworking.’

‘I have found this practice to be one of the best firms I’ve dealt with in this field: they not only give you their professional advice, but they also listen to your views and walk along with you. The personal touch really stands out. We will continue to work closely and I can foresee us having a long relationship.’

‘We have been working with Deirdre O’Mahony and find her very professional. She is very knowledgeable in her area and has great communication skills.’

‘I have been really impressed by the level of collaboration. It takes a lot of work and commitment, particularly when there are many stakeholders.’

‘Richard Willis goes out of his way to assist and always makes himself available when issues arise. He is honest, practical and strategic in the advice that he gives, and is always understanding of where his client is coming from and what success might look like from the client’s perspective rather than the lawyer’s perspective. This sets him apart from other lawyers.’

‘Peter Woods is extremely diligent and fully committed to his clients.’

Key clients

Yuzhu Kang (Kang Family Worldwide Group)

Eurotoaz Limited

Deloitte Ireland LLP

Work highlights

  • Acting for a Chinese businessman and founder of Kang Family Worldwide Group as plaintiff in multi-party Commercial Court proceedings claiming the fraudulent misappropriation of a number of his Irish investments, including the five-star Fota Island Resort and four-star Kingsley Hotel in Co Cork.
  • Acting for Irish company Eurotoaz and one of its directors in the defence of Commercial Court proceedings issued by Trafalgar Developments, Instantania Holdings, Kamara and Bairiki Incorporated in relation to an alleged ‘raider attack’ on Russian company PJSC Togliattiazot.
  • Acting for Deloitte & Touche Ireland in the defence of High Court proceedings arising from the infamous Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme.

Mason Hayes & Curran LLP

Mason Hayes & Curran LLP has a strong track record of handling the full spectrum of white-collar crime matters, from internal investigations to assisting companies which are the victims of cyberattacks. The team acts for both private companies and regulatory bodies in investigations and prosecutions, and also assists clients appearing before commissions of investigation. Practice head Liam Guidera has nearly 30 years’ experience in this field and has been involved in many of Ireland’s most high-profile commissions of investigation and public tribunals. Colin Monaghan is active in advising companies on responding to data breaches, while Shane Reynolds acts for local councils and state bodies in prosecutions. Elsewhere, senior associate Conor O’Leary is representing a number of clients facing investigations by the Central Bank.

Practice head(s):

Liam Guidera

Other key lawyers:

Colin Monaghan; Shane Reynolds; Conor O’Leary

Testimonials

‘Unlike other law firms which sometimes just provide legal analysis, MHC’s advice is very solution focused.’

‘The individuals are client focused. Communication is prompt. The legal ramifications for my team are carefully considered. Solutions can be non-traditional but effective – individuals within the firm can think inventively. Shane Reynolds is a standout partner.’

‘I have had experience working with MHC’s team in a range of different types of investigations. One of the things that makes the firm unique among Irish firms is the various different clients they have worked with and the consequent knowledge they have built up and can bring to bear, which would probably be unrivalled. They have consistently impressed me with the depth of their knowledge, experience and judgement.’

‘The team has a very strong set of partners and associates.’

‘They were very approachable, and very considered in identifying how they could help and who would help. Their communication with me was excellent and they were respectful and professional.’

‘I was more than pleased that they had an excellent understanding of the law and systems relevant to our query. In addition, they had a clear understanding of our need to understand why these systems sometimes failed, showing a wide grasp of the context in which the law operates. That understanding of the law, and the context in which the law operates, was precisely what we wanted and makes the firm stand out.’

‘Unlike many other legal firms, the interaction with partners and associates at MHC is quite personable, in a professional, friendly, non-intimidating way. The team possesses an abundance of expertise and experience and there is strength in depth across the various elements of the practice, which generates confidence in their clients. There is a steady stream of young, smart solicitors being recruited and, once ready, quickly given responsibility. Communication and engagement during the pandemic was excellent and the use of technology supported the continuation of professional support throughout.’

‘Our experience is that the individuals we have worked with at MHC, at all levels within the practice, possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills. They are friendly and empathetic, with an abundance of emotional intelligence. In addition, they are extremely professional, with a significant depth of experience and expertise, and support throughout the organisation. Liam Guidera stood out particularly in a recent engagement, demonstrating all the best attributes one would hope for in a legal adviser.’

Key clients

Banque Nationale de Paris Paribas

Facebook Ireland Limited

Portakabin

Airbus

International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF)

Central Bank of Ireland

Allied Irish Banks plc

Bank of Ireland

Health Service Executive

Gas Networks Ireland

Commission for Regulation of Utilities

Child and Family Agency (TUSLA)

UBIL (a division of NatWest)

Work highlights

  • Represented Banque Nationale de Paris Paribas in Commercial Court proceedings brought by a Chinese aviation leasing company which was the subject of a complex cyber fraud.
  • Acting for Facebook Ireland and WhatsApp Ireland in judicial review proceedings before the High Court concerning ongoing Data Protection Commission inquiries into their Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp services.
  • Advising Portakabin’s UK parent company and its Irish subsidiary on very serious issues arising from a campaign of anonymous letter writing and emails.

McCann FitzGerald LLP

McCann FitzGerald LLP is engaged in some of the most high-profile white-collar crime matters in the Irish market, including cross-border cases. The team’s work encompasses representing clients in litigation and regulatory investigations, as well as handling internal investigations and providing advice on compliance. In addition to acting for private companies, the team is instructed by regulators to handle investigations and enforcement. Terence McCrann leads the team as well as the wider dispute resolution practice. Another key name in the white-collar crime team is Megan Hooper, who is often engaged by clients in the financial services sector. Brian QuigleyAudrey Byrne and Michael Coonan are also noted for their expertise in this area. Since publication, Karyn Harty left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Terence McCrann

Other key lawyers:

Megan Hooper; Audrey Byrne; Brian Quigley; Michael Coonan

Testimonials

‘This is a niche area of practice in Ireland but McCanns have dedicated senior resources to the team and and have backed that up by allocating further resources and training to a wide range of staff. All told, McCanns are the largest and best-resourced practice in this area in Ireland.’

‘They have a very good grasp of the detail of the case. The scale and the depth of their team is a clear differentiator from the competition.’

‘When dealing with this team you have the sense of dealing with the very best there is in the Irish market.’

‘Audrey Byrne is extremely experienced in this area. The extent of her experience and her calm manner gives much comfort when dealing with seemingly impossible situations.’

Key clients

Mediahuis Ireland Group Limited (formerly Independent News and Media Group Limited and formerly Independent News and Media plc)

Central Bank of Ireland

Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (in special liquidation)

Voluntary Health Insurance / VHI

Road Safety Authority

Charities Regulator

Sea Fisheries Protection Authority

National Asset Management Agency

ComReg

Data Protection Commission

Work highlights

  • Advising Mediahuis Ireland Group on a complex range of regulatory challenges, including the appointment of Companies Act inspectors to the company, an investigation by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, protected disclosures and a series of large data subject access requests.
  • Acting for the majority shareholders in a Russian chemical company in conspiracy proceedings before the Commercial Court against, among others, Irish company Eurotoaz regarding an alleged ‘raider attack’.

William Fry

William Fry‘s white-collar crime practice is frequently instructed by companies facing allegations of criminality, as well as by clients who have been the victims of white-collar crime. The practice is particularly active in the financial services sector, advising clients on responding to investigations by regulators and class action lawsuits; matters involving alleged anti-competitive practices are also an area of focus. Following the appointment of Owen O’Sullivan as firm managing partner in 2020, Laura Murdock and Paul Convery lead the team. Lisa Carty and Derek Hegarty are other names to note in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Laura Murdock; Paul Convery

Other key lawyers:

Owen O’Sullivan; Lisa Carty; Derek Hegarty

Testimonials

‘A hardworking team who put their clients first. Very quick to react and supportive while still being realistic about the recommended approach. Having dealt with a number of members of the team, they were all excellent, committed and focused on the task at hand. Quality of advice provided is first rate with the options clearly outlined. As a firm, one benefit I find is that I can deal with an individual on an issue rather than being forced to deal with a team and the associated costs. Overall, I view William Fry as a partner in our business. They are quick to react when needed and focused on solutions and what is best for our company.’

‘Lisa Carty stands out for her knowledge of the challenges faced by our company, and her ability to remain focused on the preferred outcome while dealing with all the issues that present themselves in a complex case. She was very quick to provide support when we had a particular challenge and needed additional resources. The resources provided were excellent and made a significant difference at a critical time. She is always available and solution focused.’

‘The team are extremely responsive to clients. Their client-focused approach provides incisive analysis of complex issues and clear advice to clients.’

‘Paul Convery is a standout partner. He is superb – he understands his clients’ businesses and priorities. Paul gets to grips easily with complex issues, clearly advises clients and is very available.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a client in respect of losses in excess of €3.5bn incurred as a result of the Madoff Ponzi fraud.
  • Acting for a Russian entrepreneur and others in proceedings alleging corporate raiding.
  • Acting for parties who are the focus of an investigation by inspectors appointed by the High Court to examine an allegation of corporate wrongdoing in a publicly quoted media group and also in a related allegation of a significant data breach at the group.

ByrneWallace LLP

In addition to representing clients facing investigations and prosecutions, ByrneWallace LLP‘s white-collar crime practice is noted for its expertise in advising regulatory bodies on the exercise of their powers and the drafting of documents and submissions, as well as representing regulators in litigation. Elsewhere, the team is frequently instructed by the victims of white-collar crimes such as cyber breaches and organisations that are not accused of wrongdoing but are drawn into regulatory investigations. The team is jointly led by commercial litigator Jon Legorburu and Sean O’Donnell, who has deep experience of acting for public sector clients.

Practice head(s):

Jon Legorburu; Sean O’Donnell

Key clients

Colin Wendel/Colin Wendel Developments Ltd

Environmental Protection Agency

Work highlights

  • Represented Colin Wendel Developments in proceedings arising out of a Health and Safety Authority investigation.
  • Represented the Environmental Protection Agency in the prosecution of Barclay Chemicals Manufacturing for breaches of environmental legislation resulting in the release of potentially polluting substances into groundwater and surface water.

Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland‘s white-collar crime team has a broad practice in this area, including representing clients facing investigations involving environmental, financial, and health and safety regulations. The team also acts for regulators, including the Commission for Communications Regulation and the Residential Tenancies Board. The practice is now jointly led by Pamela O’Neill, who also heads the firm’s dispute resolution and litigation department, and Eoin Mac Aodha, a specialist in acting for public bodies. Other key figures in the team include experienced litigator Norman Fitzgerald and Stephen Barry, who is known for his work in the health and safety space.

Practice head(s):

Pamela O’Neill; Eoin Mac Aodha

Other key lawyers:

Norman Fitzgerald; Stephen Barry

Testimonials

‘The team are excellent. They are efficient, pragmatic and cost effective.’

‘I have found Eoin Mac Aodha to be very efficient and focused, and he looks after his clients.’

‘The Eversheds Sutherland white-collar crime practice is extremely strongly resourced. Eoin MacAodha is a standout performer in this field.’

‘Eoin Mac Aodha is exceptionally well placed to advise on the trickiest of regulatory issues.’

‘The team are always available and the turnaround time is always prompt and work finished to a high standard.’

Key clients

Commission for Communications Regulation

Ernst & Young (EY)

Residential Tenancies Board

JW Accountants

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Commission for Communications Regulation in regulatory investigations and prosecutions of regulated entities in respect of their obligations under telecoms law.
  • Defending EY in Commercial Court proceedings brought by the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation relating to the client’s role as the former auditor of Anglo Irish Bank plc (as it was then known).
  • Acting as the sole legal provider to the Residential Tenancies Board, the regulator for all residential tenancies in the state, advising on matters including the introduction of its administrative sanctions procedure and its prosecutorial function.

Matheson LLP

Matheson LLP‘s white-collar crime practice is highly active in representing clients facing investigations and prosecutions. In addition to handling allegations of fraud and breaches of competition law, the practice assists with matters involving environmental and health and safety law. The team also advises clients on responding to data breaches and ransomware attacks, as well as assisting companies in the financial services sector with compliance with anti-money laundering laws. Karen Reynolds leads the team, which forms a part of the firm’s wider dispute resolution practice, with support from experienced litigator Nicola Dunleavy SC.

Practice head(s):

Karen Reynolds

Other key lawyers:

Nicola Dunleavy SC; Connor Cassidy

Testimonials

‘A large team that draws on the appropriate skills and resources within the firm as required. Strong communication and collaboration across the litigation and commercial practices. Client focus is of primary importance.’

‘The team have an extraordinary wealth of experience and blend of diversity in what is a complex and evolving area of law. During the pandemic, they were extremely quick to adapt and have used technology extraordinarily well to provide the highest level of legal service to clients facing regulatory investigation and prosecution in the most challenging of circumstances. They adopt a highly collaborative approach to make sure that the client has the benefit of the team’s combined knowledge and experience to achieve the very best possible outcome. The team from the top down also have finely tuned interpersonal skills and display a great empathy with clients, which is a unique asset.’

‘Specific standout partners are Nicola Dunleavy SC and Karen Reynolds, who bring great insight, strategic thinking, attention to detail and work ethic to any complex case and are an asset to any client facing a regulatory prosecution. The strong and decisive leadership qualities these partners demonstrate in managing their respective teams are second to none. Individually and in collaboration with each other they demonstrate great commitment and drive to achieve the best possible results for clients. I would rate both extremely highly indeed.

‘They have extensive experience of dealing with law enforcement issues and investigations by all the Irish regulators, and also of working with regulators in other jurisdictions in transnational matters. The related Digital Services Group uses the most up-to-date technology for the management of large-scale document review, resulting in significant efficiencies in cost and time. They have user-friendly and gifted lawyers.’

‘Karen Reynolds is adept at explaining complicated legal issues to senior management in a clear and concise manner which aides decision making.’

Key clients

Breccia Unlimited Company and Blackrock Hospital Limited (BHL)

Brokers Ireland

Irish Precision Optics

Work highlights

  • Represented Breccia Unlimited Company and Blackrock Hospital in respect of a shareholder dispute involving multiple proceedings before the Commercial Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.
  • Advising a client in respect of a ransomware cyber-attack.
  • Advising Brokers Ireland in relation to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission’s ongoing investigation into allegations of potential price signalling of increased motor insurance premiums.