Firms in the Spotlight Crime: fraud

ABR Solicitors

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CRIME, FRAUD AND LICENSING CRIME, FRAUD AND LICENSING ABR solicitors is a niche fraud, crime and regulatory practice with its head and back office in Leeds. It also has offices in Liverpool, London and Nottingham.  ABR is committed to operating in a digitalised court process.

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Crime: fraud in Yorkshire And The Humber

Rahman Ravelli

Rahman Ravelli has a highly respected position acting for professionals, senior executives, high-net-worth individuals and corporate clients in the field of fraud and financial crime. It is particularly noted for its involvement in Cum-Ex investigations and is the go-to firm for cryptocurrency fraud cases, as well as substantial matters involving market manipulation, sanctions and multilateral development bank bribery and corruption. Managing partner Aziz Rahman is a renowned authority on corporate investigations. Nicola Sharp is an expert in money laundering and multinational investment fraud cases, while Syed Rahman is praised for his white collar defence work and civil recovery actions brought by the NCA.

Practice head(s):

Aziz Rahman

Other key lawyers:

Nicola Sharp; Syed Rahman


‘The “go to” firm for fraud for defendants in the UK led by Aziz Rahman. The firm is the UK leader for defence civil recovery work and has developed this key area in defence fraud (both civil and criminal). Their experience and knowledge in this area of law is second to none.’

‘Aziz Rahman PD – team leader, great with clients. He is “the civil recovery and fraud leader”. Syed Rahman – partner. Knows everything about a case, talented litigator who clients respect. Nicola Sharp –  Very diligent and hard working. Talented lawyer who is exceptionally bright and a real fighter.’

‘Rahman Ravelli has an unrivalled expertise in the field of financial crime, in particular where there is an international dimension to the case. The firm’s practice straddles the civil and criminal jurisdictions, which is particularly important when dealing with issues such as the restraint and / or confiscation of assets.’

‘Aziz Rahman is the rainmaker of the firm. He has a supreme gift for being able to put clients at their ease and to instil confidence in the firm and the work they do.’

‘Aziz Rahman – Aziz is clearly the drive behind Rahman Ravelli, and he also has exceptional legal knowledge. Aziz’s client management is superb, and he clearly runs a very motivated and experienced team.’

‘Syed Rahman – we have worked alongside Syed on several civil and cryptocurrency related matters. He is without question one of the leading lawyers on cryptocurrency tracing and recovery, having worked on very high profile and pioneering cases in this area.’

‘Aziz Rahman is much in demand as the dynamic and determined leader of the firm. He truly has a national reputation. He is a real asset to have on your side. He has years of experience as being the thorn in the side of fraud prosecutions.’

ABR Solicitors

At ABR Solicitors, Rob Rode is a specialist criminal defence solicitor with extensive experience in white-collar, regulatory defence involving cross-border issues and private prosecutions on behalf of individuals and companies. Tony Murphy is noted for conspiracy matters involving large volumes of prosecution material, and likewise, Andrew Stewardson is noted for high value confiscation cases and matters falling under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Practice head(s):

Rob Rode

Other key lawyers:

Tony Murphy; Andrew Stewardson

Ashmans Solicitors

At Ashmans Solicitors, Imran Ali has extensive experience of defending individuals and companies in financial crime matters, particularly in asset forfeiture proceedings, restraint orders and cash seizures. He regularly represents company directors charged with allegations of serious fraud. Raja Atif Afzal undertakes all aspects of criminal defence.

Practice head(s):

Imran Ali; Raja Atif Afzal


‘Exceptional level of detail in examining cases and finding novel approaches to case progression. The partners are vastly experienced in fraud cases and deal almost exclusively in this kind of work. Efficiency during the case preparation process makes this firm truly unique.’

‘Raja Atif Afzal is able to grasp the legal issues involved in every case at breath taking speed. Imran Ali is at the cutting edge of legal knowledge. He is constantly updating his legal skills and runs a number of in house courses on new legal concepts.’

‘The team work very well together as they have a wealth of wide-ranging experience in numbers and depth in criminal law. The range of experience and expertise that exists means that this practice is able to provide an excellent service to all levels of case from simple hearings at the magistrates courts to the most complex cases of fraud and/or most grave cases of murder.’

‘Raja Afzal is meticulous in his preparation of cases. His client care and the service he provides is excellent. Clients can be assured that their case will be comprehensively and fully prepared and a barrister that is ideally suited to their case is chosen. In this way Raja ensures that the best possible outcome is achieved for his clients.’

‘Raja Afzal – a very hard working solicitor who thoroughly prepares cases for his lay clients. He provides excellent and sound advice to his clients.’

O’Garra Cohen Cramer

Leeds-based firm O'Garra Cohen Cramer has a strong capability in POCA cases, and represents a mix of individual defendants and corporate and professional clients. In addition to undertaking contentious work, it also advises clients on tax schemes, as well as financial and money laundering regulations. John Goodwin has over 35 years of criminal defence experience, including matters involving financial crime and fraud, and drugs cases with money laundering elements. Michael O’Garra‘s practice encompasses cases concerning mortgage fraud, money laundering, VAT/MTIC fraud and insurance fraud.

Practice head(s):

John Goodwin

Other key lawyers:

Michael O’Garra


‘John Goodwin is intellectually first class with a shrewd overview of cases and tactics. He is personable and has extremely good communication skills with clients. Michael O’Garra has a wide following and strong reputation in waste management/ environmental criminal proceedings.’

‘Michael O’Garra is an outstanding lawyer with a wealth of experience and expertise in all crime and regulatory cases.’

‘This firm regularly appears in the countries largest fraud and serious crime prosecutions. What makes them unique is their very hands on and personal approach to client care. A massively impressive outfit.’

‘John Goodwin – a real character. Brilliant with clients.’

‘John Goodwin has an encyclopaedic knowledge of law and procedure which vies perfectly with the affable and approachable manner he exudes with professional and lay clients alike. He is one of the most impressive solicitors I have had the pleasure of working with.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for one of a number of individuals facing a multi-million pound prosecution alleging VAT fraud involving buildings and building companies.
  • Successfully represented three directors of companies in the waste industry said to have conspired to evade substantial landfill tax and VAT liabilities.
  • Acting for a defendant in a multi-handed money laundering prosecution related to an international tax and duty evasion scheme.

Opus Law

Directors Ben Jones and Sarah Batty are the key contacts at Opus Law, which is a Bradford-based boutique firm specialising in cases relating to white-collar crime, fraud and general criminal defence. The team often handles cases involving tax fraud, money laundering and misappropriation of funds. Jones and Batty are sought after as defence counsel for individuals involved in high-value fraud cases brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), HMRC and National Crime Agency (NCA).

Practice head(s):

Ben Jones; Sarah Batty


‘Ben Jones is one of the best lawyers in the north of England practising in this sector, tough and experienced, a master of the detail and fearless.’

‘Ben Jones has an unparalleled breath of clients across very large groups of different areas. He has represented a number of terrorists for serious cases, a number of footballers, those alleged to be involved in serious fraud, and the full ambit of criminal cases.’

‘Ben Jones. No one works harder or is more devoted to achieve the best result for all his clients. Truly tenacious.’

‘Ben Jones and Sarah Batty continually impress with a desire to treat clients as equals, put them at their ease and demonstrate a desire to do their utmost for the client.’

‘Opus Law has an enviable reputation in the financial crime world, as a small but very effective specialist operator. The depth of knowledge and experience across the team is significant and, in any given year, they are involved in some of the largest cases across the region and the UK. Their client care is superlative, as is their willingness to really understand a client.’

‘Ben Jones has always been a very well connected and hardworking lawyer with in depth police station knowledge and a contacts book that is the envy of many solicitors. Sarah Batty is extremely disciplined and organised.’

‘They are a firm with true experts in the defence of serious fraud. They have been involved in the defence of many of the largest frauds of the last two decades which have been brought by the SFO, HMRC, Trading Standards and DBIZ. They are adept with computer technology which is essential for modern practice. They have some of the best forensic accountants to call upon.’

Key clients

1511 Sports Agency

Bradford City Football Club

Smith & Butler Accountants

Mitton Group

Work highlights

  • Representing an accountant in one of the largest money laundering prosecutions seen in the UK in which it is alleged that £260m has been laundered. A case that involves cash transfers, gold bullion and multijurisdictional transactions.
  • Representing M who is charged with a substantial building scheme fraud and the laundering of those proceeds.
  • Representing an accountant who is charged with many counts of fraud alleged to have being committed through the vehicle of his large and respected company.

Shoosmiths LLP

Shoosmiths LLP specialises in private top-end senior employee and director prosecutions. The firm is a leading name nationally for white-collar defence and investigations into alleged bribery and corruption, fraud and money laundering. It is often instructed in high-profile and complex multijurisdictional cases. Internal investigations and compliance are another key area of work. Dan Stowers handles the full breadth of financial crime cases, and is particularly sought after for advice on investigations and prosecutions by the SFO.

Practice head(s):

Dan Stowers

Other key lawyers:

Lauren Bowkett


‘In terms of corporate teams in the regions, very few other firms share Shoosmiths’ corporate client base and fewer still (if any) equally deal with top end prosecutions of individuals.’

‘I have worked in particular with Dan Stowers. He is one of (if not) the standout lawyer(s) in the region and equally a match for sector leading London lawyers. He never loses focus on the endgame and is an expert at navigating prosecution minefields. He is both tactician and negotiator, with a keen eye for detail.’

‘Dan Stowers has extensive experience of fraud, but also regulatory matters and is going from strength to strength in representing clients pre-charge or at the point of internal investigations.’

‘Lauren Bowkett is a tenacious individual who can handle complex matters and works effectively in the interests of her clients to achieve the best results.’

‘Lauren Bowkett is a leader in the field with a high reputation.’

‘Lauren Bowkett is a star performer.’

Howard & Byrne

Howard & Byrne has a highly regarded offering in relation to fraud and white-collar crime cases, as is reflected by its involvement in high-profile and multijurisdictional matters, as well as its strong flow of national referrals. Colin Byrne, has a wealth of experience in cross-border investigations; his expertise includes matters concerning fraud, corruption and bribery. Kevin Blount and Lee-Anne Robins-Hicks are other key individuals at the firm.

Practice head(s):

Colin Byrne; Kevin Blount

Other key lawyers:

Lee-Anne Robins-Hicks


‘Colin Byrne is very forward thinking- always trying to attract new areas of work to the practice via his own passion for the law Kevin Blount is tactically sound and excellent on client care. He always ensures high levels of client contact to ensure clients receive the best service.’

‘The team at Howard and Byrne are top drawer. They are a great firm that can handle complex crime and fraud cases. Real specialists with huge experience.’

‘Colin Byrne and Kevin Blount are both class acts. Hugely experienced and handle very complex work.’

‘Colin Byrne is an impressive criminal lawyer. He commands authority and respect from clients, courts and opponents alike and engenders a real sense of safety in those whose interests he represents. He is a very able and fearless advocate. Kevin Blount is calm, considered and unflappable. He takes on work with a real sense of commitment and is a great communicator.’

Work highlights

  • Defending a solicitor against claims that his firm was being used as a vehicle for fraud and money laundering – alleged scheme aimed at fraudulently targeting elderly and vulnerable victims.
  • Acting for defendant who is being privately prosecuted by a former employer regarding alleged fraudulent expenses claims.

Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell's team of specialist white collar criminal litigators has extensive national and international experience, which includes advising companies and boards on criminal liability, compliance and investigations by the SFO, FCA and HMRC. Also notable is that the group has expertise in internal investigations into theft, fraud and bribery, as well as matters relating to financial crime, sanctions, tax evasion and breaches of financial services regulations.  Associates Emma Windle and Jason Newall are the main contacts. Paul Haycock has retired.

Practice head(s):

Emma Windle, Jason Newall


‘The team are very professional and always deliver a full brief.’

‘Jason Newall – New head of department, is a strong solicitor and a good generator of work.’

‘Depth of experience. IM have worked on many of the major fraud, financial services, cartel and money laundering cases and done so to an exceptionally high standard. Added to this experience, within the team is an almost unparalleled experience of defending murder, rape, drugs and organised crime cases over many decades.’

‘Emma Windle – highly adept at dealing with cases with large amounts of evidence without ever losing focus. She is able to see the bigger picture and where the pieces come together in a case. A tactical and effective lawyer.’

‘The team is long-established and each member has a unique role to play that provides for a very efficient working environment. Emma Windle is one of the pillars behind the success of the team.’

Lupton Fawcett

Lupton Fawcett's team defends corporate clients, their senior employees and individuals at all stages of investigations or prosecutions of fraud allegations brought by the police, the SFO, HMRC and the Insolvency Service. It has a strong regulatory compliance practice and has developed an in-house online Bribery Act training package which has been implemented by a number of regional and national companies. Department head Jeremy Scott is supported by Jonathan Cripwell (the head of the York office) on substantial civil fraud and bribery cases. Senior associate Meghan Waldron is also recommended for her criminal and regulatory defence expertise.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Scott

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Cripwell; Meghan Waldron


McCormicks' client portfolio includes individual defendants, companies, solicitors and professional bodies involved in serious fraud investigations and criminal prosecutions. It also represents clients in major POCA proceedings. As a member of the defence panel for the National Pharmaceutical Association, the practice (which is led by Peter Minnikin) is instructed by the NHS fraud team to advise on matters involving an interplay between pharmaceutical regulation and fraud offences. Minnikin specialises in fraud cases where there has been an abuse of a position of trust, as well as HMRC investigations and money laundering prosecutions.

Practice head(s):

Peter Minnikin

Wilford Smith

Sheffield-based firm Wilford Smith is a reliable defence counsel for high- profile criminal and fraud prosecutions. Stephen Smith has significant courtroom experience defending and prosecuting individuals and companies in numerous fraud proceedings, particularly in relation to tax and VAT fraud. White-collar crime defence specialist Rebecca Smith-Bains is also highly recommended.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Smith, Rebecca Smith-Bains


‘Many years of being the go-to firm in the field of crime, fraud and licensing  allows them to rightfully claim their position as leaders in the field.’

‘Wilford Smith is South Yorkshire’s premium criminal legal firm. They constantly carry the most serious of caseloads and deal with them expertly.’

‘Rebecca Smith has led the team with aplomb for the last two years and is a pleasure to co-defend with.’

‘An ability to win the confidence of clients by having a detailed knowledge of the case coupled with a willingness to spend as much time as is needed to explain matters.’

‘The most striking feature is the allocation of a lawyer to each case, which lawyer is available at all times to deal with the client and counsel. Continuity of representation within the firm is prioritised, ensuring that clients are always able to speak with the fee-earner who knows and understands the case.’