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Firms in the Spotlight Crime: fraud

ABR Solicitors

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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, Harrogate, Bradford and Huddersfield. 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 boasts an 'international reputation' in the field of fraud and financial crime, representing a variety of clients on money laundering, bribery, and embezzlement proceedings. The firm has notable capabilities in cross-border and multijurisdictional cases, co-operating effectively with global counsel. Practice head Aziz Rahman 'leads by example' on highly complex cases relating to deferred prosecution agreements and large-scale regulatory and criminal investigations. Directors Nicola Sharp and Syedur Rahman are noted for their work on multi-agency investigations, recovery proceedings and global bribery and corruption investigations.

Practice head(s):

Azizur Rahman

Other key lawyers:

Nicola Sharp; Syedur Rahman


The team is strong, creative, resourceful and willing to go the extra mile.’

Rahman Ravelli now has a truly international reputation. In recent years the firm has grown into a juggernaut that deals with traditional fraud as well corporate governance and regulatory compliance both in the UK and overseas. One of the key strengths of the firm is its ability to generate trust and confidence in a very diverse client base. Compared to other firms in this area, I would say that the expansion of Rahmans had outpaced them all and the firm deserves a seat at the top table of crime/fraud solicitors.

‘Azizur Rahman has genuine star quality and a wonderful ability to engage with clients. He is undoubtedly the engine room of the firm and his energy has driven its expansion in recent years. Other notable practitioners at the firm include Syedur Rahman. He has an incredible depth of experience when it comes to fraud matters, and in particular those with an international element or where the National Crime Agency are involved. One of his specialisms is world-wide asset recovery. I would also recommend Paula Berry at the firm. She is incredibly incisive in my experience and always manages to drill down to the heart of the issue in every case. She never messes around and gives honest, frank advice to clients when it is needed.’

The growth in their international corporate services reach has been most noticeable over the past year. Targeted recruitment and being not afraid to invest in infrastructure has resulted in a firm that is well placed to take on its often “magic circle” rivals in the search for international corporate compliance work. Clearly, one of the leading corporate compliance firms in the North.

Rahman Ravelli really stands out as the most competent and professional in their field by a country mile. The firm is quietly competent and gets things done without fuss. That professionalism instils confidence in me and produces results. Other firms are of course professional, but the difference is that Rahman Ravelli has the quality staff and resources to enable the lawyers there to be brilliant at what they do.

Rahman Ravelli has a strong team of white collar lawyers and those dealing with sensitive private cases. I would certainly place the firm in the same category as any city lawyers.

Aziz Rahman is an exceptional solicitor who provides a gold standard service to his clients.

Aziz Rahman leads by example. He is across every case. Endlessly looking for ways to improve the client’s prospects. Very impressive.

ABR Solicitors

ABR Solicitors represents clients in a wide variety of fraud defence cases, with notable capabilities in cross-jurisdictional proceedings. The team has a range of expertise, encompassing regulatory defence, VAT and other types of tax fraud, money laundering, and Proceeds of Crime Act cases. 'Highly effective' practice head Rob Rode successfully handles a high volume of cases, ably supported by Tony Murphy and Andrew Stewartson.

Practice head(s):

Rob Rode

Other key lawyers:

Tony Murphy; Andrew Stewartson


The team relies on Rob Rode’s individual reputation. He is the key player to the team, and is a national draw.

Rob Rode stands out as a highly effective litigator and advocate with a wealth of experience.

The crime team as a whole is hardworking, knowledgeable and very committed to their clients. they always go the extra mile in terms of preparation and nothing is too much trouble. they have a reputation for always valuing client carer highly and ensuring the client gets the best representation at all times.

Hard work, ceaseless enthusiasm and a desire to ensure that the client’s case is thoroughly prepared comes as standard. Rob Rode is a stand out and leads by example. No case is too big or too small and every case is treated like a cup final.

ABR Solicitors have a track record of doing complex fraud cases. They will do private cases, legal aid cases or insurance backed work. They offer the same levels of service in each case. They prepare their cases very thoroughly and the feedback from clients is exceptional.

Robert Rode is the managing partner and the driving force in the firm. He loves going into details for clients and fighting their corner.’

ABR are a large firm and have a specialist fraud team. The team are genuine specialists, experienced and extremely knowledgeable. The ABR fraud team have been involved in large and high profile cases and regularly deal with paper-heavy, complex cases. Many firms claim specialism in the fraud arena, however there are relatively few who can deliver on that claim. ABR are genuine specialists who can.’

Rob Rode is the managing partner and is an outstanding individual. He is an exceptionally good lawyer and leaves no stone unturned in preparation of his cases. His client care and communication skills are exceptional; he can reduce the most complex legal concepts into clear advice and is particularly adept at managing clients and their expectations. He is also exceptionally tactically aware.

Ashmans Solicitors

Ashmans Solicitors specialises in fraud defence, handling high value national cases covering tax and customs fraud, money laundering and the Proceeds of Crime Act. Practice heads Imran Ali and Raja Atif Afzal both have considerable experience defending individual and corporate clients in high-value proceedings, including matters originating abroad with present complex multi-jurisdictional challenges.

Practice head(s):

Imran Ali; Raja Afzal


An unparalleled commitment to client service. Every client is made to feel like their case really matters. The senior lawyers in particular have a keen eye for detail, built up over years of experience and solid training, as well as rigour gained through representing innumerable clients in every type of case. Their additional experience in civil matters gives them a particular edge when dealing with matters involving cross-over such as fraud.

Arshad Ali. An astute and perspicacious operator. Endowed with many years of experience in the game. Able to grapple with issues and find solutions instantly.

The team has a specialist fraud and financial crime department headed up by Raja Afzal and Imran Ali. The unique aspect of this practice is by virtue of their reputation they have attracted and dealt with fraud cases all over the country. Offering services nationally as a result of their national presence from offices up and down the country. The speed at which they have developed into one of the most reputable fraud firms is astounding.

Imran Ali has a innovative approach to the law bringing his vast experience of cutting edge technology to the legal market. He has a phenomenal work appetite and eye for detail.

Ashmans Solicitors are a firm with a well-deserved local and national reputation for excellent client care and expert legal representation and advice. Their approach to cases, irrespective of the size, is always professional. They prepare detailed and well researched briefs and play an active role in proceedings from interview all the way to appeal. Their specialism is fraud. They are renowned for their in-depth knowledge of and experience in, defending allegations of serious fraud, including MTIC frauds and other multi-million pound frauds with an international dimension and money-laundering, together with the forfeiture and confiscation of cash and the proceeds of crime.

Raja Afzal is a consummate professional. He is well-organised and is always on top of the facts of a case. He is an integral part of any defence team and regularly liaises with both junior and leading counsel to provide helpful and timely legal and factual analysis. Zahid Majeed is a fantastic lawyer. He has a very approachable and down-to-earth style which immediately endears him to his lay clients. He is very adept at spotting the critical issue in any case and communicating his welcome views to counsel.

Excellent and genuine client care.

Raja Afzal is a wise head.‘

Cohen Cramer

Cohen Cramer has been broadening the range of fraud and financial crime cases it handles, both on a national and international level, dealing with cases relating to high-value tax fraud, money laundering and drug prosecutions. The firm also has a dedicated Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) team, which is now led by 'tireless' associate Lauren BowkettMichael O’Garra and Mark Jackson are key team members, securing referrals and direct instructions from individual and corporate clients. Practice head John Goodwin continues to play a key role in a variety of criminal defence cases, particularly complex multi-jurisdictional proceedings.

Practice head(s):

John Goodwin


A strong all-round team with excellent leadership at the top. It seems to be a happy place to work which is not easy in trying times for us all. They have invested wisely in both manpower and IT and admin support and are seeing the dividends.

John Goodwin is a hugely respected figure and rightly so. A top-class litigator with sound legal judgement. Michael O’Garra is very experienced, and Lauren Bowkett is a fraud client’s ideal – tireless in achieving the best result for her clients.

The team at Cohen Cramer are all highly capable. The strength is due to the hard work put in by each member. The Proceeds of Crime team are particularly impressive.

Lauren Bowkett, John Goodwin and Kristin O’Garra all stand out as excellent lawyers. Lauren’s strength is in the field of Proceeds of Crime and she is particularly diligent are getting the best possible result achieved. John Goodwin is a very impressive legal mind. He has a wealth of experience.

Cohen Cramer have a huge volume of serious fraud and money laundering cases with both national and international dimensions. They regularly work with our leading counsel and the quality, as well as the volume of their work, is nothing sort of extraordinary. They undertake complex tax tribunal work and unexplained wealth orders. Their friendly, 24/7 approach combined with their expertise makes them a go to firm for both individual and corporate clients.

‘John Goodwin and Michael O’Garra are both enormously experienced, client friendly and technically expert solicitors, as well as outstanding advocates who have dealt with extremely large and complex matters for many years. The range of their work and their expertise is truly exceptional. Their discretion is such that it is often only fellow legal professionals that appreciate their high profile clients.

Cohen Cramer are the go to firm for fraud in Leeds. They possess a wealth of expertise which they deliver with aplomb.

The team at Cohen Cramer is just that – a team! They work together to provide the best possible service to their clients. If ever a team went above and beyond their duty it is the team at Cohen Cramer.’

Irwin Mitchell

The highly experienced Paul Haycock heads up the Irwin Mitchell team in Sheffield, representing both individuals and corporates in regulatory investigations involving the SFO, FCA, and HMRC, as well as advising on regulatory compliance. The practice draws on the wider firm's full service capabilities, acting for a broad range of clients across sectors including consumer goods, education, financial services, real estate and TMT. Haycock handles major national investigations, including a recent high-profile trial at Southwark Crown Court which was the first of its kind to have human defendants following a deferred prosecution agreement.

Practice head(s):

Paul Haycock


Irwin Mitchell’s regulatory team contains a number of able, motivated and very hard working lawyers who are passionate about the results they achieve for their clients. What sets them apart from other solicitors working in this area is the attention to detail they give to cases, and their client care.

Emma Windle is a meticulous lawyer who is passionate at achieving the best outcome for clients. She will go above and beyond other lawyers I have worked with, and works collaboratively with other legal professionals and colleagues.’

‘Paul Haycock has a wealth of experience in fraud cases. He leads his team from the front and is a reassuring face for clients.

Irwin Mitchell 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. This means that they are not only able to bring to bear a depth of experience, but that they can provide a full service to corporate clients where individuals end up facing general crime allegations.

‘Every member of the crime team prepares each case thoroughly. They have an astounding ability to work through large volumes of material and prepare working schedule which make their cases accessible. They are very hard working and their criminal trial preparation more closely resembles what one would expect from a highly funded civil case. This is the work model the team adopts no matter the case.I have worked closely with Paul Haycock, Emma Windle and John Davies and know that all of them will do everything needed on a case, are proactive and team players – they bring real value.

Work highlights

  • Represented a defendant in the XYZ case. First successful defence of a human defendant after trial where a company has enjoyed a Deferred Prosecution Agreement, agreed with the Serious Fraud Office. The case involved allegations of conspiracy to bribe in order to win numerous contracts to supply heavy industrial equipment to manufacturing businesses across the world.

Opus Law

Bradford boutique Opus Law advises on a wide variety of high-profile fraud proceedings, including money laundering and drug trafficking cases. The practice has a range of sector specialisms, working with clients across a number of industries, including both individuals and corporates, with notable capabilities in work for sports clubs. 'Industry heavyweight' Ben Jones and Sarah Batty lead the team, and are praised for their 'tireless' efforts on behalf of clients.

Practice head(s):

Ben Jones; Sarah Batty


This firm has a nationwide draw for fraud. They routinely defend in high profile cases all over the country. Excellent client care is this firm’s ethos coupled with very strong lawyers throughout.

Sarah Batty works tirelessly on behalf of her clients. Communication is key so that the client knows she is with them every step of the way. Ben Jones seems to be one of the nationwide go-to fraud lawyers- at least for those wanting the best. His knowledge and judgement are second to none.

Exceptionally knowledgeable. Skillful in handling the most complex and paper heavy cases.

Ben Jones is a very safe pair of hands. Quick to react, dedicated and committed to his clients.

Very busy for many years in the serious fraud arena and well known in major cases.’

Ben Jones is enormously hard working and truly committed to his clients’ causes . Nothing is ever too mush trouble for him . He is an industry heavyweight.

Opus Law really is a specialist in the area. Others may profess expertise, but Opus are a firm that can actually deliver. The team is relatively small, but this is a distinct advantage as all within it are highly knowledgeable and have a wealth of experience in the field.  Opus are indeed a top quality specialist fraud outfit. I have done a number of cases with Opus, I find that almost without exception I am privileged to be working for the best team in the case.’

Ben Jones is outstanding in his field. I would go so far as to say that you could not be represented by anybody with an equal understanding of the law or grasp of the strategic and tactical elements of a case. His preparation is meticulous. His approach to all cases is unfailingly to the ultimate benefit of his client. His client care skills are second to none. His team, including Sarah Batty and Philip Priestley, share his qualities and work tirelessly for their clients.‘

Key clients

1511 Sports Agency

Bradford City Football Club

Smith & Butler Accountants

Mitton Group

Work highlights

  • Secured a not guilty verdict in fraud case brought by Trading Standards,
  • Acted for a defendant in one of the largest tobacco evasion conspiracy cases in the country.
  • Acting for a Vietnamese organised criminal group charged with people trafficking and money laundering.

Howard & Byrne

Based out of York, the team at Howard & Byrne represents clients nationally and internationally in a range of complex financial crime cases, with proceedings ranging from bribery to money laundering and misappropriation of funds. The 'truly exceptional' Colin Byrne is a well-respected practitioner nationally with an excellent record in cases, working on several cross-jurisdictional matters. Byrne's co-practice head Kevin Blount is praised for his 'calm and assured manner' in criminal defence of wealthy individuals and experience in private prosecutions.

Practice head(s):

Colin Byrne; Kevin Blount


I have worked with and referred clients to Howard & Byrne for a number of years. As a firm they are quick to respond and have a breadth and depth of expertise which ensures that client needs are always met to a high standard of professionalism. They have the ability to handle exceptionally complex and demanding cases whilst maintaining a humane and non-judgemental approach. 

Colin Byrne is a truly exceptional criminal lawyer. He thinks creatively and strategically and instils a sense of confidence and safety in clients and referrers alike. He is a pleasure to work with and I have no hesitation in recommending him above others. Kevin Blount is a highly capable lawyer with a calm and assured manner which puts clients at ease.

Howard & Byrne have a fantastic profile for fraud work. They do huge, national and international cases. They have been involved in some major cases that City firms would love to be involved in.’

Colin Byrne is the charismatic senior partner. He often wins work by the sheer force of his personality.

The partners not only bring cases into the firm due to their reputation and ability but they then go on to roll their shirt sleeves up and get stuck in. they will involve themselves in the minutiae of every case in which they are involved.

Colin Byrne is a master tactician when it comes to trial strategy.

H&B have developed a strong national practice from their base in York. In that regard, they are unusual. This is down to Colin Byrne, who is an exceptional and highly committed lawyer. 

Colin Byrne is the major name at the firm. He has driven them forward, and continues to do so. He is committed and highly resourceful. If a close friend of mine had a major problem, I would recommend him without hesitation.

Key clients

Vice president of De Puy

R v Fowkes

R v Platt

R v Foster

Lupton Fawcett

Lupton Fawcett represents clients across Yorkshire and the Humber, nationally and internationally, with a particular focus on fraud, Proceeds of Crime Act-related matters and cash forfeiture. Practice head Jeremy Scott is a highly experienced regulatory lawyer, defending corporate and individual clients in investigations and prosecutions across various sectors. Jonathan Cripwell handles both civil and criminal regulatory proceedings relating to fraud, health and safety and bribery.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Scott

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Cripwell


The 'authoritative and capablePeter Minnikin  leads the team at McCormicks, which represents clients in fraud investigations on a local, national, and international basis. Typical cases include tax fraud investigations, power of attorney abuse, and proceedings related to misappropriation of corporate funds,.The retiring Geoffrey Rogers has been replaced by corporate specialist James Towler, who arrived from Newtons Solicitors Limited in October 2019.

Practice head(s):

Peter Minnikin

Other key lawyers:

James Towler


McCormicks has a good reputation throughout Yorkshire and has had for many years. Amongst other firms working in the same area they are regarded as being “a safe pair of hands” who can be trusted to deal with a case professionally and promptly.

My personal experience recently has involved me dealing with Peter Minnikin who I have found to be authoritative and capable. Having referred a client to him in a case where there was a clear conflict of interest, I have received excellent feedback both directly from the party introduced and from third parties that the standard of representation was excellent. The matter was dealt with speedily and efficiently and the client was happy with the outcome.

Work highlights

  • Represented defendant against an abuse of trust claim relating to misuse of power of attorney. An initial claim of £150,000 was reduced and the timescale for payment extended.
  • Represented defendant in a case relating to theft from an elderly neighbour, in which the defendant avoided a custodial sentence and was ordered to pay £40,000.
  • Representing defendant in a HMRC investigation of a large scale dog breeding business, with a claim valued at £70,000.

Shoosmiths LLP

'Tenacious' and 'forthright' financial crime and fraud specialist Dan Stowers leads the team at Shoosmiths LLP, which combines high-profile white-collar defense cases relating to bribery, fraud, and money-laundering with regulatory compliance advice on behalf of corporations and their directors. The practice acts for clients regionally and nationally, with involvement in high-profile criminal cases attracting significant media attention.

Practice head(s):

Dan Stowers


In terms of corporate teams in the regions, some may share Shoosmiths’s corporate client base (although many do not) but what sets Shoosmiths apart is that alongside corporate clients facing prosecution, Shoosmiths also act in the top end prosecution of individuals.

Dan Stowers has over 20 years’ experience, much of which related to serious and complex fraud cases. He is friendly and approachable to clients, but tenacious with his opponents. Having worked with Dan, he has consistently proved to be a very strategic thinker with an incredible eye for detail. He is particularly effective during investigations and has managed to stop criminal investigations before his client has been charged.

The team working on my behalf had a strong team spirit resulting from being colleagues of several years standing. All of them had a professional attitude but combined that with a friendly and relaxed approach making difficult circumstances tolerable and very productive. The strong client /professional relationships developed over the five-year duration of the case made a significant contribution to the positive result achieved.

The partner I worked with is Dan Stowers. He is a straight-talking, forthright character with impressive legal experience which he combines with an admirable hardworking attitude. At the same time Dan has an approachable friendly personality. Dan was supported by Louise Walker who impressed me with her professional hardworking attitude, but also like Dan was very supportive and friendly.

‘I could not imagine finding a legal team that would perform technically as well as this one whilst creating and maintaining such a warm environment.

Cartwright King

Cartwright King represents businesses across various sectors in investigations and prosecutions relating to tax fraud, money laundering, and regulatory violations. Mark Fowler and senior associate John Speight are the key contacts in Sheffield.

Other key lawyers:

Mark Fowler; John Speight


Howells handles white-collar criminal defence work of considerable value, encompassing tax fraud and money laundering proceedings. Practice head Chris Wong has particular expertise in cross-border and extradition proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Chris Wong

Wilford Smith

Wilford Smith handles complex proceedings relating to tax fraud and money-laundering. Rebecca Smith-Bains heads up the practice, which is active in the North of England as well as nationally. Smith-Bains and Stephen Smith specialise in fraud, tax, and VAT prosecutions, while senior associate Mark Bates works on fraud defence, cash seizure and confiscation cases.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Smith-Bains

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Smith; Mark Bates


Wilford Smith are without doubt the go-to firm in South Yorkshire for criminal fraud work. They are meticulous in their preparation and diligently proactive in preparing cases for their clients.

Steve Smith has amassed many years of forensic ability having dealt with the country’s biggest cases.

Work highlights

  • Acquittal of the defendant in a case relating to illegal import and duty avoidance on cigarettes, wherein all other defendants were convicted and imprisoned.
  • Trial of client following a four-year HMRC and CPS investigation abandoned due to lack of evidence.
  • Defendant acquitted after a five year investigation and court proceedings following a half time submission before the court at trial.