PCB Byrne > London, England > Firm Profile

PCB Byrne

Crime, fraud and licensing > Fraud: civil Tier 1

Practitioners at PCB Byrne are praised for having the ‘intellectual ability, experience and sheer grit to hold their own against any rival‘. The team covers an impressive range of civil fraud matters, including ancillary issues, and takes on asset forfeiture and extradition matters, working closely with the firm's white-collar crime and regulatory disputes teams. Nicola Boulton has long-standing experience in fraud, dishonesty and corruption matters; she leads the practice together with Anthony Riem, who is an established adviser to financial institutions, government agencies and high-net-worth individuals. Trevor Mascarenhas has strong cross-border capabilities, and Ben Davies is noted for his ‘astute tactical awareness‘. Jon Felce and Natalie Todd departed to Cooke, Young & Keidan LLP in early 2022.

Practice head(s):

Anthony Riem; Nicola Boulton

Other key lawyers:

Trevor Mascarenhas; Elizabeth Seborg; Nick Ractliff; Ben Davies


‘Masters in this field, they know more about civil fraud than many of the bigger practices.’

‘The practice is unique. It is not a large firm but its lawyers have the intellectual ability, experience and sheer grit to hold their own against any rival. Their standing in the fraud market is second to none. You would not get a better service elsewhere.’

‘The stars at PCB are Trevor Mascarenhas and Anthony Riem. They are giants of the civil fraud market and deservedly so. They combine a wealth of experience with a commercial approach that always gets the best possible result for the client.’

‘This firm is doubtless one of the pre-eminent fraud firms in the country with a global reputation. Put simply, the lawyers there handle cases which other firms cannot.’

‘The quality of the people is unrivalled, not least as they have the experience and knowledge which comes from working on the most complicated of cases.’

‘Nicola Boulton is one of the stand-out fraud lawyers of her generation. A tactical genius in difficult cases.’

‘Elizabeth Seborg is excellent with a razor sharp mind.’

‘Nicola Boulton & Ben Davies: highly experienced and experts in their field. Astute tactical awareness and a focus on pragmatically commercial outcomes.’

Key clients

Balda Foundation & Nysco Management Corp

Deposit Guarantee Fund of Ukraine (as liquidator of National Credit Bank)

Republic of Cuba & Banco Nacional de Cuba

VTB Commodities Trading Designated Activity Company

Lopag Trust Reg and others

Invest Bank PSC

Ace City Holdings

Associazone Cassa Nazionale di Prevedenza Ed Assistebnza A Favore dei Ragioneri E Periti Commerciali

PJSC PhosAgro

Punjab National Bank (International) Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for an individual in recovering assets in settlement of a £450m divorce award.
  • Acted in the successful defence of a $1.85bn Commercial Court claim by Vale.
  • Acting for two of the main shareholders of NMC Health Plc in defending a $1bn claim in deceit and conspiracy brought by Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.

Crime, fraud and licensing > Fraud: white-collar crime (advice to individuals) Tier 2

Praised for its ‘great dedication and skill‘, the team at PCB Byrne offers bespoke criminal expertise across the full range of financial crime cases, including fraud, money laundering, tax and financial services investigations and prosecutions, both UK-led and multijurisdictional. The firm acts for senior executives, high-net-worth individuals, and other high-profile individuals facing allegations of bribery and corruption, and excels in sensitive proceedings involving significant public interest, and is involved in a large number of ongoing SFO investigations. Managing partner Sara Teasdale and Michael Potts head up the team, offering notable expertise and ‘strategic thinking‘ in cross-border bribery and corruption investigations and Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings respectively, while Matthew Frankland is praised by clients for his ‘robust‘ work in serious criminal fraud prosecutions and investigations, regularly handling high-stakes global investigations and prosecutions. Emma Brooks has played a leading role on international cases brought by the SFO, NCA and HMRC, with particular expertise in City-based fraud, and offers ‘unparalleled levels of client care‘.

Practice head(s):

Sara Teasdale; Michael Potts

Other key lawyers:


‘The white-collar fraud team provide outstanding levels of service in both pre and post charge matters.’

‘Matthew Frankland and Emma Brooks provide unparalleled levels of client care. No stone is left unturned.’

‘This is an exciting young team, eager to impress and achieving that aim with some ease.’

‘Emma Brooks has made a significant impact in recent years. She is highly tenacious and a formidable force. Every move is planned and thought out with great dedication and skill.’

‘PCB Byrne are a recently merged firm. With the enlarging of the practice I think that the firm now offers an almost unparalleled body of lawyers with experience in the white collar crime field.’

‘I have worked with Michael Potts for the last 16 years. In my view he is the best lawyer I have worked with in this practice field. He is a fantastic lawyer, with attention to the factual detail and has excellent overall strategic thinking. I have referred several white collar crime cases to Michael Potts as a reflection of his expertise and the expected standard of representation.’

‘Matthew Frankland is simply the most effective operator in this entire industry. He is the only person I would ever go to. However, if he was busy Sara Teesdale and Mike Potts are excellent; the latter particularly in FCA matters. Sara has great judgment and oozes style in all that she does.

‘Matthew Frankland always offers sound and robust advice based on years of experience in this field. He is a real pleasure to work with.’

Work highlights

  • Advised board members in connection with a multi-jurisdictional bribery investigation brought by the SFO and United Nations.
  • Representing a corporate and individual defendant in the Royal Mail’s largest ever private prosecution due to take place at Southwark Crown Court. Royal Mail allege an £81 million conspiracy to defraud.
  • Successfully defended the former Chairman and Director of Alstom International Limited who together with the company, was prosecuted in one of the SFO’s largest ever investigations into corruption.

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: mid-market Tier 2

The 2021 merger of Byrne & Partners LLP and PCB Litigation has given the combined team at PCB Byrne 'a critical mass capable of handling the largest of commercial disputes', with the practice particularly well known for its civil fraud and asset recovery credentials. Focused on fraud, dishonesty and corruption matters, Nicola Boulton is an international litigator with longstanding commercial disputes experience; Anthony Riem is 'first-rate with clients'; Nick Ractliff is 'an asset on any major case'; and 'one of the very best commercial litigators in London', Trevor Mascarenhas acts across a range of industry sectors, from banking and insurance to construction and real estate. Growth within the team includes the April 2022 elevation of Charlotte Bhania, who has particular knowledge of Middle East-related disputes, to partner; and at senior associate level, Rachel Turner is particularly focused on asset recovery and the cross-border enforcement of judgments and awards, including injunctive relief.

Practice head(s):

Anthony Riem; Nicola Boulton


‘A great firm which offers clients a stellar service at reasonable rates. Among its partners, the firm has some of the most experienced and respected litigators managing high-value complex, multi-jurisdictional litigation, supported by a team of excellent associates; and the merger of PCB and Byrne & Partners gives it a critical mass capable of handling the largest of commercial disputes.’

Anthony Riem is first-rate with clients.

‘Trevor Mascarenhas and Anthony Riem are well-known seasoned litigators. Nick Ractliff is also an accomplished lawyer, and an asset on any major case.’

‘Trevor Mascarenhas and Nick Ractliff are both brilliant litigators.’

Nick Ratcliff is an incredibly smart and analytical lawyer. The degree of commercial acumen that he brings to his cases is exceptional, even by comparison to partners at other top litigation firms.

‘Trevor Mascarenhas has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law and is an astute strategist in high-value claims.’

‘Trevor Mascarenhas is one of the very best commercial litigators in London. Able to hold off whole teams from the largest firms with one hand.

‘Trevor Mascherenas is an able team leader, with a sensible approach to achieving a positive result for his client.’

Key clients

Balda Foundation

Nysco Management Corp

Deposit Guarantee Fund of Ukraine (as liquidator of National Credit Bank)

Republic of Cuba

Banco Nacional de Cuba

VTB Commodities Trading Designated Activity Company

Lopag Trust Reg and others

Invest Bank

His Excellency Saeed Alqebaisi

Associazione Cassa Nazionale di Previdenza Ed Assistenza A Favore dei Ragioneri E Periti Commerciali

PJSC PhosAgro

Punjab National Bank (International)

Work highlights

  • Acted for Balda Foundation and Nysco Management Corp in the successful defence of a $2bn Commercial Court claim brought by Vale against Beny Steinmetz and others.
  • Defending His Excellency Saeed Alqebaisi and Khaleefa Almuhairi, two of the main shareholders of NMC Health, against a $1bn claim in deceit and conspiracy brought by Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.
  • Acting for Nikolai and Vera Kazakov, the principal defendants to a $1.5bn conspiracy claim brought by Ludmilla Bourlakova.

Dispute resolution > Banking litigation: investment and retail Tier 5

Formed by the merger of PCB Litigation and Byrne & Partners in April 2021, PCB Byrne has a highly international practice acting for banks in disputes relating to distressed debt, loan facilities and structured finance. The practice is increasingly active in representing Indian banks, with the Middle East also a region of focus. ‘Powerhouse’ litigator Anthony Riem and the ‘hugely experienced’ Nicola Boulton jointly head the team. Trevor Mascarenhas has experience acting both for and against banks, offering his clients ‘exceptional legal knowledge’, while Nick Ractliff is praised as ‘a man who gets things done’. Natalie Todd and Jon Felce departed in March 2022.

Practice head(s):

Anthony Riem; Nicola Boulton

Other key lawyers:

Trevor Mascarenhas; Nick Ractliff; Ben Davies; Elizabeth Seborg


‘A well-drilled and effective team who know how to win big banking cases.’

‘Good mix of knowledge and specialties, which allow the firm to address all kind of requests and complex situations. As a client, you feel a real sense of good collaboration and professionalism from the team, and a dedication to finding the best and most relevant solution.’

‘PCB is an exceptional firm filled with talented, responsive, deeply knowledgeable, practical and efficient lawyers who are also wonderful people to work with, none more so than senior partner Trevor Mascarenhas. The firm is also more than on top of all the fast moving technological improvements in the litigation sphere.’

‘Nick Ratcliff is exceptionally good.’

‘Trevor Mascarenhas has exceptional legal knowledge, a sound strategic mind and is great to work with. Anthony Riem is an astute and renowned litigator.’

‘The two biggest hitters here are probably Anthony Riem and Trevor Mascarenhas. Riem has remarkable litigation instincts, and Mascarenhas is super bright. But to single out these partners risks missing Nicola Boulton (hugely experienced, very clever, outside the box thinker), Nick Ratcliff (a man who gets things done), Ben Davies (great in every single department) and Elizabeth Seborg (very, very effective).’

‘Anthony Riem is a powerhouse who is approachable and sees the shape of issues from a clients perspective. He is solution-oriented in a truly unusual way. Trevor Mascarenhas is like having an in-house silk on call.’

Key clients

His Excellency Saeed Alqebaisi and Mr Khaleefa Almuhairi

Walid Giahmi

Invest Bank PSC

Deposit Guarantee Fund of Ukraine, as liquidator of National Credit Bank

Punjab National Bank (International) Limited

Associazone Cassa Nazionale di Prevedenza Ed Assistebnza A Favore dei Ragioneri E Periti Commerciali and Adenium SICAV, a Luxembourg Investment Fund

Work highlights

  • Acting for His Excellency Saeed Alqebaisi and Mr Khaleefa Almuhairi in defending a US$1bn claim brought by Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank in respect of lending to the NMC Health Group.
  • Successfully defending claims brought by the Libyan Investment Authority against Walid Giahmi in respect of a US$200m investment in structured products.

Dispute resolution > International arbitration

Former Allen & Overy LLP international arbitration associate Uliana Cooke, a commercial and investment treaty arbitration specialist, joined PCB Litigation as partner in February 2021, before it merged two months later with Byrne and Partners to become dispute resolution-only firm PCB Byrne.

This leading firm specialises in high value and complex commercial disputes across multiple jurisdictions. We have particular expertise in civil fraud and asset recovery, insolvency, white collar crime and investigations. PCB Byrne has won numerous landmark decisions and has a stellar track record of winning difficult cases.

Clients seek us out for our (i) creativity in solving problems, (ii) expertise and strategic oversight in managing global disputes, (iii) hands-on involvement by partners from start to finish, (iv) strong-minded, commercial approach, (v) complete dedication in fighting their corner, and (vi) legal financing solutions.

The types of work undertaken by the firm include the following:

Banking and financial services litigation: PCB Byrne is a conflict-free firm, which, unlike the majority of prominent City dispute resolution departments, is able to act against all of the major UK banks. At the same time, we are able to draw upon our experience of acting for large foreign banks, for whom we have acted extensively in fraud and global asset recovery cases, leading to us being described by The Times as “solicitors to the banking community”.

Claimant fraud and asset recovery: PCB Byrne provides a world-class team of lawyers with decades of expertise working together in substantial and complex international fraud and asset recovery cases. We come up with creative solutions, and work at the great speed that is required for these cases. Our experience in building cases, and in tackling structures and other hurdles put in the way of enforcement, enables us to obtain recoveries for our clients. We regularly act for financial institutions, state-owned banks, state bodies, multi-national corporations and high-net-worth individuals in tackling some of the most challenging cases. We provide insight, strategy and a seamless cross-border approach.

Commercial litigation: We have a wealth of experience in dealing with high-value, complex and heavily contested commercial litigation cases. A number of our cases have been selected over the years by The Lawyer as being in their top 20. Most of our cases are international in scope, where main or ancillary proceedings may be taking place in other jurisdictions. There may be also issues of jurisdiction or the application of foreign law. Types of claim vary from supply chain disputes, to shareholder and joint venture disputes, and professional negligence claims.

Fraud defence: PCB Byrne is renowned for its expertise in defending clients faced with allegations of deceit, conspiracy, breach of fiduciary duty and other allegations of dishonesty, unjust conduct and unconscionability. We have also acted for numerous defendants faced with allegations of fraud, and who are often also faced with freezing orders and other interim relief and committal proceedings. Those defendants may have been put “on the back foot” early in the process, and often feel that the court is against them in making various, sometimes draconian, orders. We look at how to put the client “on the front foot”.

Insolvency and restructuring: We have dealt with some of the largest insolvency cases in the English courts of recent years. Our experience includes, (i) advising creditors on options available to them in respect of distressed debt, (ii) advising directors and stakeholders on their options in the twilight of an insolvency, (iii) advising insolvency practitioners, directors, creditors and stakeholders in relation to all insolvency processes, (iv) receiverships, (v) mediation in relation to insolvency disputes, and (vi) restoration of dissolved companies.

International arbitration: We act for clients in large-scale arbitrations governed under various arbitration rules and ad hoc commercial arbitrations. Our clients benefit from our in-depth legal analysis, industry knowledge and strategy in building and presenting the facts. We are recognised for our expertise in obtaining interim relief from Courts in support of the arbitrations. PCB Byrne has been instructed in relation to a number of domestic and international arbitrations, both ad hoc arbitrations and arbitrations under various institutional rules. In 2019, one of the firm’s partners received the Client Choice Award for arbitration and ADR.

White-collar crime and investigations: Lawyers to multinational companies, international organisations, financial institutions, senior officers and directors, sovereign states and high-ranking public officials, and in-house counsel, we work across jurisdictions advising on all areas connected with bribery and corruption, economic sanctions, money laundering, terrorist financing and fraud. Our extensive disputes experience allows us to provide clients with strategic advice to address the legal, procedural, operational and reputational aspects of regulatory issues and investigations. We offer services in all areas of financial crime: anti-bribery and corruption, anti-money laundering, sanctions, investigations and fraud.

Senior partner Anthony Riemariem@pcb-byrne.com020 7842 1616
Managing partner Sara Teasdalesteasdale@pcb-byrne.com020 7842 1616
Nicola Boulton photo Nicola BoultonOne of the founding partners and the senior partner of Byrne and…
Emma Brooks photo Emma BrooksPartner specialising in the defence of corporate fraud, business crime and regulatory…
Ben Davies photo Ben DaviesBen Davies is a commercial litigation partner at PCB Byrne LLP – a specialist disputes…
Matthew Frankland photo Matthew FranklandFounding partner at Byrne and Partners specialising in the defence of national…
Michael Potts photo Michael PottsMichael specialises in the defence of business crime and regulatory investigations and prosecutions.…
Elizabeth Seborg photo Elizabeth SeborgElizabeth Seborg is a partner in the commercial litigation department at Byrne and…
Sara Teasdale photo Sara TeasdaleSara Teasdale has consistently been involved in some of the most high…
Number of UK partners : 13
Number of other UK fee-earners : 33
English (fluent)
Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese)
Sign Language
ICC Fraudnet