Rahman Ravelli > London, England > Firm Profile

Rahman Ravelli

Crime, fraud and licensing > Fraud: white-collar crime (advice to individuals) Tier 4

Regulatory enforcement and white-collar crime boutique Rahman Ravelli is regularly sought out for SFO and FCA investigations into bribery and corruption, money laundering and cryptocurrency fraud, among other offences. Lauded as ‘a shrewd tactician’, founding partner Aziz Rahman heads up the practice. Another name to note is Joshua Ray, a US and UK-qualified lawyer who is ‘very knowledgeable and dynamic’; Ray joined from Dechert LLP in July 2020 – a move that bolstered the firm’s US-facing offering. Seeking to gain additional ground in Europe and collaborate more on cross-border mandates, the firm expanded its reach in the spring of 2021 with the hire of French-qualified litigator Salomé Lemasson. In addition to its presence in London, the firm also has offices in Halifax and Birmingham.

Practice head(s):

Aziz Rahman

Other key lawyers:

Joshua Ray; Niall Hearty; Josie Welland; Salomé Lemasson


‘Joshua Ray is very knowledgeable and dynamic. His experience practising in the US gives him an extra advantage. He discusses things in a clear, straightforward manner and is aware of the international dimension to cases.’

‘Aziz Rahman is the standout individual. He is so enthusiastic and committed to the cause of the client. He takes a very calm and logical approach to any legal problem in this field. He is a dynamic leader in the field and inspires the confidence and trust of clients and counsel.’ 

‘Very strong in civil litigation. We have worked with them over the last few years. Very good legal team.’

‘This is very hands on firm that provides the 5* star treatment to the client.’

‘Niall Hearty is one of the most diligent and able solicitors around. His client care is second to none, his integrity and understanding of the environment of white-collar crime is impressive. Having known him previously in his general criminal practice, the opportunity to work in a more focused environment has seen him come on exponentially over the last three years.’

‘Aziz Rahman is exceptionally good for business crime in the North of England and in London. Knowledgeable, good with clients, a shrewd tactician.’

‘Josie Welland is a brilliant fraud practitioner, fantastic with client care and astute in her case strategy.’

Crime, fraud and licensing > Crime: fraud Tier 1

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:


‘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.’

With offices in the City of London, across the UK and in European locations, Rahman Ravelli is a national and international leader in serious and corporate fraud, white-collar crime, bribery and corruption, regulatory matters, complex crime, civil recovery and commercial litigation.

Rahman Ravelli has grown rapidly and provides strategic advice to corporations and individuals. All matters are handled directly by a partner of the firm. As a conflict-free, boutique practice offering top-tier legal services, Rahman Ravelli is regularly engaged by other law firms to provide independent advice to senior executives and to handle discrete legal matters in jurisdictions around the world.

The firm: Since it was established in 2001, the practice has built an enviable reputation in the sectors it operates in. It has earned a strong national and international presence by defending the most significant, high-profile, multi-jurisdictional and multi-agency cases robustly and effectively and by managing high-stakes commercial litigation to obtain the best possible outcome. Its caseload here and abroad grows annually.

Its recent work includes some of the largest and most high-profile global corruption investigations, involvement in some of the UK’s first deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) negotiations and cross-border investment fraud cases. It has become increasingly popular with corporates and senior executives looking to investigate and self-report wrongdoing in order to achieve a civil, rather than a criminal, solution to a problem. The firm is also utilised by corporates and high net worth individuals for its investigative and legal expertise in international and multi-jurisdictional asset tracing and recovery work.

Its heightened US and European Union presence has seen an increase in both its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act workload and its cross-border investigation work. The firm is also at the forefront of cases linked to the investigations into the share selling practice known as Cum-Ex and is increasingly called upon to advise global companies and financial institutions regarding sanctions compliance.

The firm’s representation of clients has also led to a string of notable firsts in cryptocurrency cases in 2020 and 2021.

Rahman Ravelli’s track record of success, ability to recruit top-ranking lawyers, expertise and attention to detail have led to it being recommended to others by past and present clients, other law firms and professionals. Its strong, innovative and robust, proactive approach coupled with its network of worldwide experts has attracted clients from all over the world who need to resolve bribery and corruption allegations, corporate matters, tax investigations and regulatory issues. The firm is available around the clock and anywhere in the world to discuss its core specialisms of serious fraud, serious and white-collar crime, bribery and corruption and civil recovery, as well as defence against actions brought by regulatory bodies.

Types of work undertaken: The firm is known for its tenacious defence of clients’ interests in the face of attacks by governments and agencies. It regularly challenges allegations made by bodies such as the SFO, NCA, FCA and City of London Police and international organisations such as Interpol, FBI, OLAF and the SEC.

Fraud: Rahman Ravelli’s serious fraud expertise includes commercial fraud and business crime defence services, major tax fraud, international corruption and money laundering. SFO prosecutions are a speciality, with acquittals achieved in the UK’s largest-ever investment fraud trial and many large-scale, high-profile cases. HMRC defences, MTIC fraud and BIS, DTI and OFT investigations are handled by its experts.

Bribery/corruption: Rahman Ravelli works on bribery and corruption cases here and overseas that routinely involve billions of dollars, governments and companies of all sizes and from all industry sectors. It advises international companies regarding compliance and internal investigations. The firm’s client list includes corporates and professionals from all sectors, senior officials, high-net-worth individuals and members of the public being investigated by one or more agencies. Its caseload sees it representing the likes of lawyers, IFA’s, accountants, surveyors and bankers, as well as those working in the health and education sectors, charities, the Royal household, forex, pensions, mining and environmental schemes, motor transport and real estate.

Property fraud: Rahman Ravelli handles many of the biggest property fraud cases, including one which almost collapsed a major high-street bank. Rahman Ravelli regularly handles FCA matters and is instructed in major investment fraud cases involving hundreds of millions of pounds.

Regulatory: The firm’s regulatory department handles national and international cases; representing professionals and advising companies, including PLC’s, on corporate risk. Its serious crime expertise includes experience of complex, large-scale conspiracy allegations. The firm has developed specialist knowledge in tackling covert policing evidence relating to the right to privacy; including directed and intrusive surveillance, covert human intelligence sources and entrapment issues – techniques increasingly adopted by investigative bodies. The practice has experience in the fields of abuse of process and public interest immunity. Its case of R v H and C established the law in this area in the House of Lords in 2004. The case is the leading authority on disclosure and brought about a sweeping change regarding prosecution obligations on disclosure – an area where the firm excels.

Civil recovery: Rahman Ravelli’s expertise includes NCA, SFO, HMRC and CPS cases, here and abroad. Its powerful defence arguments saw it take the case of Gale to the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights to protect the clients’ assets. The case defined important civil recovery issues and was the first such case to reach these courts. It also handles cases that involve unexplained wealth orders, which give authorities the chance to take assets from those they suspect of wrongdoing.

Commercial litigation including civil fraud: The firm regularly and aggressively challenges worldwide freezing orders, defends multijurisdictional actions and pursues corporate wrongdoing. Rahman Ravelli is adept at bringing civil fraud proceedings and conducting asset tracing and recovery actions for clients globally.

Senior and managing partner Aziz Rahman
Corporate and financial crime Aziz Rahman
Corporate and financial crime Nicola Sharp
Corporate and financial crime Syed Rahman
Complex crime Paula Berry
Complex crime Shaff Rahman
Asset recovery and restraint Syed Rahman
Regulatory and commercial litigation Syed Rahman
Regulatory and commercial litigation Nicola Sharp
Internal investigations and risk management Syed Rahman
Internal investigations and risk management Nicola Sharp
Internal investigations and risk management Aziz Rahman
Serious and general crime Zahir Ayoub
Number of UK partners : 1
Number of legal directors : 3
Number of other UK fee-earners : 15

Since its founding in 2001, Rahman Ravelli has placed great emphasis on diversity and inclusion. Both have become an ingrained part of the firm’s working practices.

Rahman Ravelli has always prided itself on the multicultural, multinational and mixed socioeconomic make-up of both its legal team and its support staff, as well as the wide age range of those who work for it. This is illustrated by the current composition of the firm’s senior legal team.

Its staff policies promote equality and cultural awareness, as it views such diversity as an asset, both for the firm and for its wide variety of current and potential clients. It also supports its lawyers’ work with representative groups.

Rahman Ravelli makes every effort to ensure every case is handled by lawyers with the best possible legal expertise and, where required, the necessary cultural and social awareness. It has undertaken a wide range of pro bono work in the community and has sponsored and given other forms of support to local charitable events.

Aziz Rahman, Senior and managing partner

Since founding business crime solicitors Rahman Ravelli in 2001, Aziz Rahman has overseen its rapid rise to prominence. Having won a number of awards and secured consistently high rankings in national and international legal guides, he took time to talk to The Legal 500.

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Rahman Ravelli from your competitors?

Rahman Ravelli is known for being passionate and driven in support of its clients and for securing the best outcome in all of its cases. Whether they be the biggest global corruption cases or large, complex or multijurisdictional investigations, we get stuck in and come up with innovative strategies for them. We can call on the best QC’s, experts and other professionals to build the strongest possible team for clients.

Our reputation has grown because we have been at the forefront of major cases and the big legal issues as they develop. Whether it is mounting a powerful defence in a complex case, trying to obtain a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) for a client, carrying out internal investigations or devising procedures to prevent workplace legal problems, we make no apology for being at the cutting edge.

Satisfactory is not enough for Rahman Ravelli. We secure the very best outcome every time, either through negotiation and cooperation with the authorities or through robust, proactive defending that is bespoke to that client. This is achieved because we insist on having the best lawyers and working with only the highest-quality counsel.

This means we are in increasing demand to conduct internal investigations for corporations, professionals, directors and other senior business and financial figures.

Many in business see us as the firm to go to if they fear the effects of tighter regulation. We do what we say, have the experience and expertise to back up our claims and we deal with the likes of the SFO, FCA, NCA, City of London Police and other agencies all day, every day.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

I believe we will continue our growth for the next 12 months. Simply because we have kept growing since the firm was founded in 2001. And fraud, bribery and business and financial crime have seen many changes in recent years; with new legislation and the authorities benefiting from more powers, better technology and increased cooperation between themselves.

I can see us taking on more work relating to obtaining deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) over the next 12 months. The likely increased use of DPAs is likely to see more corporates requiring specialist legal advice on whether to seek one and, if so, how to go about it.

The past 12 months has certainly seen interesting developments in terms of DPAs:

* Three Tesco executives were acquitted of fraud that the company admitted was to blame for its accounting scandal when it reached its DPA with the SFO in 2017.

* Three former executives of Sarclad were cleared of bribery – three years after the technology company had reached a DPA regarding the allegations.

* The SFO dropped its investigation into individuals regarding systemic bribery at Rolls-Royce – two years after Rolls-Royce admitted there had been bribery when concluding a DPA with the SFO.

All these cases saw DPAs concluded for wrongdoing that nobody was convicted of – and that may see companies requiring legal expertise on the issue of whether to contest allegations rather than agree DPAs based on evidence that later proves inadequate to secure a conviction.

The SFO’s August 2019 issuing of corporate co-operation guidance will see companies seeking legal assistance regarding what they need to do to be seen to co-operate with the  agency in order to obtain the most favourable outcome. The guidance states, among other things, that organisations will be expected to provide certification by independent counsel that material is privileged, should consult with the SFO before interviewing witnesses and suspects and should provide the agency with industry knowledge while under investigation. Such requirements are likely to result in many needing advice on how to both interpret and comply with the guidance in order to self-report wrongdoing.

The demand for our internal investigations services is likely to keep growing. There is also the likelihood of increased demand for representation in tax investigations; as the fall-out continues from the Panama Papers and now the Paradise Papers.

We seem to be gaining more cross-border, global and multijurisdictional work. Certainly the bribery and corruption arena is producing increasingly involved cases. Whether they be in Africa, South America or, more recently, CIS countries, such cases are touching on vitally important sectors such as energy and natural resources.

In such cases, we can utilise the international network of high-quality professionals we have developed over the years. I see that trend continuing. This is partly because investigating authorities are cooperating more and more. But it is also because we have come to be viewed by many foreign firms as the ones to go to if they want advice or assistance on a case that has a UK connection.

What is unique about business crime? And how is this reflected in your work?

Business crime is an area of law that presents many challenges. And anyone operating in this field has to not only be able to meet these challenges – they must be able to master them in order to do the very best for those individuals and corporates that they represent.

Business crime encompasses a very large and very broad range of offences. There can be civil sanctions, civil settlements and criminal prosecutions. Cases can be brought against an individual, a company or both. Investigations can be conducted by one or more agencies, those agencies can be national or international bodies and the investigations can take place in a number of countries.

All this means that any business crime solicitor who wants to be at the top of the profession has to have a wide range of skills and in-depth expertise in a number of very important areas.

It goes without saying that such a solicitor needs to know every aspect of business crime law and must be able to utilise this swiftly, intelligently and forcefully in the very best interests of their clients. They must be alert to every possibility, able to determine the next likely move by prosecutors or investigators before it has happened and capable of always acting in a way that will maximise the benefit to their clients.

A business crime solicitor has to be able to instantly pinpoint the best course of action for a client and take immediate and appropriate steps to make it happen. This is not just about using a working knowledge of the law: it is also about recognising the options available, the best way of obtaining the best option for a client and the most suitable way to challenge or negotiate with the authorities.

In business crime, there can be considerable scope for negotiation with investigators. It is vital that any business crime solicitor identifies that scope and acts accordingly to secure the best outcome. If there is little or no scope for negotiation, then the solicitor will be using their legal expertise and skill to challenge all aspects of the allegations against their client. This is about so much more than simply disputing the claims. It can be about questioning the credibility of potential witnesses or evidence, bringing legal challenges to the way the investigators have conducted their investigation, coordinating a legal defence across borders and making strong, logical arguments to explain a client’s behaviour.

What must be remembered about business crime is that there can be both a criminal element and a civil element – and we manage both for clients. On the criminal side, we have a reputation for strong, intelligent representation of corporates, senior business figures and high net worth individuals who are the subject of allegations that can lead to an investigation and charges being brought.

But, on the civil side, such allegations can prompt major, high-stakes, cross-border commercial disputes between both organisations and individuals. In such situations, we have proved adept at tracing and recovering assets on behalf of those who have suffered losses and who wish to bring a civil fraud action against those they believe to be responsible. Conversely, we also have a track record to be proud of in defending the assets of those who are subject to civil fraud action as a result of being accused of being to blame for the losses incurred by others. We are also increasingly being sought to advise those who think they are about to be subject to an unexplained wealth order and / or the civil recovery powers that the authorities have under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to seize assets of a company or individual that they believe to be the proceeds of crime.

What are the reasons for your firm’s growth?

In answering the previous question, I explained the challenges of business crime and how solicitors working in this area of law need to respond to them. I believe that Rahman Ravelli has thrived because we have been able to identify and employ the very best people to take on those challenges and succeed.

Obviously, we insist on our solicitors having an unrivalled knowledge of their areas of law and an unbeatable ability when it comes to using that knowledge effectively. But we only want people working for us who empathise with clients and who will go about their work with a zeal and determination to do the absolute best for those who have placed their faith in us. That means developing strategies for all stages of an investigation: from assessing the best way to stop it going any further through to acting tactically and intelligently when it comes to dealing with the authorities and their approaches at any point in their dealings with our client.

On a similar note, we have also built up a network of professional experts and lawyers based abroad who approach our cases with the same principled drive and ambition to succeed. At Rahman Ravelli, we have developed in a way that has ensured that we are fortunate and privileged to team up with such fantastic, driven professionals. They share our passion to achieve the very best for our clients.

These talented and enthusiastic individuals see what we are looking to achieve in national and international cases and work with us to do everything possible to reach our goals.

As a result, anyone coming into contact with Rahman Ravelli soon comes to understand that we leave no stone unturned for those we represent. I think that our reputation for being so thorough is what has seen the firm grow. It has been a growth due to word-of-mouth recommendations coupled
with the successes we have achieved for clients.

What is the next logical step for the firm?

The next logical step is to continue to handle each and every case with the same determination to succeed that I mentioned earlier. Every day brings new cases or developments in current cases: they are the next logical steps and the most important ones.

At Rahman Ravelli, we have individuals with business expertise who handle matters such as our recent move to bigger premises in London. All such projects are carefully considered and acted upon in the way that is most appropriate for the firm.

But for myself and everyone working with me, the most important, logical steps are the ones we take for the corporates and individuals we represent. They have belief in us – and we need to make sure we obtain the absolute best outcome for them.

If we keep doing that (and I know we will) then the company will continue to grow, we will continue to receive glowing write-ups in the legal guides and I will be satisfied.

What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?

At Rahman Ravelli, it’s about working hard and working smart for those we represent. We are protecting the rights of those individuals, companies and organisations. That never changes. There is rarely the need for major change here. Our determination to be at the forefront of our profession
means we are always fine tuning rather than making major changes.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients and the services you can provide them?

We use technology to help us gain the maximum benefit for clients. But it does not change the personal interaction with clients; which is of paramount importance to us.

From the electronic serving of huge amounts of paperwork through to more specific analytical tools, technology is a huge aid. But it does not replace or alter either the interaction we have with clients or the services we provide.

Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

We defend those who are facing major threats to their livelihoods, their businesses, their reputations and even their liberty. Our work is about protecting everything that is important to them rather than any idea of “added value’’.

Each case is different but our defence approach never changes. We do everything to proactively tackle our clients’ accusers and the allegations they make.

Our corporate internal investigations for clients help them identify wrongdoing and those responsible. This can save them huge amounts of money, prevent damage to reputations, keep organisations functioning properly and allow individuals to keep practising without fear of
disbarment by their professional body. This all goes beyond the issue of adding value to a business.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms? Where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

Clients want the best possible outcome from the legal situation that they are in. We give them that.
We give them strong, intelligent representation tailored specifically to them. Stability for clients comes from us helping them understand what is happening and giving them the best chance of a positive result. Our track record shows that.

We are successful because we put together every case carefully, we appoint the right people to the team and we identify and pursue the most appropriate strategy. Stability for clients can only come from success in their case. We ensure that they have the best chance of success.

In 2022, I hope to be looking back on three more years of success and continuing our upward trajectory.

Trading Abroad And Money Laundering Risks

Aziz Rahman explains what those trading internationally need to do to ensure they are not targeted by money launderers.

The Future For Corporate Liability

With the government looking at how to change the law when it comes to prosecuting companies, Aziz Rahman considers the possibilities.

Payment Regulations And Compliance

Ben Ticehurst explains why new regulations regarding company payment practices are a sharp reminder of the need to be legally compliant.

Money Laundering Obligations And Property Professionals

With the housing market facing further scrutiny regarding money laundering, Aziz Rahman outlines what those working in the property sector must do to stay within the law.

The Rolls-royce Dpa – Lessons That Can Be Learnt

Aziz Rahman outlines the lessons that corporates and senior executives under investigation can learn from the huge Rolls-Royce bribery settlement.

Tackling Business Crime In Your Workplace

Failure to prevent fraud and other business crime can prove costly to companies. Ben Ticehurst and Aziz Rahman consider what can be done to identify wrongdoing and the options available when it is found.

Carbon Credit Fraud – Avoiding The Pitfalls

Neil Williams and Aziz Rahman explain the need to make sure your involvement in a carbon credits scheme stays on the right side of the law.

Defending Sfo Accusations

Aziz Rahman explains how the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) builds a case – and how it can be challenged.

Challenging Prosecution Allegations At The Investigation Stage

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has decided not to prosecute Soma Oil and Gas regarding corruption in Somalia, due to insufficient evidence. Aziz Rahman looks at what insufficient evidence means and how to challenge prosecution allegations.

Identifying And Investigating Investment Fraud

Autonomy’s chief financial officer has been charged with fraud over allegations he misled investors. But what is investment fraud? And what are your options if you are defrauded? Aziz Rahman and Neil Williams explain.

The Jp Morgan Scandal And The Definition Of Bribery

JP Morgan is paying $264M to settle allegations of bribery over its hiring of children of key Chinese decision makers to try and secure business. Aziz Rahman explains what constitutes bribery and how to prevent it.

Bringing A Private Prosecution

Aziz Rahman and Ben Ticehurst explain what you can do if you have fraud committed against you or your company.

Bitter Pill

Aziz Rahman explains why the latest pharmaceutical bribery scandal emphasises the need for companies to have a strong compliance policy.

No Avoiding It

Accountants and advisors could face tougher fines for helping clients avoid paying tax. So how can they make sure they do not fall foul of the law?

Fair Trade?

Aziz Rahman explains the difference between wrongful and fraudulent trading and outlines what those in business need to know to avoid being accused of either.


Aziz Rahman examines some of the issues involved before, during and after a company collapses.

Damage Limitation

Putting right the wrongs and minimising the damage when your company is accused of business crime.

Lengthy Sfo Investigations

Aziz Rahman considers whether SFO investigations could be concluded quicker.

Insolvency And Criminal Investigations

Rahman Ravelli’s Nicola Sharp and Syedur Rahman explain the importance of early legal advice when facing questions regarding a company’s collapse.

Preventing Fraud And Money Laundering

The government wants corporate executives charged when their staff carry out offences such as fraud and money laundering. How can you make sure you’re not one of those prosecuted?

Pensions and the risk of fraud

What those working in pensions must do to avoid being a victim of fraud – or being accused of it.

Why Those In Finance Must Tackle Money Laundering

With the authorities looking for more ways of tackling money laundering, Aziz Rahman explains why those working in finance must stop it for themselves.