FRA goes beyond traditional forensic accounting and eDiscovery to analyze numbers, communications, and systems to provide clients with clear answers for making business decisions.
FRA provided advice to a European financial services conglomerate on its Holocaust-era insurance assets in connection with a Benelux settlement.
One of FRA’s first major assignments, which spanned two years, was to build an anti-money laundering legislation and typologies database for the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APGML). The engagement included providing technical and anti-money laundering assistance to nine South East Asian and South Pacific countries. For this project, FRA worked alongside Dewey Ballatine’s Washington DC office.
The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (or Claims Conference) administers compensation funds, recovers unclaimed Jewish property, and allocates funds to institutions that provide social welfare services to Holocaust survivors. FRA was retained by the Claims Conference to build a claims evaluation and payment system for the German DEM 10 billion Slave and Forced Labor settlement. FRA evaluated over 500,000 claims.
FRA was appointed by Unison, the largest public sector trade union in the UK, to manage employment-related litigation on behalf of thousands of their members in connection with their part-time pensions claims. FRA developed a system which was able to assess, value, and present to tribunals over 26,000 claims in one of the UK’s largest mass actions.
FRA was engaged to build a claims management system for the Claims Resolution Tribunal (CRT) in Zurich in connection with a $1.25 billion Swiss Banks Settlement and the publication of some 34,000 dormant Holocaust era accounts. FRA’s system was able to streamline the evaluation of claims by the CRT’s team of lawyers and thus significantly improve the rate of approval.
In April 2004 the United Nations assigned Paul Volcker to research possible corruption in the Iraqi Oil-for-Food program. In his report, Volcker criticized Kojo Annan - son of then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan - and his employer Cotecna Inspection, SA, for trying to conceal their relationship. FRA was instructed to carry out an assignment which involved a review of the performance of the inspection agent under the OFF program, as well as a forensic accounting analysis of all payments to key individuals. Frances McLeod reported to six congressional investigations as well as Swiss federal and cantonal investigations and to the Independent Inquiry Committee established by the UN.
At the end of 2005 and during 2006, FRA was retained by the US counsel to a major European engineering company in connection with defending a US securities class action. FRA’s eDiscovery involvement was to collect, process, and host email and other company data for review by the legal team in a manner compliant with French data protection laws and the French Blocking Statute. FRA's expertise in data protection, cultural sensitivity, and IT meant that we were able to recover potentially responsive data from a division that had been sold, including reconstituting critical data from archaic back-up tapes. Supporting the client with forensic accounting, FRA reviewed the revenue recognition on contracts and the loss occasioned on them, focusing in particular on asset-based financing structures, collateral arrangements, and net exposure to investors. FRA produced reports to the legal team and assisted at the deposition of witnesses. The case was settled in 2010 with the damages, initially claimed in the billions, cut by 95%.
FRA was appointed by a UK-based chemical company which was under investigation for alleged bribery of Iraqi officials during the UN Oil-for-Food program. The assignment involved both forensic accounting and eDiscovery work in the UK, the US, and Switzerland. The case was the first case to be settled jointly by the DOJ and the SFO, ending with a Deferred Prosecution Agreement in the US and a civil settlement of alleged offenses in the UK.
In early 2007, the counsel defending Frederic Bourke, the Dooney & Bourke co-founder, engaged FRA in a high-profile FCPA investigation and subsequent prosecution. Bourke had invested in a scheme run by Victor Kozeny seeking to benefit from the future privatization of the Azeri state oil company, as had a number of institutional investors. FRA’s work involved the tracing of fund flows through a number of off-shore vehicles and eDiscovery support. The case established that while it was Kozeny who orchestrated the scheme to bribe senior Azeri government officials in order to encourage the privatization, Bourke had been “willfully blind” to the knowledge of the bribery.
FRA was engaged by a major US drilling company which had been caught up in the ‘Panalpina’ freight forwarding case. The DOJ and SEC were alleging that the client utilized Panalpina as a freight forwarder to import items into sub-saharan Africa, and that it knowingly reimbursed Panalpina for bribes and facilitation payments made. FRA performed an extensive exercise involving a detailed review of all the client’s invoices from Panalpina and an assessment of the extent to which un-receipted disbursements and other charges might have been in contravention of the FCPA. FRA also carried out an assessment of the gain that our client might have made from the practice.
FRA acted for a global tobacco manufacturer which was involved with a number of damages claims by assisting in an exercise to scan, digitize, host, and review documents. The data resided in Europe and it was vital that the entire exercise, including the location of the servers, was performed in-country and in conformity with strict data protection regimes.
FRA acted for one of the parties involved with the ‘Bonny Island’ bribery scheme, which remains the largest global settlement to date for bribery-related offenses. The client retained us to consider the profitability of the contracts tainted by bribery and our analysis formed the basis of the US prosecutor’s penalty. Based on FRA’s careful consideration of the cost base of the client, the penalty levied was tens of millions of dollars less than had first been suggested.
In 2009, Dewey & LeBoeuf appointed FRA to carry out pre-acquisition due diligence on a privately held US-based components manufacturer on behalf of the acquirer, a publicly-traded global power and engineering company.
FRA was instructed by counsel for a European multinational to respond to an investigation by the Swiss Federal Prosecutor’s Office into allegations of millions of dollars of corrupt payments made via Switzerland to agents over a span of 10 years. The assignment involved the collection, processing, and hosting of over 200,000 documents seized by the Swiss prosecutors, as well as the reconciliation of payments to bank accounts, contracts, and correspondence. The eventual settlement was Switzerland’s largest corruption settlement to date.
FRA acted for US hedge fund Highland Capital in a case related to a Collateralized Debt Obligation backed by RBS and issued by Highland in 2008. The CDO failed to close because of the economic crash and RBS called in its loan. FRA acted as experts and gave evidence on the way loans and CDOs were accounted for by RBS, who were ultimately accused of holding a “sham” auction for loans that it never planned to sell.
FRA was engaged to provide an expert report and testimony in a terror financing claim. This involved reconstruction of the transactions in question, assessing money flows, and evaluating the client relationship over a number of years and in an anti-money laundering and terror financing compliance context.
Instructed by a UK-listed mining company with interests in Africa, the CIS, and Latin America, FRA was initially instructed to carry out a review for UK Bribery Act compliance. When the company found itself under investigation by the SFO, the assignment expanded into a detailed review of transactions in a number of jurisdictions together with an extensive eDiscovery exercise.
FRA was utilized by a North American Oil Major to carry out an investigation into allegations surrounding procurement fraud in the Middle East. FRA collected relevant emails and electronic documents, performed the document review, obtained a copy of the data from the vendor accounting system, reconstructed and interrogated the accounting database, and identified relevant entries using complex data queries which included searching in Arabic.
FRA was engaged to provide a report setting out the scope and activities of the London Sharia Sukuk finance market, together with the impact of credit rating downgrades on financial reputation. This report was put together in a short timeframe and assisted the Court with its assessment of whether a credit rating downgrade in a company’s key financing market created a nexus to the UK. Derek Patterson and Toby Duthie were key contributors in this matter.
FRA assisted with ABC compliance visits to a number of high-risk jurisdictions, including India, Russia and the CIS. Together with key compliance personnel and a major UK law firm, FRA visited these jurisdictions, reviewed financial transactions and systems, and interviewed local management to assess ABC control risks. In addition, FRA assisted the client in developing a data-driven method to identify and control third-party vendors across its key business organizations.
FRA aided a review of the procedures and controls employed at a global insurance broker to evaluate the quality and appropriateness of intermediaries used to generate international insurance business. The review focused on the due diligence undertaken by the company on its international partners. An expansion of this exercise to include historical payments made to international agents formed part of the review strategy, which was undertaken in response to the UK FSA’s review of the London insurance brokerage industry and FSA financial sanctions against Aon Ltd and Willis Ltd.
In the context of a DOJ and SEC investigation, FRA was instructed by counsel for a large American IT company to calculate the ‘gain’ or ‘profit’ which might have been generated on some contracts entered into via intermediaries or agents that were tainted by alleged compliance violations i.e., bribery. The matter included highly complex contracts between German and Russian distributors, as well as numerous reviews in Latin America and Europe.
Frances McLeod, one of FRA's Founding Partners, and her team won Consulting Team Of The Year at the prestigious 2014 'Women in Compliance awards'. The award was open to all providers of consulting services, where the team is led by a woman or can demonstrate that the women on the team contribute significantly to the team's overall success. Entries were judged by a panel of prominent compliance specialists from across the corporate, legal, and professional services world and highlight the exceptional level of diligence, vision, and commitment necessary to keep compliance at the very top of its game.
FRA was engaged in support of two monitors appointed by the US DOJ and SEC as part of FCPA related settlements. FRA engaged in compliance related reviews in several countries of operations as well as conducted extensive transactional testing to assess the efficaciousness of the companies’ compliance programs.
FRA was retained as forensic consultants to a New York Department of Financial Services monitor of an international bank in connection with its Swiss Bank Program related settlement. The engagement involves a review of compliance programs and underlying policies and procedures and related transactional testing to assess compliance with all applicable Federal and State laws.
FRA teamed up with Karina Litvack and Norton Rose Fulbright in a corporate collective action to address the issue of Tainted Assets. Such assets may be associated with a legacy of bribery and corruption in, for example, its chain of ownership or in the way the asset is operated. In the context of increasingly aggressive anti-bribery and corruption enforcement environment today, tainted assets represent significant legal, reputational and value erosion risks to the investor. The Tainted Assets Working Group has received overwhelming support from the financial, corporate and civil society organizations, and continues to collaborate in its search for innovative remediation solutions.
For more information visit www.forensicrisk.com/taintedassets
FRA entered into a strategic alliance with global risk consultancy The Risk Advisory Group (TRAG), enabling both to offer a complete international investigations and compliance due diligence service. The combination of FRA's permanent data centres and its fully transportable e-discovery platform allows the partners to comply with increasingly stringent data control requirements, which often require data to be handled and stored in the country where the work is being undertaken.
To learn more about The Risk Advisory Group, visit www.riskadvisory.net
Since FRA has been supporting the internal GE eDiscovery team and legal teams across GE divisions with international eDiscovery services and consulting advice for internal investigations, regulatory compliance and litigation.
FRA received the ‘Highly Commended’ recognition in the Supplier Innovation – Technology category. The accolade was for our Providence Mobile Solution, a comprehensive, end-to-end eDiscovery processing and review platform that can be installed on-site independently or integrated into the client’s infrastructure anywhere in the world, and can scale to handle even the most complex projects.
FRA was retained as forensic consultants to a US Department of Justice-appointed monitor of the City of Ferguson in connection with the findings of unlawful conduct by the Ferguson Police Department and the Ferguson Municipal Court. FRA will assist Squire Patton Boggs; the team will oversee the implementation of reforms to bring about constitutional and effective policing, promote officer and public safety, ensure fundamental fairness and equal treatment regardless of race in the municipal court and foster greater trust between police officers and the communities they serve.
FRA won Investigations Consultancy of the Year award at the coveted 2016 GIR Awards. The awards were only open to client and practitioner nominations. GIR commented, “FRA scooped the Investigations Consultancy of the Year Award after dozens of law firms and companies came forward to sing FRA’s praises for its willingness to go the extra mile during high-stakes investigations and bet-the-company litigations.”
Following months of research by GIR, we are delighted to announce that FRA has been included in this year’s GIR 100 under Investigations Consultancies. FRA is one of only five investigation consultancies to be included this year and is mentioned alongside AlixPartner, BDO, EY and KPMG. The GIR 100 is an annual guide to the world’s leading cross-border investigations practices for corporate investigations and aims to give in-house counsel a list of the best firms to turn to in times of crisis.
FRA have appointed Mark Scallon, as a new Partner in their Washington DC office to lead the firm’s life sciences practice. With over 18 years’ experience providing compliance advisory services, Mark is a thought leader in international compliance matters and has extensive experience transforming clients compliance functions. Frances McLeod, FRA co-founder and managing partner, said, “we are delighted to have Mark join the FRA team as an expert in international life sciences compliance and investigative matters. His appointment signifies an exciting time for us, as with Mark’s experience we are expanding our services into the life sciences sector – demonstrating our commitment to diversifing our service offering and to investing in the right people to do so.”
Who's Who Legal: Consulting Experts 2016 guide have hailed two of FRA’s co-founders and partners, Greg Mason and Toby Duthie, as offering "unique perspectives on complex problems", "first-rate" in multi-jurisdictional investigations and lauding their experience as "unsurpassed" in this year's guide. Since 1996 Who’s Who Legal has identified the foremost legal practitioners in business law based upon comprehensive, independent research. It is impossible to buy entry into this publication.
Rolls-Royce has agreed to pay £671m in penalties after coming to an agreement with the DOJ and SFO after their recent fraud investigation. The result comes after a long-running investigation into claims that Rolls-Royce bribed agents to win export contracts. Rolls-Royce instructed FRA to analyze underlying financial material and to prepare submissions on gross profit figures for the SFO.
The Olympus corporate corruption scandal that concealed more than 117.7 billion yen ($1.5 billion) was one of the biggest loss-concealing financial scandals in the history of corporate Japan. It wiped 75-80% off the company’s stock market valuation; led to investigations across Japan, the UK and the US and saw the arrest of 11 past of present directors, senior managers, auditors bankers of Olympus for alleged criminal activities or cover-up. FRA’s part in this settlement was acting as the economic adviser to clients of Deminor Recovery Services in their legal action against Olympus Corporation.
Two of FRA’s co-founders and partners, Greg Mason and Toby Duthie and FRA’s Principal and Head of its Nordic business, Derek Patterson, have been recognized as leading professionals in their respective fields of practice and featured in Who’s Who Legal: Investigations 2017 guide. The publication hailed FRA's leadership team as having "excellent demeanor with both clients and regulators", "incredibly responsive and able to communicate ideas easily” and their skills, professionalism and attention to detail as "unmatched".