Photo of Sunil Gadhia

Sunil Gadhia’s practice focuses on English and international disputes, investigatory and enforcement work.

On 21 February, the UK Financial Conduct Authority issued its first competition enforcement decision against three asset management firms. The FCA imposed fines totaling £414,900 for an infringement based on the sharing of strategic information on a bilateral basis during an IPO and a placing, shortly before share prices were set. The decision reflects increasing antitrust scrutiny into information exchange in financial markets, provides preliminary insights into the FCA’s approach to fines and its investigative procedure in competition cases, and “demonstrates [the FCA’s] commitment to taking enforcement action to protect competition.”

Please click here to read the full alert memorandum.

On 12 February 2019, the English High Court issued a judgment in proceedings related to the takeover of Autonomy Corporation Limited (now ACL Netherlands BV) by the Hewlett-Packard group in 2011. The question before the Court was whether a U.S. grand jury subpoena served on Hewlett Packard Enterprise (the U.S. parent company of the claimants) required certain documents received by the claimants solely through disclosure in English High Court litigation, as well as witness statements exchanged between the parties to that litigation, to be produced to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In summary:

  • The Court refused to allow disclosure of the documents in response to the grand jury subpoena on the basis that the subpoena did not override English public policy considerations which seek to preserve a litigant’s right to privacy and confidentiality, nor were the parties to the English proceedings compelled to comply with terms of the subpoena.
  • The decision illustrates the high threshold which needs to be met to obtain the court’s permission to make collateral use of documents disclosed in English proceedings, and demonstrates the level of scrutiny which subpoenas from U.S. authorities will be subjected to by the English courts where they relate to documents disclosed in English proceedings and protected by the English courts’ confidentiality rules.

Please click here to read the full alert memorandum.

The English High Court has dismissed an application to discharge the U.K.’s first Unexplained Wealth Order which was obtained by the National Crime Agency on February 27, 2018.

Since January 31, 2018 a number of U.K. enforcement authorities have been able to apply to the English courts for an Unexplained Wealth Order in circumstances where a person’s assets appear disproportionate to their known income.  Once granted, an Unexplained Wealth Order requires an individual or company suspected of serious crime, or a politically exposed person from outside the EEA, to explain and account for the source of their wealth.

In summary, the High Court ruled that:

  1. The respondent fell within the category of persons against whom an Unexplained Wealth Order can be made as her husband is a non-EEA PEP (by virtue of his former role as the Chairman of the state-owned International Bank of Azerbaijan).
  2. There were reasonable grounds for suspecting that a property in London owned by the respondent was purchased with unlawfully obtained income.
  3. The order did not breach the respondent’s human rights.
  4. Neither privilege against self-incrimination nor spousal privilege excuse compliance with an Unexplained Wealth Order.

Please click here to read the full alert memorandum.

The Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (together, the “Regulators”) have jointly fined Barclays’ CEO, Jes Staley, a total of £642,430. The fine was imposed for Mr Staley’s repeated attempts to uncover the identity of an anonymous whistleblower, which constituted a failure to act with the due skill, care and diligence the Regulators expect from a CEO. The case was observed with interest as the first brought by financial regulators under the UK’s Senior Managers Regime. The Regulators chose not to impose more severe sanctions (which could have involved the removal of Mr Staley from his role) after failing to find that Mr Staley was guilty of any deliberate wrongdoing. Continue Reading UK Regulators Fine Barclays’ CEO for Errors of Judgement in Relation to Whistleblower

2017 was a year of transition and change in the world of cross-border investigations. In the U.S., the first year of the Trump administration brought questions about enforcement priorities and approach. In the U.K., the debate continued over whether lawyers’ work in furtherance of internal investigations enjoys privilege protection. Globally, new enforcement authorities stepped forward, while companies worked to incorporate new guidance and enforcement priorities into their corporate compliance programs.

Looking back, we focus on five key themes from 2017:

a) corporate resolutions;
b) developments in legal privilege;
c) corporate responsibility;
d) cross-border inter-agency cooperation; and
e) cross-border data transfers.

We also look to the future to address what we consider to be some of the key characteristics of the current cross-border investigations landscape that may influence significant developments in this field in 2018.

Please click here to read the full alert memorandum.