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Global corporate criminal risk – tips on planning your early response to suspect conduct

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP


More and more authorities around the world are using criminal law to hold big business and individuals accountable for misconduct occurring in the corporate context. The multi-jurisdictional nature of the risk continues to increase as already active prosecutors, such as the US Department of Justice, double down on efforts to cooperate with their counterparts abroad. 

How a multinational organisation responds when suspicions of wrongdoing first arise can be a critical factor determining the extent of criminal (or related civil) liability that it may face across relevant jurisdictions. Making the right decisions at the beginning can bring significant benefits down the line. The challenge, however, is that when concerns are raised, early judgement calls must take into account the range of potential outcomes across jurisdictions, even when the full facts are not yet known.   

This session will look at the factors underpinning such decision making, exploring the evolving nature of corporate criminal enforcement globally and what this means for in-house counsel facing difficult situations. We will cover topics such as:

  • how to triage misconduct issues when they arise;
  • the strategic factors to consider when deciding how to investigate a potential criminal issue; and
  • how to be prepared for any engagement with the authorities (whether voluntary or otherwise).


Matthew Bruce
Matthew is co-head of our global investigations group in London, a partner in our corporate crime practice and also an experienced commercial litigator. He is recognised by directories for his wealth of experience in these areas, and has been highlighted as a leading lawyer in the field of investigations and a rising star in disputes. Matthew has led a number of major corporate investigations for blue-chip clients arising from allegations such as bribery and corruption, fraud and misaccounting. Recent matters have engaged Asia, the Middle East, former CIS territories and Africa. In addition to advising clients on compliance and internal investigations, he is experienced in dealing with external regulators and authorities, including several matters before the UK Serious Fraud Office and the Financial Conduct Authority. 

Geoff Nicholas 
Geoff Nicholas is co-head of the firm’s global investigations practice, currently based in London but having previously been based in New York and Hong Kong. His practice covers anti-bribery and corruption, fraud, anti-money laundering and sanctions. He advises large international corporations on regulatory risk management and multi-jurisdictional investigations. He builds compliance programmes, conducts corporate due diligence, manages large-scale internal investigations and represents multinationals in criminal and regulatory investigations by external agencies. He has been involved in investigations all over the world, including in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, dealing with a wide range of regulatory authorities, including the US Department of Justice, the SEC, the SFO and the World Bank.

Adam Siegel
Adam Siegel is a partner based in the New York office and the head of the US dispute resolution practice, as well as co-head of the global investigations practice. Clients in a broad range of industries rely on him to defend them in investigations by the US Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the state attorneys general in matters involving alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, insider trading, tax fraud and accounting fraud. He works regularly with other firm lawyers around the world, defending multi-jurisdictional investigations, developing compliance and training programmes tailored to the global regulatory regimes faced by clients and conducting due diligence regarding bribery and other risks in corporate transactions. Before joining Freshfields, he was an assistant US attorney in the Criminal Division of the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. He received his JD and AB from Harvard University.


Matthew Bruce
Geoff Nicholas
Adam Siegel


27 September 2018
14:00 - 14:55 UTC
55 min