Posted on: 4 October 2021
Global, sector-focused law firm HFW has hired two of the UK’s leading top white-collar criminal defence and investigations experts: Barry Vitou and Anne-Marie Ottaway.
They both join HFW from Greenberg Traurig, where Barry was global co-chair of the US firm’s white-collar defence and special investigations practice and headed its team in London. Anne-Marie previously spent 13 years at the UK’s Serious Fraud Office, and in 2018 was appointed as the Specialist Adviser to the House of Lords’ Select Committee on the UK Bribery Act.
Jeremy Shebson, Managing Partner, HFW: “It isn’t every day that you get a chance to bring in two genuine market leaders in such a field such as white collar criminal defence. Barry and Anne-Marie have a formidable track record of handling investigations and defending clients in high-profile cases, and will be a great addition to our global disputes practice, which includes our leading fraud and insolvency group. We expect this to be a busy area, with the pandemic and consequent market shocks leading to an increase in regulatory investigations and prosecutions.”
Barry and Anne-Marie advise corporations and individuals on all aspects of economic crime, including compliance, pre-investigations, investigations, and prosecutions relating to fraud, bribery and corruption, insider dealing, market abuse and money laundering.
The team advise clients on law enforcement investigations all over the world, including the European Union, Russia and the British Overseas Territories.
They frequently represent clients under investigation by UK and US law enforcement agencies and prosecutors, including the UK Serious Fraud Office, the UK Financial Conduct Authority, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office, HM Revenue and Customs, the US Department of Justice, and the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Barry and Anne-Marie also have experience of investigations involving cooperation with other prosecutors, including Swiss Federal Prosecutors and the Australian Federal Police, as well as organisations such as the World Bank.
They conduct internal investigations and advise corporates on self-disclosures and related reporting obligations, and assist clients in the design and implementation of effective compliance programmes.
Barry previously built the white-collar practice at Pinsent Masons and was also a partner at US firm Winston & Strawn.
He is one of just eight experts in The Legal 500’s ‘Hall of Fame’ for regulatory investigations and corporate crime, and is described in the legal directory as “a stalwart of the London corporate crime community”.
Barry recently secured a unanimous appeal decision in the UK Supreme Court on behalf of US-based science, technology and engineering company KBR, whose UK subsidiaries had been under investigation by the SFO for four years. The SFO subsequently closed its investigation.
Anne-Marie has more than 20 years’ experience and has acted on some of the UK’s largest fraud and corruption investigations and prosecutions.
She spent 13 years at the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO), playing a key role in the early development of the SFO’s self-reporting regime and serving as the SFO representative on a cross-government strategic group for money laundering involving politically exposed persons, as well as a law enforcement coordination group on overseas corruption.
She is ranked by The Legal 500 as a ‘Leading Individual’ for regulatory investigations and corporate crime, with clients in the legal directory saying that her SFO background gives her “a depth of first-hand experience” and “impeccable pedigree in the field”.
Barry Vitou, Partner, HFW: “HFW has an outstanding client base – particularly across its core sectors – and shares our aspiration to create a marquee practice for big-ticket white-collar work. The firm’s strong relationships across the insurance market will also benefit our practice, as much of the work is covered by D&O or E&O insurance. Anne-Marie and I see the proposition of being part of HFW as inarguably attractive, and firmly believe that combining our service and reputation with HFW’s extensive global network and enviable client base creates an excellent recipe for success.”