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Ben Morgan

Partner

Disputes, litigation and arbitration

When news broke that there were allegations of corruption affecting one of our most significant assets, six or eight firms rang me. I rang Ben.

- Senior Counsel, FTSE 100 company

Profile details

About Ben Morgan

Based in our international corporate crime group, Ben advises on the full range of financial crime exposure that businesses face. 

He is instructed in some of the most significant current enforcement processes both in the UK and internationally, covering risk generated by alleged financial misstatements, money laundering, sanctions breach, facilitation of tax evasion, bribery and corruption.

This experience feeds through into the wider range of ways in which the domestic and international enforcement landscape can affect business interests – whether that is in the context of enforcement situations; internal investigations; compliance, remediation and monitorship activity; investors assessing risk and opportunity; or strategic M&A transactions with exposure to criminal risk. Ben routinely partners with GCs and CCOs (in the Oil and Gas, Industrial, Telecoms, Media, Technology, Security, Defence, Retail and Leisure and other sectors) to manage these situations with Boards, their wider business colleagues and external stakeholders.

Having trained and practised as a defence lawyer in the City of London Ben became a board member and the joint-head of bribery and corruption at the UK Serious Fraud Office. There, he led some of the SFO's top contemporary cases, including the prosecution at trial of corporates and their senior executives; the first Deferred Prosecution Agreement; and what until recently was the largest DPA.  Having also concluded a resolution on the defence side at Freshfields, Ben has unique experience of negotiating UK DPAs on both sides of the table. 

At the SFO Ben influenced UK policy matters such as the effective implementation of the Code of Practice governing DPAs, enforcement of the UK Bribery Act and development of the law of corporate criminal liability. He also had a particular focus on building the international relationships necessary to investigate and conclude the most complex matters, and has a good understanding of that community and the rules and real-life practice that govern it.

Clients have found Ben’s experience as both a prosecutor and defender of serious financial crime issues to be a helpful perspective to complement their own thinking, which has resulted in him now regularly being trusted to handle their most sensitive matters when that is necessary.  Ben’s experience adds to the existing strength and expertise of colleagues in the wider partner and associate team internationally, contributing to the overall capability that makes the Freshfields corporate crime group a Tier 1 practice capable of handling the most difficult UK and cross border risks.

Recent work

    • Representing a FTSE 100 company to secure a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the SFO.
    • Representing multiple major UK and international corporates at all stages of recent and current SFO investigations – from intelligence unit stage through to full investigation and resolution, covering allegations of fraud, market misrepresentation, money laundering, facilitation of tax evasion and bribery and corruption
    • Managing broader risk arising from that conduct, including regulatory interest, SEC, FBI and DoJ parallel investigations, actual and threatened shareholder litigation, employee issues
    • Conducting a major multijurisdictional investigation into potential money laundering, sanctions and tax exposure deriving from a decade of conduct
    • Designing, testing and upgrading compliance and ethics programmes, and advising clients at all stages of that work – in isolation, during an investigation, as part of a resolution process and in the context of government ordered monitorship
    • Representing individuals in government interview and/or investigation situations
    • Advice to numerous businesses concerning pre-emptive measures:  corporate structuring to minimise criminal law risk, “dawn raid” preparedness, culture and governance reviews
    • Providing deal advice to corporates, P.E. firms and asset managers, judging and controlling criminal risk in the context of valuation of assets and viability of transactions
    • Running enhanced due diligence exercises in deal and business as usual environments helping businesses to assess counterparty suitability
    • Advising the British Army on aspects of the UK’s response to the COVID-19 crisis

Qualifications

Education:

  • 1st in Theological Studies, University of Exeter
  • Law conversion and LPC at the College of Law, Guildford

Other:

  • Frequent international speaker on corporate criminal law and anti-corruption issues
  • Visiting lecturer for Foreign Bribery class at Harvard Law School and Georgetown Law
  • Commissioned officer in 77th Brigade of the British Army