Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

GIR 100 2019

K2 Intelligence

25 October 2019

K2’s investigative work on behalf of Hollywood celebrities and the Olympic boxing authorities has made headlines in recent years, but it is the company’s discreet probes on behalf of banks, multi-nationals and law firms that helps it win industry plaudits.

The firm

K2 Intelligence is an industry leader in forensic accounting. The team is composed of top-of-their-field experts in accounting, regulatory compliance, cybersecurity, and asset recovery.

Jeremy and Jules Kroll created K2 Intelligence in 2009, first opening offices in London and then in Madrid. In 2010, the firm opened a New York office, now its headquarters. In 2015 the firm expanded again, opening a new office in Geneva, Switzerland.

The firm acts for government enforcement authorities, law firms, and private companies, particularly in the energy, mining, real estate, construction, education, technology and finance sectors.

Jeremy Kroll is the company’s CEO and president, while Jules Kroll is the firm’s chair. Robert Brenner, former senior investigative attorney at the rackets bureau of the New York County District Attorney’s Office, is K2 Intelligence’s chief operating officer and is based in New York. He was also a special assistant US attorney at the Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

Brenner is joined in New York by Snežana Gebauer, who is an executive managing director for the Americas and head of US investigations. She has experience leading high-profile corporate investigations into corruption and fraud, and regularly provides pre-transactional due diligence advice to financial institutions and financial services providers. As well as working in the US, Gebauer has experience leading large-scale investigations in Brazil.

In London, Darren Matthews is an executive managing director and regional head for Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Matthews is a chartered accountant and a certified fraud examiner, and his work involves tracing where funds have come from.

Veteran US investigator Bruce Goslin leads the firm’s Madrid office, where he covers investigations in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Goslin has over three decades of experience under his belt, and has led investigations into a wide range of white-collar crime over his career and has recently been advising EU-based financial institutions on the emerging risk of cyberattacks.

New additions to the firm in 2018 included Ken Yormark who joined as a managing director responsible for leading the US-based forensic accounting team. Yormark has previously worked on large, cross-border FCPA investigations, as well as financial services investigations, securities litigation, and anti-corruption risk assessments.

In February 2019, GIR reported that Michelle Goodsir has joined K2’s New York branch as a managing director focusing on compliance matters. Goodsir joined from Deutsche Bank, where she was the bank’s global head of anti-bribery and corruption for three years.

Steve Holt, who led the firm’s forensic and financial investigations team, left in October 2019. While at the firm, he worked on investigations into bribes allegedly paid to executives at a state-owned company and alleged bribery committed by a South American construction company.

Recent events

Forensic accountants at K2 Intelligence investigated claims of gross negligence and financial mismanagement at the International Boxing Association in the wake of a judging scandal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

In 2018, Vanity Fair reported that investigators at K2 Intelligence hired by several film producers had uncovered the “Con Queen of Hollywood” scam targeted creatives in Hollywood by impersonating famous figures. K2 Intelligence is continuing to work with the FBI to uncover the scam’s ringleaders.

The firm has worked for US non-profit organisation Everytown for Gun Safety.

Clients

The firm has been hired to conduct investigations on behalf of several government authorities, as well as multinationals and law firms. However, K2 Intelligence is rarely linked publicly to its clients.

Network

K2 Intelligence has four offices in the US, as well as offices in London, Madrid, and Geneva. It has been engaged to work on investigations by some of the world’s leading law firms.

Track record

K2 Intelligence provided litigation support to the Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme trustee, to recover money from the fraudulent scheme created by jailed New York banker Bernie Madoff.

The firm’s London and New York offices previously conducted a review of an Eastern European financial institution’s anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance programme.

The firm was appointed as “integrity monitor” for five years to oversee the compliance of the state of New York’s US$3 billion investment in two major construction projects.

In 2016, the firm completed one of the largest reviews of historic transactions. K2 Intelligence was hired by a US regulator to review 1.5 billion historic transactions and identify suspicious payments.

The firm previously handled an internal investigation into a South American construction company during a government investigation. The K2 Intelligence team was tasked with reviewing financial transactions to identify illicit activity.

K2 Intelligence advised the Winklevoss twins on the launch of their Bitcoin exchange platform, Gemini in 2014, helping to design its anti-money laundering policies.

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