Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

GIR 100 2019

Control Risks

25 October 2019

A newcomer to the 2019 edition of the GIR 100, Control Risks has specialists in offices across five continents and has worked on notable monitorships including for financial institutions such as Deutsche Bank.

The firm

Control Risks first started in 1975 as a professional security firm that provided advisory services to insurance companies. The firm expanded their range of services in the 1990s, capitalising on the growth of large western companies doing business in unfamiliar – and potentially risky – locations. Besides crisis management and incident response services, Control Risks is now equipped to handle all aspects of internal investigations with an impressive partner list comprising former law enforcement and intelligence officers, fraud examiners, forensic accountants, cybersecurity experts, business strategists and compliance professionals.

The firm by its own count employs approximately 3,000 staff who provide due diligence checks, supply chain research, forensic accounting and other bespoke investigation services for major companies and government agencies across the world.

Greg Esslinger, a senior partner and former FBI special agent, leads Control Risks’ compliance, forensics and investigations practice in the Americas – the firm’s largest team. Esslinger specialises in global corruption and complex financial fraud investigations and related due diligence. He has almost 20 years’ experience and has handled investigations in more than 40 countries.

Jonathan Brown heads up the forensics practice across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. He is a trained accountant whose experience skews towards fraud and corrupt accounting issues. He has investigated an accounting fraud that led to losses in excess of £100 million, as well as bribery allegations against a British defence contractor operating in the Middle East.

Operations in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay are headed by senior partner Geert Aalbers, who manages complex investigations into fraud, corruption and other ethics breaches. Aalbers has worked in the region for over 20 years and recently headed up a major corruption investigation into a public company in Brazil.

Andrew Macintosh is another name to know, leading Control Risks’ forensic solutions in the Asia Pacific region from the Singapore office. A former intelligence analyst with the New South Wales Crime Commission in Australia, Macintosh has lead investigations on behalf of multinational companies in China and India, as well as a major corruption probe stretching across northern Asia, where he reported his findings to government agencies in China and the US.

Partner Wayne Malgas heads up Control Risks’ fraud and business intelligence practice in Southern Africa. He specialises in asset tracing and corruption reviews and was formerly the chief investigating officer in a specialised law enforcement agency in South Africa. Malgas also served as a senior diplomat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) focusing on counter-terrorism issues.

Senior partner Mavis Tan leads the firm’s forensics practice for greater China and north Asia, and has experience working on fraud, bribery and money laundering cases.

Business intelligence matters in the Asia-Pacific region are handled by Jessica Pyman, who leads dedicated teams located in Hong Kong, Shanghai, India, Singapore, South Korea and Sydney. Pyman has previously investigated historical money laundering allegations arising from an inheritance dispute within a prominent Korean family; probed a complex fraud case concerning a China-based agricultural firm; and tackled Chinese trademark squatters on behalf of a US consumer goods company.

Recent events

Control Risks is helping a leading information technology company in an ongoing investigation into various allegations of misconduct.

In recent years, it has also been relied on by the individuals appointed to be the independent monitors to banks including Credit Suisse, Citigroup, and Deutsche Bank, as part of settlement agreements with the US Department of Justice.

Law firm Hogan Lovells partnered with Control Risks to investigate serious charges of bribery, fraud and bid-rigging at the state-owned Brazilian energy company, Eletrobras. Over 80 forensic accountants and cyber-investigators were hired from Brazil, Panama, the US, Australia, China and the UK to assess the claims, which saw investigators sift through 350 terabytes of email data alone. Petrobras reach a settlement agreement with the SEC, under which the company paid a $2.5 million penalty and did not have to admit the SEC’s findings.

In 2019, the firm was shortlisted for a GIR Award for Investigations Consultancy of the Year.


Control Risks operates from 37 offices in 26 countries around the world and is currently conducting investigations in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas.


Firm partners have been sought out by law firms including Morrison & Foerster, Hogan Lovells, Jenner & Block and Fieldfisher. The firm has worked on mandates including monitorships for Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank

Track record

Control Risks helped a US-based multinational engineering firm get to the bottom of corruption allegations within its Southeast Asia operations. The firm deployed security staff, e-discovery experts, forensic accountants and intelligence professionals to multiple locations in South East Asia to discreetly collect data and conduct forensic audits that exposed improper connections between senior managers and government officials. Control Risks then conducted risk assessments of the client’s global business and assisted with compliance programme remediation, resulting in a self-disclosure to the US Department of Justice, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.

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