GIR 100 2020

Grant Thornton

Professional notice

The firm has worked on sanctions, accounting fraud, and bribery investigations the world over. Private practice and in-house clients have been impressed by what they call senior practitioners’ hands-on approach and flawless attention to detail.

The firm

By its own count the firm has around 900 professionals in forensic teams in 40 countries, from where the firm provides forensic accounting, asset recovery, digital forensics, cyber incident response services and more.

Grant Thornton has established what it calls dedicated forensic technology labs in 11 countries. Each lab is staffed by dedicated experts in computer forensics, e-discovery and cyber incidents – boosting the firm’s ability to respond quickly to suspected cyber-attacks.

The firm maintains approximately 100 dedicated forensic professionals in the US, most of whom are in New York, Chicago and Washington, DC, and a 160-strong team across offices in the UK, including London, Belfast, Cardiff, Aberdeen and Birmingham.

The global forensic practice leaders are Will Davies in the UK and Mark Sullivan in the US. Davies, recognised as a global thought leader for investigations by Who’s Who Legal in 2020, focuses on investigations and complex commercial disputes, and often acts as an expert witness. With him in the UK are five other Who’s Who Legal: Investigations-nominated professionals, including head of investigations Kevin Shergold, a client favourite who handles foreign bribery cases and asset tracing, and the head of the digital forensic practice, Vijay Rathour, who assists clients with e-discovery and data analytics, and in responding to cyberattacks and data breaches.

Chicago-based Sullivan boasts more than three decades’ experience and specialises in corporate investigation, fraud prevention and detection, and more.  

Other prominent US investigators include Johnny Lee in Atlanta, who leads the digital forensic practice in the US; Washington, DC-based Bryan Moser, who leads the forensic advisory services and often acts as an expert witness; and Gene Cahill, who conducts financial fraud and FCPA related investigations from Chicago. 

The firm’s largest teams outside of the US and the UK are in Ireland, India and Brazil. Grant Thornton established its Ireland forensic practice in 2004. This has grown with the help of Dublin and Belfast-based partner Paul Jacobs, a Who’s Who Legal: Investigations-nominated professional. The team includes experience in cyber incident response, data analytics and e-discovery and more.

The team in India is led by national managing partner and risk consulting lead Dinesh Anand. He oversees a 100-strong team from his base in Delhi, and is responsible for the firm’s forensic, internal audit and cyber practice.

The team there has previously conducted investigations and asset tracing for the State Bank of India, IDBI Bank and Axis Bank.

In Brazil, Grant Thornton can field a 40-strong team with previous experience in Operation Car Wash-related investigations.

Other notable Grant Thornton teams can be found in the Netherlands, Germany, Canada France, Italy, China and various other jurisdictions. In the Netherlands the firm strengthened its team with the addition of Yvonne Vlasman, who joined in March 2020 and now leads a team of 20 in the country.

The Canada practice is led by Jennifer Fiddian-Green, an anti-money laundering specialist who has handled more than 250 investigations across multiple industries, while the Germany forensic team is overseen by partner Frank Hülsberg. Partner Christian Knake in Düsseldorf leads investigations in the country, where Grant Thornton has a team of around 30 people in total.

Grant Thornton also has some 40 practitioners in South Africa after local firm SizweNtsalubaGobodo joined in 2018. Led by Pontso Nyathi, the team provides forensic services in matters across the African continent.

Eric Lioy, a former national managing partner for forensic advisory services in the US, left in December 2019.  The former US national practice leader for compliance and investigations, William Olsen, joined a new firm in January 2020. 

Recent events

Very few of Grant Thornton’s engagements make it into the public domain. According to reports in the local press in India in 2019, the Indian government appointed Grant Thornton to investigate an alleged bank load fraud at Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative Bank. The reports estimated the fraud to run over US$500 million.

Grant Thornton served as the monitor for Barclays as the bank restructured itself to comply with UK ring-fencing legislation, which required it to separate its retail arm from its investment banking activities.

Network

Grant Thornton has over 56,000 employees in 140 countries – including 900 professionals in its forensic investigations teams in 40 countries.

Clients

Public clients of the firm include Sky PLC, the Cooperative Group, Airgas, Berkshire Hathaway, Hyatt Hotels and Nobel Energy.

The firm has conducted investigations alongside major law firms including Baker McKenzie, Latham & Watkins, Dechert, Norton Rose Fulbright, Herbert Smith Freehills, Eversheds Sutherland and Linklaters, among others.

Track record

The firm has acted on matters before criminal civil and regulatory bodies across the world, including the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission, the UK Serious Fraud Office, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the World Bank.

Grant Thornton acted for the UK Financial Services Authority, now the Financial Conduct Authority, in its investigation into the collapse of UK bank HBOS during the global financial crisis.

Our forensic accountants and digital forensic specialists have experience of all types of financial irregularities. By combining sector and subject matter expertise from within our international network, Grant Thornton will deliver leading expertise to enhance global investigations.

Investigations can range from complex, multi-jurisdictional assignments to the investigation of alleged employee fraud and integrity due diligence on third parties. 

Range of services

Our work ranges from targeted inquiries through to complex, international assignments. We undertake investigations of fact and the solutions we provide include data collection and preservation, data hosting and review, corporate intelligence, structured and unstructured data analytics, and remediation.

We carry out assignments relating to fraud, bribery and corruption, sanctions, competition or other regulatory breach, misleading financial reporting and supply chain integrity failings.  Frequently this involves assisting our clients deal with the extra-territorial reach of financial crime laws and regulations. 

We work with leading international law firms, global regulators and law enforcement, and service the requirements of global businesses, financial institutions and governments. 

Global network

Grant Thornton International Limited member firms operate forensic teams in 43 countries. These are arranged into regional “centres of excellence”, thereby ensuring quality in the delivery of multi-jurisdictional investigations. This provides you with access to more than 900 dedicated forensic specialists around the world in 43 countries. With over 56,000 people globally in 140 countries, we can draw on geographical and sector specialisms such as financial services, pharmaceuticals and chemicals, technology, energy, extractives, construction and real estate, food and beverage and retail.

Innovative approach

We combine rigorous forensic accountancy investigation techniques, with cutting-edge digital forensic and data analytics tools, operating in agile, partner led teams. We understand where information resides and how to analyse it, ensuring that the most relevant facts are identified efficiently. We provide our clients and their stakeholders with independently prepared reports that are easy to understand. This allows our clients to make fact-based decisions in support of remediation strategies.

Using our extensive experience gained investigating unlawful conduct, we assist organisations frame and implement their strategy to embed the highest standards of governance and ethical behaviour, addressing financial crime and other integrity risks.

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