GIR 100 2021

Control Risks

Control Risks

Professional notice

Since starting out as a professional security firm in the 1970s, Control Risks has forged its own path in the forensics sphere and is as valued for its corporate investigative work as it is for its business expertise.

The firm

Initially launched in 1975, Control Risks capitalised on the growth of large western companies doing business in unfamiliar – and potentially risky – locations in the 1990s. 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 in 34 offices across 27 countries, providing due diligence checks, supply chain research, forensic accounting and other bespoke investigation services for major companies and government agencies across the world. Its extensive knowledge of various regions – particularly regarding cultural and political issues – is reflected in client feedback. One individual said that their organisation could not do without the firm’s proactive approach and the exceptional turnaround times from professionals around 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 – from Washington, DC. 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.

Other DC-based partners to know include Michele Wiener, who leads the regulatory risk and investigations in the Americas, and Al Park, the firm’s global technology leader.

Wiener regularly assists multinationals facing allegations of bribery and corruption, while Park oversees any kind of data collection and analysis for internal investigations and complex commercial disputes.

In December 2020, Evan Lieberman joined the New York office as a principal in the firm’s compliance, forensics and intelligence practice, bringing with him over 30 years of experience in litigation and investigations. He was previously a managing director at litigation consulting firm DOAR.

In London, 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 from São Paulo. Aalbers has worked in the region for over 20 years.

Partner Wayne Malgas heads up Control Risks’ fraud and business intelligence practice in Southern Africa from Johannesburg. He specialises in asset tracing and corruption reviews and was formerly the chief investigating officer at the now-disbanded Directorate of Special Investigations in South Africa.

Hong Kong-based senior partner Mavis Tan, who speaks four languages, including English, Mandarin and Cantonese, leads the firm’s forensics practice for greater China and north Asia, and has experience working on fraud, bribery and money laundering cases.

Also in Hong Kong is Jessica Pyman, a partner and head of business intelligence matters in the Asia-Pacific region. She 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, among other matters.

Partner Andrew Macintosh left Control Risks in March 2021 to take the role of executive manager at Westpac Group.

Recent events

Brazilian energy company Copel announced in August 2020 that it had instructed Control Risks alongside Stocche Forbes Advogados to carry out an internal investigation into allegations of fraud at its telecommunications subsidiary between 2015 and 2018. The company said the probe discovered deficiencies in the company’s control systems but no evidence of fraud. 

In January 2020, Control Risks was part of the team that successfully completed a bribery-related monitorship of multinational petrochemical company Braskem, led by Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe. In an unusual assignment, the US-based legal team oversaw both the US and Brazilian monitorships.

Network

Control Risks operates from over 30 offices across five continents.

Clients

Control Risks partners have been sought out by law firms including Morrison & Foerster, Hogan Lovells, Jenner & Block and Fieldfisher. It has known to have worked for Eletrobras and SAP.

Track record

Control Risks’ largest-ever consulting case saw it work alongside Hogan Lovells to investigate serious charges of bribery, fraud and bid-rigging at the state Brazilian energy company, Eletrobras. In a late 2018 settlement with the SEC, Eletrobras agreed to pay $2.5 million penalty and did not have to admit to the findings.

Control Risks helped German engineering firm SAP with forensic and business intelligence support in an investigation into allegations of corruption at a subsidiary in South Africa.

The firm 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. This ultimately resulted in a self-disclosure to the US DOJ, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.

Control Risks is a specialist risk consultancy committed to helping clients create secure, compliant and resilient organisations. We understand the varied and complex environments in which our clients conduct business, enabling us to provide a realistic approach to preventing, responding to and resolving critical issues and crises. From cross-border investigations, high-profile monitorships, complex litigation and disputes, investigative due diligence, and compliance and risk mitigation strategies to our incorporation of cutting-edge technology and data analysis, we’re proud to be trusted advisers for our clients and their legal counsel.

Areas of focus

  • Regulatory enforcement support. We work alongside our clients and their counsel, investigating issues and reporting them to government authorities worldwide.
  • White-collar crime and internal investigations. We help clients and their counsel investigate and resolve issues from embezzlement and financial statement fraud to corruption, money laundering and conflicts of interest.
  • Forensic accounting. Our investigative teams combine forensic accounting and financial analysis skills with practical business experience to provide dependable, professional support.
  • Enhanced due diligence. We undertake thorough examinations of companies and their executives through public record research and discreet inquiries with local human sources, including in remote locations and emerging markets.
  • Monitorship support. We have served as and supported court- and government-appointed monitors regarding a variety of integrity and compliance issues within various industries.
  • Conduct and human rights investigations.  We combine technical expertise with a history of investigative work in the areas of human rights, labour rights, security and human rights, discrimination and workplace harassment.

Website: www.controlrisks.com

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