GIR 100 2021

Forensic Risk Alliance

Forensic Risk Alliance

Professional notice

With two decades of major investigative work under its belt, FRA continues to impress, landing roles in multinational investigations, high-profile monitorships and many of the largest bribery settlements to date.  

The firm

FRA has gone from strength to strength since its launch. It has 10 offices worldwide, worked on many of the biggest bribery cases and been involved in more than a dozen corporate monitorships. It has cemented its position as a top-choice for major law firms and companies to advise on high-profile corruption, sanctions and bribery matters, providing forensic accounting and e-discovery expertise.

The firm is a three-time winner of the GIR Award for Investigations Consultancy of the Year, in 2016, 2017 and 2020, and has been nominated for the 2021 award.

Founding partner Frances McLeod currently handles a DOJ-appointed compliance monitorship overseeing automotive engineering company IAV. Based in Washington, DC, McLeod is a GIR Women in Investigations 2018 nominee and leads FRA’s offices in the US.

The other co-founding partners, Toby Duthie and London and Greg Mason in Providence – who is also the firm’s chief technology officer – were part of the FRA team acting for Airbus on its record multilateral bribery settlement announced in early 2020. The pair, alongside London-based principal Derek Patterso, were all recognised as Global Elite Thought Leaders by Who’s Who Legal in the forensic accountant category in 2020. In total, Who’s Who Legal has recognised 14 FRA professionals in various expert consultant categories, including the impressive Yousr Khalil, praised by multiple clients for her expertise, who leads the Paris office and was responsible for the forensic accounting and e-discovery review in the Airbus case. Khalil was named among GIR’s 100 Women in Investigations in 2021.

Other FRA professionals of note in DC include Stacy Fresch, Neil Keenan and Dale Kitchens. Fresch is a former assistant chief accountant at the US SEC and has been appointed as an independent co-monitor in connection with a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) enforcement action.

Prior to joining FRA, Keenan was a partner at PwC, where he led a team assessing damages arising from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Kitchens has close to four decades of experience in forensic services and is frequently called up as an expert witness.

The DC office welcomed partner Charlie Steele in December 2020. A former prosecutor whose most recent government position was as chief counsel for the Office of Foreign Assets Control, Steele is one of various lawyers who have joined the firm in recent years. In January 2021, Greg Glynn, former litigation partner and disputes partner at Arthur Cox, joined the firm as a principal after 30 years at his former firm.

FRA’s data governance, technology solutions and forensics team saw the additions of directors Kevin Talbutt and Alejandro Gomez-Igbo in London in 2020.

In May 2021, the firm appointed its first CEO, Stuart Ells, a move that highlights the firm’s ambitions towards further growth. That same month, FRA expanded its Paris office with the hire of Uriel Goldberg, who joined after five years serving as forensic accounting expert in the French National Financial Prosecutor’s Office.

The firm saw a few departures in the past year, including partner Carol Der Garry, who joined the SEC, while Britt Endemann moved to Kroll.

Recent events

FRA has had another impressive year. Founding partner Frances’s IAV monitorship is one of two the firm has led, and it has supported many more, including the monitorship of Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer, led by Ropes & Gray, which was put in place following a 2016 settlement with the DOJ and ended in November 2020.

FRA was the forensic adviser to Airbus in connection with a multilateral bribery investigation. In January 2020, Airbus entered an unprecedented US$4 billion resolution with the UK’s SFO, the French National Financial Prosecutor’s Office, the US DOJ and the US State Department to resolve alleged bribery and export control violations.

Duthie has also advised Airbus’ GPT subsidiary in connection with a UK investigation that led to a guilty plea and a £30 million fine in April 2021.

Steele acted alongside lawyers at Dorsey & Whitney to assist Beijing-based big data services company Luokung Technology Corp win a reprieve in May from US sanctions targeting businesses with alleged ties to China’s military apparatus.

Network

FRA has offices in the UK, the US, Canada, France, Switzerland and Sweden.

Clients

FRA has acted for Airbus, Swedbank, Rolls-Royce, Swedish telecommunications company Telia, French engineering company Technip, US oil and gas services company Weatherford International, and oil company Total, among many others.

Track record

Past investigations the firm has been involved in include investigations into allegations of money laundering and US sanctions violations by Swedish lender Swedbank in 2019, and work on the bribery investigation into Telia, which resulted in a first-of-its-kind settlement in 2017 with US, Dutch and Swedish authorities to resolve allegations of bribery in Uzbekistan.

It has also acted for French construction company Alstom, chemicals company Innospec, UK engineering company Rolls-Royce and French engineering company Technip.

Forensic Risk Alliance (FRA) is an international consultancy that combines forensic accounting and investigative experience with cutting edge data mining technology, to help our clients effectively manage and mitigate risks relating to cross-border investigations, litigation and compliance objectives. Law firms and corporations regularly engage us to provide expertise on some of the world’s largest regulatory matters and we are consistently recommended for our ability to go the extra mile during high-stakes investigations.

Unique Market Position

Unlike traditional accounting firms, we operate purely in the forensic space and generally have no conflicts. As internationally recognised specialists in multi-jurisdictional investigations, we bring a high level of confidence to clients by providing clear, robust and candid advice that is trusted by clients, regulators, courts and enforcement agencies. We frequently work at the direction of counsel on global matters including complex internal or regulatory investigations, analysing data from numerous accounting and electronic sources, and advising clients in response to regulatory compliance inquiries and monitorships.

Client service excellence

We build strong client relationships, acting as partner, trusted advisor and thought leader. Many clients have relied on FRA for more than two decades to deliver client service excellence, subject matter expertise and global market knowledge. We have extensive cross-sector and cross-border experience and scalability anywhere in the world.

Diverse and nimble team

We take pride in FRA’s inclusive and diverse teams operating in our ‘one firm’ collaborative culture across disciplines and geographies. Our globally integrated teams have worked in more than 75 countries – both developed economies and emerging markets.

Our highly skilled and sophisticated team comprises forensic accountants, former investment bankers, financial and data analysts, legal and litigation support professionals, database architects, electronic discovery and collection experts, software engineers and certified computer examiners. This includes individuals who have worked for the UK Serious Fraud Office, US Treasury, and US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Data privacy and governance experts

Since the firm’s founding, we have specialised in offering customised data privacy and protection advice, and jurisdiction-specific experience. Complex data analytics, information technology and data management are at the core of our foundation. Our data analytics team seamlessly integrates with our forensic accounting, digital forensics and eDiscovery teams to offer creative analytical and visualisation solutions tailored to client needs.

Website: www.forensicrisk.com

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