GIR 100 2021

Grant Thornton

Grant Thornton

Professional notice

The firm has an impressive global presence, allowing it to attract a wide range of clients on high-profile engagements who have found its specialist forensic skills invaluable.

The firm

By its own count the firm has around 900 professionals in forensic teams in over 40 countries and dedicated forensic technology labs in 17. Each lab is staffed by 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 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.

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, and Vijay Rathour, recognised as a digital forensics expert by Who’s Who Legal. Sophie Lamont heads up the UK corporate intelligence practice, which sits in the firm’s wider global offering.

Sullivan, firm principal and head of investigations in the forensic practice, boasts more than three decades’ experience and specialises in corporate investigation, fraud prevention and detection, and more. He was made managing principal of the firm’s Chicago office in May 2021.

In February 2021, Grant Thornton announced that Beatrix Bernauer would be its chief risk and compliance officer, which is a newly created role at the firm. Bernauer had previously served as the firm’s chief compliance officer.

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 Washington, DC forensics practice added John Gilkes, an experienced corporate investigator and asset tracing expert in July, as well as Linda Miller and David Cappellina in August, who between them offer more than five decades of combined anti-fraud experience.

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 and expanded it with the help of Dublin and Belfast-based partner Paul Jacobs, a Who’s Who Legal: Investigations-nominated professional; the team in India is led by national managing partner and risk consulting lead Dinesh Anand, who oversees a 100-strong team from his base in Delhi; and in Brazil, Grant Thornton comprises more than 100 specialists, led by Vitor Pedrozo. More recently, the firm brought in Honazi Farias, who joined as a partner after 26 years with the federal police to lead on anti-money laundering and wider financial crime investigations.

Other notable Grant Thornton teams can be found in the Netherlands, Canada and Germany. In the Netherlands, Yvonne Vlasman leads a team of 15.

The Canada practice is led by Jennifer Fiddian-Green, an anti-money laundering specialist who has handled more than 250 investigations across multiple industries. The team there received praise from multiple clients, including from one for handling a politically sensitive forensic audit with the greatest care. In 2020, Sandy Boucher was promoted to principal. He leads the corporate intelligence and digital forensic service lines.

The Germany forensic team is overseen by partner Frank Hülsberg. Partners Christian Knake in Düsseldorf and Christina Fischer in Munich lead investigations in the country, where Grant Thornton has a team of more than 35 people.

Grant Thornton also has some 30 practitioners in South Africa. Led by Antonio Pooe, SNG Grant Thornton provides forensic services in matters across the wider African continent, while the firm’s Kenya office, led by Parag Shah, covers the East Africa region.

Recent events

Very few of Grant Thornton’s engagements make it into the public domain. In August 2021, it was reported that the firm was part of a group of law firms, barristers’ chambers and consultancies to launch the Crypto Fraud and Asset Recovery Network, aimed at assisting professionals working on cryptocurrency investigations and disputes.

Network

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

Clients

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

Track record

The firm has acted on matters before criminal civil and regulatory bodies across the world, including the US DOJ and the SEC, the UK SFO, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the World Bank. The firm has previously supported clients with cases arising following Operation Car Wash in Brazil.

In 2019, the firm was appointed by the government of India to investigate an alleged bank loan fraud at Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative Bank. Reports estimated the fraud at over $500 million.

Grant Thornton served as the monitor for Barclays as the bank restructured itself to comply with UK ring-fencing legislation, and acted for the UK FSA, now the FCA, in its investigation into the collapse of UK bank HBOS during the global financial crisis.

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

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 governance failings.  Frequently this involves assisting our clients deal with the extra-territorial reach of financial crime laws and regulations.

Our investigations often range from complex, multi-jurisdictional assignments to the investigation of alleged employee fraud and integrity due diligence on third parties

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 44 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 including teams based in the world’s major financial centres, regional hubs and leading offshore and mid-shore territories. With over 58,000 people globally in more than 130 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.

Website: www.grantthornton.co.uk

Get unlimited access to all Global Investigations Review content