GIR 100 2022

Forensic Risk Alliance

Forensic Risk Alliance

Professional notice

FRA has opened new offices in Asia and the Middle East over the past 12 months as it continues to build on two decades of investigations experience that has seen the firm act on some of the biggest foreign bribery settlements and monitorships.

The firm

FRA has gone from strength to strength since its launch. It has 12  offices worldwide, has 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 was nominated for the 2022 award.

Founding partner Frances McLeod is among a select few who have been appointed for not one but two DOJ-imposed compliance monitorships. McLeod currently oversees automotive engineering company IAV. Based in Washington, DC, McLeod leads FRA’s offices in the US. She is a GIR Women in Investigations 2018 nominee, is ranked in GIR’s Top FCPA Practitioners, and has also been featured in Who’s Who Legal: Investigations.

The other co-founding partners, Toby Duthie in London and Greg Mason in Providence were part of the FRA team acting for Airbus on its record multilateral bribery settlement announced in early 2020. Duthie and McLeod are both recognised as forensic investigations Thought Leaders by Who’s Who Legal. In total, Who’s Who Legal has recognised 13 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, Dale Kitchens, and Charlie Steele. 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 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. Having served as a senior US Treasury Department and Department of Justice official, partner Charlie Steele also brings extensive government experience to the practice.

Over the past year, the practice has grown significantly with lateral hires and promotions across its offices. Eric Williams, who specialises in forensic investigations and dispute services, joined as a director of the Dallas office. Former managing director at Credit Suisse, Gerben Schreurs, came aboard as a partner in Zurich, along with ex-FBI special agent Roy Pollitt in the New York office. Furthermore, London-based experts Gordon Macleod and Weng Yee Ng, along with Samantha Hsu in Texas were promoted to partner.

FRA also expanded its services in the Middle East and Asia in 2022. Bhavin Shah, formerly a partner at Deloitte Middle East, joined FRA in January to head up the brand-new Dubai office. Partner Stephen Millington joined the expanding Middle East and Africa team  two months later. In November, FRA announced the opening of another new office in Seoul, South Korea. The firm recruited three local practitioners to run the new office: former KMPG partner Ui-sung Kim, the office’s managing partner; financial analyst Hea-sil Chang, who spent the past six years in the anti-corruption division of the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office; and another KPMG alumni, Young-Gak ‘Ken’ Yun, who joined as a senior adviser.

Recent events

FRA has had another impressive year. GIR reported in November that founding partner Frances landed her second DOJ-appointed monitorship when she was appointed as a corporate compliance monitor for Balfour Beatty, a UK-based construction group that pleaded guilty to defrauding the US by falsifying maintenance records.

In 2021, Duthie led the FRA team that helped oil services business Petrofac prepare ability-to-pay submissions for a UK court after the company pleaded guilty to failing to prevent bribery in various middle eastern countries.

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.

Network

FRA has 12 offices around the world in cities including London, Paris, New York, Washington, DC, Dallas, Dubai and Seoul.

Clients

FRA has acted for Airbus, Swedbank, Petrofac, 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

Name almost any international bribery investigation in the past decade and FRA has had a role in it. FRA supported the monitorship of Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer, led by Ropes & Gray, worked on the bribery investigation into Telia, and 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 deep forensic accounting, regulatory and investigative experience with cutting edge data mining technology to position global businesses for success as they navigate investigations, disputes and compliance challenges. 

With 12 locations and datacenters across the world, we have extensive cross-sector and cross-border experience and scalability anywhere in the world, harnessing the right mix of collaborative expertise for clients in both developed economies and emerging markets.  

We are regularly hired to provide expertise on some of the world’s largest and high-stakes compliance matters in fraud, bribery, corruption, financial crime, sanctions, ESG, audit and accounting malpractice, and corporate transactions.  

Why FRA?

FRA are trusted and experienced advisors to global corporations and their counsel, consistently recommended for our ability to go the extra mile. 

  • Bespoke Services and Solutions 

We deliver best-in-class services and tailored solutions for complex and highly sensitive matters, including the innovative use of data management and analytics to effectively address the needs of our clients. 

  • Highly-skilled Specialists 

Our diverse team of experts are highly skilled financial, technological and governance specialists with first-hand experience in multi-jurisdictional investigations and enforcement matters. 

  • One Global Team 

We deploy our multi-competency teams globally to work with counsel, corporations and government authorities to develop and execute our services and solutions. 

  • Our Services and Solutions 

Each of our client engagements benefits from a tailored team of experts and integrated data capabilities from across our core solutions and global teams. 

Investigations 

We partner with firms and their lawyers to provide truly independent and objective analysis and recommendations that are integral to mitigate risk and formulate an effective response. As a global leader in this area, we have a track record of success in some of the most high-profile investigations of the past two decades. We are experts in analysing large, complex transactional data sets, with experience working on projects encompassing decades of data and transactions.  

Whether internal or regulatory investigations, FRA provides expert guidance throughout the lifecycle of an investigation, helping clients understand their biggest risk areas and providing trusted guidance to minimise future exposure.  Our specialist penalty and disgorgement calculations skills are market-leading in providing empirical, robust and defensible analysis, which has stood up to the scrutiny of regulators around the world.  

Monitorships 

We have served as an independent monitor and also supported monitors appointed by the US Department of Justice (DOJ), US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) and New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) on a number of matters.  We have been involved in monitorships related to anti-bribery and corruption (ABC), anti-money laundering (AML), Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions violations, fraud, and PCAOB accounting and auditing standards. 

We have also assisted clients operating under Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs) in preparing for and interacting with compliance monitors. In this capacity, we have been responsible for the assessment, design and/or monitoring of compliance policies and procedures. 

Disputes 

Organisations are increasingly facing complex disputes and litigation on multiple fronts that demand customised responses. Our independent, multi-disciplinary experts have the exeperience and deep expertise to help our clients get the best outcome, while minimising risk and reputational damage. 

Our seasoned team have assisted client and their legal teams in a wide variety of disputes, delivering insights and credible analysis at different stages of the dispute lifecycle: 

  • Expert services and testimony 
  • International arbitration support 
  • Class Actions support 
  • Litigation consulting 
  • Quantum, damage calculation, event studies 

Advisory 

Known and respected by international regulators as leading practitioners, we are regularly trusted to provide compliance expertise for targeted, holistic or global matters.  The foundation of FRA’s approach is our expertise in forensic accounting, data governance, regulatory readiness support, and investigations. 

We have developed a bespoke compliance program framework, mapped against all leading international benchmarks and independently verified, to support the design or improvement of compliance programs including third party due diligence procedures, internal financial controls and system effectiveness testing.  

We provide recommendations that are practical and implementable; meeting obligations while also balancing businesses imperatives and economic considerations. Our approach factors in industry, geography and business risks that are tailored to our client’s needs and weighing the concerns of relevant stakeholders.  

Website: www.forensicrisk.com

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