John W. Gibson is a partner in the London office of Cohen & Gresser. He leads the firm’s United Kingdom White Collar and Investigations practice. John’s work focuses on complex economic crime, investigations, sanctions, and regulatory matters. He draws on over three decades of litigation and advisory experience, first as a trial lawyer in independent practice and then, for five years, as one of the most senior prosecutors and investigation managers in the Bribery & Corruption Unit of the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
At the SFO, John gained extensive knowledge of the financial, energy, and extractive industries. He had oversight of some of the most complex and challenging work ever undertaken by the SFO, including one of the largest economic crime investigations in UK law enforcement history. John was a valued public speaker for the SFO and engaged in a range of policy initiatives and consultations concerning the investigation and prosecution of serious economic crime.
John has been recognized as a “Top Recommended” Criminal Lawyer in the Spear’s 500 2021 Legal Index and by Best Lawyers in the United Kingdom for fraud-related work. He is also recognized in The Legal 500 UK’s 2022 guide for Regulatory Investigations and Corporate Crime (Advice to Corporates), Fraud: White-Collar Crime (Advice to Individuals), and Commercial Litigation: Mid-Market and in Chambers 2022 guide in the Financial Crime: High Net Worth Individuals – UK category. The Legal 500 commentary notes that he “has terrific experience in the most high-profile and difficult cases” and that he “is an excellent lawyer with the ability to turn that knowledge into practical advice. He is very focused on getting things done for his client.” The guide further notes that John “has had terrific experience in the most high profile and difficult cases.” Chambers has called him “an astute criminal lawyer” who is “tenacious, well informed and capable of distilling large volumes of material and complex issues into practical, usable advice that helps to progress a matter.” Chambers has further noted that John is “extremely thoughtful, careful and assertive.”
John offers rare insight into the focus of UK law enforcement and financial regulation, sanctions designation and enforcement, engagement with regulators and prosecutors, and deployment of the correct litigation strategy to any given criminal, sanctions, or compliance issue. He has extensive experience with UK/US cooperation in economic crime investigations and sanctions designation and enforcement. He regularly works in matters concerning the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States. Additionally, John brings a thorough understanding of and experience with the white collar crime and regulatory environment in emerging markets, including the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan African countries, Switzerland, and British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.
John also has expertise in the management of big data investigations and litigation, the use of artificial intelligence (AI), legal privilege issues, internal investigations, self-reporting, cooperation with law enforcement, and leniency.
John practiced as a member of the Independent Bar at 36 Bedford Row (The 36 Group), from 1991 to 2014.
John is a graduate of the University College, Durham University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Law with Honors.
John W. Gibson is a partner in the London office of Cohen & Gresser. He leads the firm’s United Kingdom White Collar and Investigations…
University College, Durham University (B.A., Law Hons 1990); Inns of Court School of Law, London (Bar Finals 1991)
England & Wales (Barrister)
Activities and Affiliations
Member, International Bar Association, White Collar Crime and Oil & Gas Committees
Member, Fraud Lawyers Association
One notable measure under debate is a new, bespoke offense that would make companies criminally liable for failing to prevent fraud by their employees. John noted that "[c]reating these bespoke failure-to-prevent offenses increases prosecutors' kitbag of potential charges," but also added that "[t]here aren't many examples of failure to prevent being charged, partly because the core pressure on law enforcement is to prosecute the substantive offending behavior."
Another proposal seeks to lower the standard of the identification doctrine—the requirement to prove that individuals who constitute the "directing mind and will" of the company knew about wrongdoing—by allowing companies to be held liable for a range of economic crimes by senior managers. Regarding the potential impact of this change, John draws a distinction between international companies that may already work within tougher parameters and domestic companies that may not: "Although it's seen in boardrooms as a seismic change in the law of England and Wales, I don't think most international companies will require significant change: they'll already have worked toward their liability in the U.S."
Two partners were individually ranked for their leading work for HNW clients:
- Richard Kovalevsky KC (Band 1, Financial Crime: High Net Worth Individuals, UK)
- John Gibson (Band 3, Financial Crime: High Net Worth Individuals, UK)
High Praise for Client Service and Sophisticated Work
Chambers highlights C&G’s strength in representing affluent clients in a “diverse range of complex work,” including “high-stakes tax and fraud-related investigations.” The team’s sanctions-related matters “stand out as sophisticated examples of cross-border work” and demonstrate its extensive capabilities in this space. Client feedback consistently praises the firm’s “attentive service,” specifically noting that, “with Cohen & Gresser, the client always comes first.” The members of the team are “all insightful and exceptional,” clients praised.
Richard Kovalevsky KC is lauded for his “commendable breadth of expertise” in work for affluent individuals and families facing allegations of fraud or facing tax investigations. He is “extremely dedicated to clients, hard-working and knows his subject matter inside out,” clients note.
John Gibson is recognized for expertly navigating “financial crime matters of high complexity.” Chambers spotlights his work for high-profile clients and his “involvement on high-value, cross-border mandates.” Clients praised him for being “extremely thoughtful, careful and assertive" and for bringing “new ideas” to matters.
Since opening in 2018, C&G’s London office has built a roster of distinguished lawyers, including some of the UK’s most respected former prosecutors. Led by four highly regarded lawyers from the Bar, C&G’s London White Collar and Criminal Defense practice offers extensive experience and full-service capabilities tailored to meet the particular issues of high net worth individuals.
About Chambers High Net Worth
Published by Chambers & Partners, the 2023 Chambers High Net Worth guide ranks the leading lawyers and law firms for international private wealth. The guide is used by family offices and professional advisers to wealthy individuals, providing objective guidance on an international scale. According to Chambers, “Those ranked in the guide understand the complex needs of HNW individuals and provide specialist advice.”
John’s work focuses on complex economic crime, investigations, and regulatory matters, drawing on his experience as a senior prosecutor and investigation manager in the UK’s Serious Fraud Office. Richard has over 30 years of experience representing high net worth individuals, directors, and corporations in a wide variety of white-collar criminal disputes, regulatory and internal investigations, and associated civil litigation, with a particular focus on financial crime.
The Best Lawyers guide relies entirely on peer review to determine and recognizes the “highest of talent in the legal industry.”
Jeff Bronheim is featured as a “Top Recommended” corporate lawyer, with Spear’s highlighting that Bronheim is “highly recommended” in wealth management and is an “eminent and personable partner.” The guide notes that “any Mayfair financier who is thinking of branching out into new business ventures” should “give [Bronheim] a call.” Bronheim serves as the Managing Partner of Cohen & Gresser’s London office and has over 30 years of experience assisting funds, companies, HNW individuals, and family offices with complex legal and business issues.
John Gibson, head of Cohen & Gresser’s UK White Collar and Investigations Practice, is featured as a “Top Recommended” criminal lawyer in the 2022 index. He is commended by Spear’s for his “particular expertise with UK/US cooperation in economic crime investigation” and experience working with the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation. With almost three decades of litigation and advisory experience, including five years as a senior prosecutor in the bribery and corruption unit of the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Gibson’s practice at Cohen & Gresser focuses on complex economic crime, investigations, and regulatory matters in the UK, Europe and emerging markets.
Richard Kovalevsky KC has maintained his long-standing status as a “Top Recommended” criminal lawyer in the Spear’s index. Kovalevsky is the head of the Criminal Defense Practice for Cohen Gresser’s London office, specializing in advising and representing HNW individuals in connection with international and domestic legal matters. Spear’s states, “What’s noteworthy is the wide range of cases that come across Kovalevsky’s desk – from cases involving business, finance, stock market dealings, listings and announcements, to corruption, tax, fraud and money laundering.” The index similarly praises Kovalevsky for his wide-ranging client base, which includes global business leaders and high-profile politicians to HNW individuals and members of prominent families.
From Cohen & Gresser’s London office, Bronheim, Gibson, and Kovalevsky and their UK colleagues work closely with attorneys in Cohen & Gresser’s U.S. and Paris offices on complex multi-jurisdictional matters and offer a multi-disciplinary practice tailored to the needs of ultra-high and high-net-worth individuals and family offices. Leveraging decades of experience, including at premier investment houses, the Bar, and the top tier of elite global law firms, Cohen & Gresser delivers consistent, high-quality service across the types of matters our clients are likely to face, including fund investing and structure, strategic transactions, art law and restitution, privacy and data security, employment matters, tax issues, regulatory considerations, commercial disputes, reputation management, and, when necessary, defense against litigation, investigation, and prosecution.
The guide states that C&G is "dedicated to their client’s interests” and is always “responsive and switched on.” Client commentary highlights the firm’s ability to handle complex and sophisticated matters and describes the firm’s lawyers as “incredibly bright” and “prompt and professional.” Additional commentary notes that the firm “punch[es] above its weight in terms of quality of people it has attracted and the work it is instructed on.”
Richard Kovalevsky KC has once again been recognized in the Chambers High Net Worth guide as a Band-1 lawyer for Financial Crime: High Net Worth Individuals in the UK. Chambers commentary notes that Kovalevsky is “the guru for financial crime issues.” Another source calls Richard “the most impressive legal mind I have ever encountered.”
John Gibson has also debuted as an individually ranked lawyer in the Chambers High Net Worth guide for Financial Crime: High Net Worth Individuals in the UK. The guide highlights John’s talent for “distilling large volumes of material and complex issues into practical, usable advice that helps to progress a matter.” Additional commentary notes that he is an “astute criminal lawyer” who is “tenacious, well informed,” and “incisive and action led.”
Since opening in 2018, C&G’s London office has built a roster of superb lawyers, including some of the UK’s most respected former prosecutors. Led by four highly regarded lawyers from the Bar, Cohen & Gresser’s London White Collar and Criminal Defense practice offers unique full-service capabilities with respect to the four major facets of international financial crime practice: regulatory investigations and compliance, criminal defense, settlement options, and anti-money laundering and Proceeds of Crime and Asset Tracing (POCA).
About Chambers High Net Worth:
Published by Chambers & Partners, the 2022 Chambers High Net Worth guide ranks the leading lawyers and law firms for international private wealth. The guide is used by family offices and professional advisers to wealthy individuals, providing objective guidance on an international scale. According to Chambers, “Those ranked in the guide understand the complex needs of HNW individuals and provide specialist advice and legal services.”
- Regulatory Investigations and Corporate Crime (Advice to Corporates)
- Fraud: White-Collar Crime (Advice to Individuals)
- Commercial Litigation: Mid-Market
- John Gibson: Commercial Litigation: Mid-Market; Fraud: White-Collar Crime (Advice to Individuals); Regulatory Investigations and Corporate Crime (Advice to Corporates)
- Richard Kovalevsky QC: Commercial Litigation: Mid-Market; Fraud: White-Collar Crime (Advice to Individuals); Regulatory Investigations and Corporate Crime (Advice to Corporates)
- Jumana Rahman: Commercial Litigation: Mid-Market
- Thomas Shortland: Commercial Litigation: Mid-Market; Regulatory Investigations and Corporate Crime (Advice to Corporates)
- Tim Harris: Fraud: White-Collar Crime (Advice to Individuals); Regulatory Investigations and Corporate Crime (Advice to Corporates)
John W Gibson speaks to Law360 about the light caseload and lack of charges coming out of the Serious Fraud Office. John notes that the current "cases are worthwhile, but they appear to lack the complexity or global scope of international bribery and corruption cases the SFO is designed to pursue." John also praises the Director of the SFO, Lisa Osofsky, for her "bold and impressive charging decision" regarding the recent investigation of GPT Special Project Management, Ltd. (a subsidiary of Airbus) and three individuals for alleged corruption offenses.
John W Gibson is quoted in an article by The Daily Telegraph, which highlights the impact of the rare-earth metals industry on U.S. – China trade relations, noting “China has a ‘notional advantage’ in this area, by using relatively toothless regulation on African-based mining projects.”
- highlight three trends in director disqualification enforcement which emerge from the Report;
- suggest factors that may have contributed to these trends; and
- discuss whether these trends are likely to continue.
They also provide some insights on contested disqualification proceedings from recent cases.
In this article, Sir David Green CB KC, John Gibson, and Tim Harris discuss the terms of the offence, analyse its practical consequences and draw conclusions as to how law enforcement investigative strategy may change in response.
In this C&G Client Alert, John W Gibson and Tim Harris discuss the Financial Conduct Authority’s (“FCA”) public censure of Redcentric PLC for market abuse and the likely implications for FCA enforcement in the context of the economic conditions created by COVID-19.
John W Gibson, Thomas Shortland, and Ashley Collins outline the key factors company directors must consider when making business decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, as they may face scrutiny from a range of interested parties including creditors, employees, trade unions, landlords, customers, regulators, insolvency practitioners, and possibly law enforcement.
John W Gibson, Tim Harris, Barbara K Luse, and Charlotte Ritchie discuss the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Regulations 2019 (“the 2019 Regulations”) that recently came into force in the UK. The 2019 Regulations extend anti-money laundering responsibilities to UK art market participants, including art dealers and other intermediaries, in response to the increasing recognition that high value art is used by criminals and terrorist groups to launder and hide money.
Miriam González Durántez and John W Gibson discuss the deal and no-deal implications for finance and sanctions following a “Brexit” in The Law Society Gazette.
John W Gibson and Miriam González Durántez discuss the parallels between the early enforcement of the Bribery Act 2010 and the UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation's first monetary penalty.
John was the keynote speaker at the 2018 Global Investigations Review Conference.
John spoke on the subject of legal privilege at The Cambridge International Economic Crime Symposium in 2016, 2017, and 2018 .
- White Collar Defense & Regulation