Tim Harris

Counsel, London

Tim Harris

Counsel, London

Tim Harris is a counsel in Cohen & Gresser’s London office. His practice focuses on white collar criminal defence, including internal and regulatory investigations, regulatory enforcement, and financial crime compliance. He advises clients dealing with FCA supervisory examinations and enforcement action.

Tim advises on matters that traverse criminal and civil allegations – particularly litigation arising under various provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act. He also has experience of successfully defending a number of clients against threatened and commenced private prosecutions.

Tim has been recognized by The Legal 500 UK’s 2022 guide in the areas of Fraud: White-Collar Crime (Advice to Individuals) and Regulatory Investigations and Corporate Crime (Advice to Corporates). In the guide’s commentary, Tim’s work is “singled out by clients.”

Prior to joining C&G, Tim was an associate at Simmons & Simmons in London, where he represented a wide range of companies and individuals in complex financial crime and regulatory matters. During his career, he has been involved in a number of London’s highest-profile investigations, trials, and public inquiries.

A significant component of Tim’s practice focuses on non-contentious advice with respect to tax evasion, anti-bribery/ corruption, and anti-money laundering regulations. He has written widely on these subjects.

Tim has a keen interest in pro bono matters. He has, for instance, advised the London Air Ambulance service and appellants in litigation against the Department of Work and Pensions.

Tim received his undergraduate degree from Durham University and graduated from BPP Law School in London. He trained with Eversheds LLP (now Eversheds Sutherland), and then worked as a solicitor with Bark & Co Solicitors and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Tim is a Solicitor-Advocate with Higher Rights of Audience in the Criminal Courts.

Tim Harris is a counsel in Cohen & Gresser’s London office. His practice focuses on white collar criminal defence, including internal and regulatory investigations,…


BPP Law School (LPC – Distinction, 2006; GDL Commendation, 2005); Durham University (B.A. in History, Hons., 2001)

Bar Admissions

England & Wales (Solicitor-Advocate)

Activities and Affiliations

Member, Fraud Lawyers Association
Member, Financial Services Lawyers Association

Criminal Investigations

Tim has been involved in a number of London’s highest-profile criminal investigations. His recent criminal experience includes:

  • A FTSE-listed oil and gas services company under investigation by the SFO into alleged corrupt activity in the Middle East.
  • A global pharmaceutical company in connection with an SFO and DoJ investigation into alleged bribes.
  • Individuals concerned in SFO investigations into Serco, Tesco, Rolls Royce, Afren and Sweett.
  • Two partners of a leading boutique law firm interviewed separately under caution.
  • The Chairman of a concrete pipe company investigated by the CMA for alleged cartel activity.

Criminal Proceedings

Tim has represented a number of people in criminal proceedings, and at trial including:

  • R v Adoboli – represented Mr. Adoboli, a former UBS trader, at trial.
  • iSOFT – represented the former CEO of iSOFT Group plc, a FTSE 250 software company, charged by the FCA with conspiring to make false and misleading statements.
  • Operation Tabernula – FCA insider dealing prosecution. This is the FCA’s largest prosecution to date. Tim acted for a broker of an international institution.
  • HMRC prosecution of individuals accused of conspiracy to cheat the Revenue in relation to a scheme to exploit gift aid tax provisions.
  • The SFO prosecution of the former Chairman of Polly Peck PLC

Regulatory Instructions / Special Situations

Tim has acted for a variety of organizations responding to regulatory inquiries or engaging with regulators. His experience includes:

  • Acting for a leading private bank responding to concerns raised by the Dubai Financial Services Authority regarding its local AML controls.
  • Reviewing the AML and ABC systems and controls for a London branch of a European banking group following a proactive FCA inspection.
  • Advising an international bank on civil recovery proceedings.
  • Advising a professional services firm in connection with a joint select committees’ inquiry into the collapse of BHS, retail group.
  • Acting for the Solicitors Regulation Authority to investigate two law firms regarding their work acting for Iraqi clients.

Internal Investigations

Acted for companies investigating alleged misconduct carried out by staff, agents or third parties, including:

  • A mining company investigating whistleblower allegations of unlawful acts committed against members of the local community near a mine site.
  • A global insurance broker in an investigation of a suspected employee fraud.
  • A professional services regulator to investigate the payment of certain expenses paid to the Chief Executive.
Tim Harris appeared on the Legally Speaking Podcast, where he spoke with Robert Hanna about white-collar crime and his experience as a White Collar Defense & Regulation lawyer at Cohen & Gresser. Tim shared insight into his career as a White Collar and Criminal Defense lawyer and highlighted what makes his current work at Cohen & Gresser unique.

Tim also spoke about some key issues affecting white-collar crime and investigations in the legal market and why pro bono work is so important as a legal professional.

International law firm Cohen & Gresser is pleased to announce that Daniel H Mathias and Matthew V Povolny have been promoted to partner, and Sharon L Barbour and Tim Harris have been promoted to counsel.

“Congratulations to Daniel, Matt, Sharon and Tim on their well-deserved promotions,” said Lawrence T Gresser, global managing partner of Cohen & Gresser. “All four exemplify our core values of excellence, integrity and respect, and we are fortunate to have them on our team.”

Click here for announcement.

International law firm Cohen & Gresser has been recognized by The Legal 500 UK for its “wide international reach” and “seamless collaboration” on cross-border investigations and disputes. Client commentary highlights C&G’s London office as “the go-to team for risk advisory” work and notes that clients should “instruct them before the other side does.”

C&G is recognized as a leading firm in the Regulatory Investigations and Corporate Crime (Advice to Corporates) category. The guide emphasizes the firm’s work with respect to the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and notes that the team is “distinguished by its ability to draw on the expertise of experts in Washington, DC, New York, and Paris” for its multi-jurisdictional work. Clients highlight the team’s “astonishing depth of knowledge,” “strong connections to authorities,” and “razor-sharp analytical skills.”

The Legal 500 also recognized C&G in the Fraud: White-Collar Crime (Advice to Individuals) category. The guide notes that the firm is known for “housing a very strong team of white-collar crime specialists” who are “well-versed in representing senior executives and high-net-worth individuals” in all types of cases and investigations. Clients highlight the practice’s “terrific experience in the most high-profile and difficult cases” and praise the diverse experience each team member brings to the firm’s cases, including as city lawyers, ex-SFO prosecutors, solicitors from crime boutiques, and barristers.

C&G is also recognized as a leading firm in the Commercial Litigation: Mid-Market category. The guide recognizes the firm’s experience in complex, cross-border commercial litigation and highlights the team’s strength in financial services representations, particularly with respect to investment funds litigation and banking and financial services disputes. Clients applaud the practice as “well organized and accessible” and underscore the team’s ability to “give you a full picture” and “summarise the essential of what needs to be known.

In addition, Richard Kovalevsky QC has been recognized as a “Leading Individual” for Regulatory Investigations and Corporate Crime (Advice to Corporates). Richard, who joined C&G in November 2020, is described by clients as “clever and experienced” and a “major addition for the firm.”

Ranked Practice Areas:

  • Regulatory Investigations and Corporate Crime (Advice to Corporates)
  • Fraud: White-Collar Crime (Advice to Individuals)
  • Commercial Litigation: Mid-Market
Recognized Individuals:

  • 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)
About The Legal 500: The Legal 500 analyzes the capabilities of law firms across the world. Its rankings “highlight the practice area teams who are providing the most cutting edge and innovative advice to corporate counsel.”

Tim Harris joins host Nicolas Corry on the Skadi Podcast to discuss internal investigations, looking at why an external party might be brought in to conduct an investigation and the role of individuals in these investigations. In addition, the podcast looks at the implications of the Senior Managers Regime and discusses the recent high-profile criminal cases of Serco and NatWest.

Tim Harris spoke with Pensions & Investments about the recent expansion of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime to cover all FCA-regulated firms. The regulation, which extends requirements that have applied to bankers for years, will require firms to certify that staff – such as portfolio managers, analysts and other employees – are "fit and proper" to invest client money. Money managers operating in the U.K. will have to set their own criteria against which to assess staff.

It also means that firms may end up straying into employees' social and personal lives in ways they have not done before, said Tim Harris (subscription required).

Tim Harris spoke with Law360 to discuss the Financial Conduct Authority’s first prosecution of a UK bank for failing to comply with anti-money laundering rules. Tim observed that the prosecution "crystallizes the criminal risk for firms.” He added that "Up until now the criminal aspects of the money laundering regime, at least for firms, have been somewhat theoretical. For a U.K. retail bank to be prosecuted is a watershed moment and shows the FCA coming good on its goal to give teeth to the regime." He also provided his thoughts on the court’s approach to sentencing in the event the bank pleads or is found guilty and also the potential application of the Senior Managers Regime. (Subscription Required)

Tim Harris speaks with Law360 about the Financial Conduct Authority’s recent warning that financial services companies should maintain records of employee communication on messaging platforms, including WhatsApp, while employees work remotely.

Tim refers to a recent FCA case brought against an investment banker accused of destroying WhatsApp messages: "The case highlights the evidential importance that the FCA attaches to information contained on WhatsApp and other instant messaging applications. The FCA expects that if these applications contain information that they would be interested in that they must be preserved.” (Subscription required.)

John W Gibson and Tim Harris spoke to Law360 about the implications of the Court of Appeal’s recent judgment that definitively changed the English law test for dishonesty. John and Tim highlight how the judgment could benefit prosecutors, disadvantage financial services professionals charged with dishonesty offenses, and how juries’ decisions could be affected.
Cohen & Gresser announces the expansion of its white collar defense offering with the appointment of Tim Harris as a senior associate in the firm’s London office. Tim brings a long track record as a financial crime lawyer and will focus primarily on white collar matters, including internal and regulatory investigations. He also provides noncontentious advice with respect to tax evasion, antibribery and corruption, and antimoney laundering regulations.
The UK Government has published a draft amendment to the Economic Crime and Transparency Bill, which will create a new corporate failure to prevent fraud offence. While talk of the new offence as a “game changer” may be optimistic, the offence has significant implications not only for the investigation and prosecution of complex fraud in the UK but also for the enforcement risk created for “large” UK and non-UK companies which have UK customers.

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.

On 8 June 2022, the UK’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (“OFSI”) released updated guidance concerning its enforcement of the civil monetary penalties regime for breaches of financial sanctions. The update coincides with the introduction of two major amendments to the civil UK sanctions regime that came into force on 15 June 2022, which now mean that OFSI is:
  • no longer required to demonstrate that a person had knowledge or reasonable cause to suspect they were in breach of a financial sanction in assessing whether to issue a monetary penalty. This strict liability test brings the UK regime more in line with the U.S. model used for financial sanctions; and
  • able to publish details of financial sanctions breaches where a monetary penalty has not been imposed.
It seems inevitable that the increased sanctions risks (and regulatory scrutiny) created by the UK’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, combined with these legislative amendments, will lead to more sanctions enforcement activity, civil penalties, criminal referrals to the NCA, and possibly prosecutions. This has been reflected in recent comments made by OFSI.

In this C&G client alert, Sir David Green CB QC, Tim Harris, and Ashley Collins examine the amended UK sanctions regime and the prospects for increased UK sanctions enforcement activity (civil, regulatory, and criminal).

On 15 March 2022, the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act received royal assent. The rapid passage of the Act through the UK Parliament, after years of delays, came in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

  • While the Act may have disappointed corporate transparency reformers, a number of the Act’s provisions will have a significant impact on those who manage offshore structures and their clients by strengthening individual accountability and increasing exposure to reputational, civil, and criminal litigation risk.
  • The Act has had an immediate impact on the Government’s ability to make urgent sanction designations and we anticipate the reforms will breathe new life into the Unexplained Wealth Order regime. However, the question remains whether, beyond the legislation, the NCA, OFSI, and the UK’s other enforcement authorities have the necessary resources to deliver on the Government’s robust agenda.
  • While flaws have been identified in the Act, particularly in relation to the effectiveness of the Register of Overseas Entities, the Government has assured the House that new legislation is being drafted (and is likely to be before the House in early summer) to address these deficiencies, including comprehensive reform of Companies House.
In this C&G client alert, Tim Harris and Alice Mills examine the effect the relevant provisions of the Act will have on the fiduciary services sector and trustees of overseas entities which own property in the UK.

John Gibson, Tim Harris, Thomas Shortland, and Tom Orange authored the England & Wales chapter of the International Comparative Legal Guide - Corporate Investigations 2022. In this Q&A-styled publication, the authors answer frequently asked questions about conducting corporate investigations in the UK, including key considerations for deciding whether to conduct an internal investigation, self-reporting and cooperation with enforcement authorities, the investigation process (such as the conduct of witness interviews and data collection), the limits of legal privilege and many other pressing topics.

The Financial Conduct Authority (the “FCA”) issued a prohibition order against Mr Frensham based on his conviction for an offence which did not involve financial fraud or dishonesty and was unrelated to regulated activity. Following a referral, the Upper Tribunal considered such a prohibition for the first time in Frensham v The Financial Conduct Authority [2021] UKUT 0222 (TCC). Although the Tribunal concluded that the conviction alone was insufficient to make a prohibition order, the FCA’s decision was nonetheless upheld due to Mr Frensham’s failure to be open and transparent with the FCA during the course of the criminal investigation and later regulatory proceedings brought by the Chartered Insurance Institute (“CII”), which meant that he lacked integrity. In short, the Tribunal concluded that “it is not the fact that a criminal offence has been committed that is fatal to an applicant’s case but the manner in which he deals with the consequences that follow. In this case, we have found that the way Mr Frensham dealt with those consequences demonstrated a lack of integrity which entitles the Authority to exercise the prohibition power in order to further its statutory objectives”.

The Tribunal’s carefully reasoned judgment provides essential guidance both to the FCA and to firms assessing an individual’s fitness under the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (“SMCR”), and more generally under the Individual Conduct Rules (“COCON”), on how non-financial misconduct committed in an individual’s private life, where unrelated to their regulated activity, should be approached. This C&G Client Alert reviews the facts and the law, and analyses key lessons from the case.

Can an individual with a recent regulatory history resume a role in the financial services industry, and, if so, what is the process? This client alert discusses the FIT Test (as applied both by the FCA and firms under the SMCR), explores how the FCA will approach the authorisation process in non-routine cases, and offers practical guidance for individuals seeking to have such an application approved by the FCA.

With the shift to remote working and the convenience of chat applications for conducting business, it is critical for firms to understand that information relevant to their business may be created on personal devices and applications. The UK FCA’s failed prosecution of an investment banker for destroying WhatsApp messages taken together with the FCA’s ‘Market Watch 66’ publication highlighting the need to control electronic communications is a reminder to firms to address staff use of personal chat applications to conduct business.

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 and Tim Harris discuss the Court of Appeal’s recent judgment in R v Barton & Booth, and consider some of the implications for those accused of complex fraud allegations by the alteration of the legal test for dishonesty.
John W Gibson and Tim Harris offer a practical, cross-border insight into UK anti-money laundering law in their chapter for International Comparative Legal Guides.

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.

John W Gibson, Tim Harris, and Patrick Ferguson discuss the enforcement risks created by cum-ex transactions and the implications for jurisdictions, such as the UK, where cum-ex transactions per se have not been carried out, but where dividend arbitrage trades carry a risk of facilitating tax evasion, money laundering, or market abuse.

On 26 April 2023, Tim Harris, appeared on a panel at the Open Text White Collar Crime and Investigations Forum. The panel discussed the changes made by the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 (the “ECA”) and the proposed measures in the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill including the introduction of a corporate failure to prevent fraud offence and reforms to UK Companies House. The panel was chaired by Neill Blundell (Macfarlanes), with Jonathan Ashley-Norman KC (3 Raymond Buildings) and Sarnjit Lal (Armstrong Teasdale) speaking alongside Tim.

Tim spoke about the changes that had been made to strengthen the Unexplained Wealth Order and financial sanctions regimes by way of the ECA and the likelihood of these reforms leading to more UK enforcement activity concerning: a) the recovery of assets frozen in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine; and b) breaches of financial sanctions obligations.

Tim Harris Panel
Tim Harris and Thomas W Shortland spoke about the UK experience of resolving corporate criminal wrongdoing through Deferred Prosecution Agreements at the White Collar Academy’s Anti-Corruption Conference in Amsterdam.