Criminal Defense

Our White Collar Criminal Defense group is frequently retained by corporate and individual clients who have been identified as witnesses in, or subjects or targets of, ongoing investigations. We have had great success in minimizing our clients’ exposure, frequently helping them avoid regulatory sanctions and criminal prosecution. We are also experienced trial lawyers and have an excellent track record in criminal trials and appeals.

Our Paris team has extensive trial experience before a wide variety of French courts, and notably the French financial prosecutor (PNF – Parquet national financier) regarding white collar criminal cases.

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International law firm Cohen & Gresser today announced that Andrew Mitchell QC, a distinguished barrister and Queen’s Counsel, has joined the firm’s White Collar Defense & Regulation practice as Of Counsel. He will work closely with all of the firm’s international offices to support clients worldwide in civil and criminal matters relating to financial wrongdoing.

Andrew’s arrival continues Cohen & Gresser’s international growth and the strategic expansion of its leading White Collar Defense & Regulation practice, following the recent addition of Sir David Green CB QC in London.

U.S. News – Best Lawyers have once again recognized Cohen & Gresser among the Best Law Firms in the United States. As a testament to the firm’s capabilities and experience, the 2022 guide has honored Cohen & Gresser with multiple Tier 1 rankings in the New York region.

Cohen & Gresser has been nationally ranked as a Best Law Firm in two practice areas – Criminal Defense: White Collar and Commercial Litigation.

Additionally, the firm has been recognized in New York as a Best Law Firm in four practice areas – Criminal Defense: White-Collar, Product Liability Litigation – Defendants, Commercial Litigation, and Litigation – Securities.

The U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that collects data from clients, professional references, and attorneys currently recognized as Best Lawyers.

View the complete results of C&G’s rankings.

Cohen & Gresser is pleased to announce that 38 of the firm's New York and Washington D.C.­based attorneys have been named to the 2021 Super Lawyers List across a wide range of practice areas. C&G co­founder Mark S Cohen and partners Jonathan S Abernethy and Daniel H Tabak have also been named to the Super Lawyers list of the top 100 lawyers in the New York metropolitan area, and partner Karen H Bromberg has been recognized as one of the top 50 women lawyers in the New York metropolitan area.

Super Lawyers ranks outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Only five percent of the lawyers in each state are selected as Super Lawyers, and only 2.5 percent are selected as Rising Stars.

Super Lawyers

Jonathan S Abernethy: Criminal Defense: White Collar
Kwaku Andoh: Mergers & Acquisitions
Elizabeth Bernhardt: Business Litigation
Thomas E Bezanson: Personal Injury – Products: Defense
Colin C Bridge: Criminal Defense: White Collar
Karen H Bromberg: Intellectual Property
Jason Brown: Criminal Defense: White Collar
Damir Cefo: Intellectual Property Litigation
Joanna K Chan: Securities Litigation
Mark S Cohen: Business Litigation
S Gale Dick: Business Litigation
Christian R Everdell: Criminal Defense: White Collar
Lawrence T Gresser: Business Litigation
Oliver S Haker: Business Litigation
Johannes Jonas: Mergers & Acquisitions
Nicholas J Kaiser: Real Estate
Jeffrey I. Lang: Business Litigation
Melissa H Maxman: Antitrust Litigation
Ellen Paltiel: General Litigation
Nathaniel P T Read: Business Litigation
Bonnie J Roe: Securities & Corporate Finance
Stephen M Sinaiko: Business Litigation
C Evan Stewart: Securities Litigation
Daniel H Tabak: Business Litigation
Scott D Thomson: Business Litigation
Alexandra Wald: Business Litigation
Ronald F Wick: Antitrust Litigation

Rising Stars

Luke Appling: Civil Litigation
Sharon L Barbour: Criminal Defense: White Collar
Drew S Dean: General Litigation
William Kalema: Business Litigation
Sophia Soejung Kim: Criminal Defense: White Collar
Sri Kuehnlenz: Civil Litigation
Winnifred A Lewis: Securities Litigation
Marvin J Lowenthal: Criminal Defense: White Collar
Barbara K Luse: Criminal Defense: White Collar
Matthew V Povolny: Business Litigation
Benjamin Zhu: Criminal Defense: White Collar

Global Investigations Review (GIR) has again nominated Cohen & Gresser for its Most Important Court Case of the Year award for the major victory at the UK Supreme Court achieved by C&G’s Richard Kovalevsky QC on behalf of KBR Inc. On February 5, 2021, the UK Supreme Court handed down a landmark judgment that delivered a decisive victory to KBR Inc. and agreed to the arguments presented by Richard and the rest of the KBR legal team. In its decision, the Supreme Court held that the SFO could not compel a foreign company to produce documents held abroad under Section 2(3) of the Criminal Justice Act of 1987.

Cohen & Gresser is pleased to announce that Spear’s Wealth Management has named Jeffrey M BronheimJohn W Gibson, and Richard Kovalevsky QC to its 2021 Legal Directory & Hommes d’Affaires index. The Spear’s legal index identifies the top legal counsel for private clients in the UK.

Jeff Bronheim is featured as a “Top Recommended” corporate lawyer in the 2021 index. Spear’s notes that Jeff is an “eminent and personable partner” and “comes highly recommended by a senior adviser in wealth management.” Jeff serves as the Managing Partner of Cohen & Gresser’s London office and has over 30 years of experience assisting funds, companies, high-net-worth individuals, and family offices with complex legal and business issues, including investments, regulatory considerations, disputes, and structural planning.

John Gibson is featured as a “Top Recommended” criminal lawyer in the 2021 index and is commended for his “expertise with UK/US cooperation in economic crime investigation.” John leads Cohen & Gresser’s UK White Collar and Investigations practice and is a former senior prosecutor at the UK’s Serious Fraud Office. He offers rare insight into the focus of UK law enforcement and financial regulation, when and how to engage with regulators and prosecutors, and how to develop and deploy the best litigation strategy for a wide range of criminal and compliance situations.

Richard Kovalevsky QC, featured consistently by Spear’s as a “Top Recommended” criminal lawyer, is once again included in the 2021 criminal lawyers and hommes d’affaires indices. Spear’s highlights “the wide range of cases that come across Kovalevsky’s desk” and notes that “his client base is similarly varied.” Richard is the head of Criminal Defense for the London office. He specializes in advising and representing high-net-worth individuals in connection with international and domestic issues and is known for his discreet tactical approach and expertise.

From Cohen & Gresser’s office in Mayfair, Jeff, John, Richard, and their UK colleagues work closely with attorneys in Cohen & Gresser’s U.S. and French 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.

International law firm Cohen & Gresser is pleased to announce that eight of its lawyers have been recognized in the 2022 edition of the Best Lawyers in America. Selection in the 28th edition of the guide is based entirely on peer-review surveys in which tens of thousands of leading lawyers evaluate their professional peers.

Five C&G attorneys have been recognized by their peers as a “Best Lawyer” in their practice areas:

  • Jonathan S. Abernethy – Criminal Defense: White-Collar
  • Thomas E. Bezanson – Commercial Litigation and Product Liability Litigation: Defense
  • Jason A. Brown – Criminal Defense: White-Collar
  • Mark S. Cohen – Criminal Defense: White-Collar
  • Evan Stewart – Litigation – Securities

Three C&G attorneys have been recognized as “Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch” in their practice areas:

  • Sharon L. Barbour – Criminal Defense: White-Collar
  • Winnifred A. Lewis – Commercial Litigation
  • Alexandra K. Theobald – Commercial Litigation

Richard Kovalevsky QC has been recognized by Chambers in its 2021 High Net Worth guide as a Band 1 lawyer for Financial Crime: High Net Worth Individuals in the UK. Chambers notes that Richard is “highly sought after by high net worth individuals under investigation by the FCA, the SFO and the DOJ.”

Richard received outstanding praise from clients and colleagues, with one interviewee describing him as “a very bright lawyer” with a “lovely presentational style” and “savviness.” Another interviewee notes that “he is very down to earth, very straightforward, and clients like that. He comes up with creative solutions to complex problems. He is very dedicated to his clients and he is very good to work with."

 Published by Chambers & Partners, the 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.

Loïc Henriot has been recognized by Lettre des Juristes d’Affaires (LJA) and Forbes Magazine as a “Rising Star” in their inaugural listing of the Top 40 lawyers advising CAC 40 public companies.

The CAC 40 is an index made up of the 40 largest public companies listed in France. The final survey is the result of extensive interviews with the primary consumers of legal services within the CAC 40 and spotlights the top lawyers who stand out for their ability to advise Euronext’s CAC 40 companies. (Subscription required).

Paris Partners Johannes Jonas, Muriel Goldberg-Darmon, Loïc Henriot, and Guillaume Seligmann were recognized in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in France. Johannes was recognized for Corporate Law; Muriel for Financial Institutions and Regulatory Practice; Loïc for Criminal Defense; and Guillaume for Information Technology Law and Privacy and Data Security Law.  Additionally, Héloïse Masson was recognized in The Best Lawyers in France: Ones to Watch. Héloïse was recognized for Privacy and Data Security Law.

About The Best Lawyers in France
The Best Lawyers in France were recognized by their peers in the legal industry for their professional excellence in their respective practice areas.

In this Law360 profile, John W Gibson discusses his five-year stint as a senior prosecutor and investigations manager in the UK Serious Fraud Office’s bribery and corruption unit, how he uses that experience to understand what matters when engaging with regulators and prosecutors, and how to deploy effective litigation strategy in criminal or compliance matters. (Subscription required.)

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.

John Gibson spoke with Financial News to discuss the Financial Conduct Authority’s recent warning that the agency is keeping a close eye on the use of unauthorised messaging apps in finance.

“The really critical thing for firms to do is to not ignore warning signs… [or] turn a blind eye to situations in which they [firms] know that private devices are being used for business purposes,” said John, adding that doing so represented “unquestionably [a] failing in your regulatory obligations.”

“The way in which people are working remotely and using chat applications, is storing up risk for both institutions, and for their potential supervision and enforcement of the rules,” added John. (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)

Richard Kovalevsky QC spoke with Law360 about the UK Serious Fraud Office's probe into one of the world's biggest bribery scandals. "In a normal period of time you would say it was a success for SFO, but there have been difficulties along the way," said Richard Kovalevsky QC of Cohen & Gresser LLP, adding that "the overall success of the case is probably freestanding" from criticism leveled at the SFO. Richard added that he “wouldn't rush to judgment on Osfosky's interaction with the go-between until everything is clear." (Subscription Required)

On 5 February 2021, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom handed down a landmark judgment, delivering a decisive victory to KBR Inc. and agreeing to the arguments presented by Cohen & Gresser’s Richard Kovalevsky QC and the rest of the KBR legal team. The Supreme Court held that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) could not compel a foreign company to produce documents held abroad under Section 2(3) of the Criminal Justice Act of 1987. The decision was covered by the following publications:
On 5 February 2021, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom handed down a landmark judgment, delivering a decisive victory to KBR Inc. and agreeing to the arguments presented by Cohen & Gresser’s Richard Kovalevsky QC and the rest of the KBR legal team. The Supreme Court held that the SFO could not compel a foreign company to produce documents held abroad under Section 2(3) of the Criminal Justice Act of 1987.

John W Gibson speaks to Law360 about the recent memorandum of understanding announced by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the Competition and Markets Authority that shifts responsibility for the enforcement of the most serious and complex cartel offenses to the SFO.

International law firm Cohen & Gresser today announced that Richard Kovalevsky QC, a distinguished barrister and Queen’s Counsel, will join the firm’s White Collar Defense & Regulation group as a partner in its London office. As head of Criminal Defense for the London office, Richard’s hire will bolster Cohen & Gresser’s highly-regarded White Collar Defense practice and strengthen the firm’s ability to provide clients with sophisticated and strategic guidance on the most complex government and internal investigations.

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.
Cohen & Gresser announces the expansion of its London office and White Collar Defense & Regulation group with the appointment of partner John W Gibson. A former UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) senior prosecutor, John will focus his practice on cross-border corporate investigations and white collar defense. He has over 25 years of experience as a barrister, and advises on all matters relating to law enforcement, regulatory and internal investigation of suspected crimes and regulatory breaches, as well as the defense of companies and individuals. In addition, John has expertise in data strategy and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in big data litigation and investigations.
U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers have recognized Cohen & Gresser as a New York Best Law Firm for white collar criminal defense. The Best Law Firms rankings are based on an in-depth review process, and recognize professional excellence and strong ratings from clients and peers.
U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers have recognized Cohen & Gresser as a New York Best Law Firm for white collar criminal defense. These rankings are based on an in-depth review process, and recognize professional excellence and strong ratings from clients and peers.
Corruption allegations at multinational companies can often lead to several jurisdictions launching investigations that can drag on for years and cause significant damage to a company’s reputation and ability to conduct business. With different factors in each jurisdiction for what grants the authority to charge companies and individuals with criminal offenses, multinational companies need to work with advisers and create a strategy for timely global settlements at the outset of any global corruption allegations.

In this article for Financier Worldwide, John W Gibson identifies several strategic considerations for boards to consider when facing corruption allegations, including finding lawyers that can work in close partnership with forensic accountants, industry experts, data scientists, and corporate intelligence experts to piece together what has happened, an early review of the company’s compliance program and implementation of anti-bribery and corruption best practices, strategic evaluation of the jurisdictions in which to report, and why it’s essential at the beginning of an investigation to commence meaningful, straightforward dialogue with the key lawyers and investigators in each investigating jurisdiction.

This article first appeared in the February 2022 issue of Financier Worldwide Magazine.

The cryptocurrency industry should brace itself for increased scrutiny from the DOJ and other enforcement agencies. The DOJ recently announced the creation of a National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (“NCET”), which will have the authority to tackle investigations and prosecutions of criminal misuses of cryptocurrency. NCET will not only pursue its own cases but will work closely with other federal agencies, subject matter experts, and law enforcement partners throughout the government to support existing and future cases across the country.

  • The announcement further suggests that NCET’s initial mandate will broaden the enforcement focus from criminal actors themselves to those who enable and facilitate illicit activities involving cryptocurrency.
  • Cryptocurrency exchanges should take appropriate steps to work with counsel to avoid becoming the subject of a DOJ investigation or prosecution.
  • The increased scrutiny will also likely extend to all cryptocurrency-focused businesses, NFT platforms, companies that accept cryptocurrency as payment, and even those that merely do business with third parties dealing in cryptocurrency.
  • Given the heightened scrutiny from the DOJ and a constantly evolving regulatory landscape, all companies in the industry should evaluate compliance programs and practices to mitigate risk and exposure.
In this C&G client alert, Christian R Everdell and Barbara K Luse explore the specifics of the NCET mandate, including its anticipated collaboration with the SEC and other federal agencies, and examine what’s on the horizon for cryptocurrency exchanges and other cryptocurrency-focused businesses. The authors identify some key takeaways for companies dealing with cryptocurrency, including cryptocurrency exchanges, crypto funds and financial institutions, and more.

In his latest column for Federal Bar Council Quarterly, C Evan Stewart revisits the trial of O.J. Simpson.
Richard Kovalevsky QC will speak at GIR Live: London on a panel that examines crisis management from the perspective of in-house and private practice lawyers, media experts, journalists, enforcers and NGOs. Panelists will discuss how things look from their perspective in a crisis and why things play out the way they do.

Ron Wick moderated this second installment in the Civil Practice & Procedure Committee's Class Action Series, which offered insights into best practices in presenting and rebutting economic evidence, including retaining and working with experts; tactical considerations and evidentiary issues unique to class actions; and the impact of the Supreme Court's most recent class certification decisions on antitrust class actions.