Regulatory Enforcement

Our Regulatory Enforcement group represents corporate and individual clients in connection with investigations conducted by various federal and state regulatory agencies.

We have represented clients in investigations conducted by virtually every significant federal agency, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Commodities Futures Trading Commission, Federal Reserve, Fair Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Elections Commission, and Federal Aviation Administration. We also have extensive experience with state regulators, including the Offices of the New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut Attorneys General, as well as self-regulatory organizations, including FINRA and the New York Stock Exchange.

Our Paris team has significant experience in investigation, control, and sanction proceedings before French authorities, such as the French financial market authority (AMF), the banking authority (ACPR), and the French National Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL – Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés).

Our U.S. and French offices seamlessly work together to provide assistance on matters relating to international cooperation procedures between regulators, including the SEC and AMF, and in cross-border investigations led by the U.S. Department of Justice.

When representing our clients in active regulatory investigations, we have effectively employed varying strategies. These include aggressive advocacy to avoid litigation, including extensive experience with the SEC Wells process and AMF-type settlement agreements, the comprehensive defense at trial of civil litigation brought as a result of a regulatory investigation, and, where appropriate, providing active cooperation with and assistance to regulators.

We are also engaged in compliance counsel roles, in which we are available to address real-time securities law compliance concerns, and we frequently offer advice in connection with securities issues.

Key Contacts

All Attorneys

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.

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).

Cohen & Gresser has once again been ranked by Global Investigations Review (GIR) as one of the leading law firms in the world for cross-border investigations. The GIR 100 is an independent guide to the world’s best firms for cross-border investigations. Based on submissions from law firms and extensive research, GIR selects the top 100 firms from around the world able to handle sophisticated government-led internal and cross-border investigations.

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.
John W Gibson spoke to Law360 about enforcement action and litigation over potential misconduct stemming from the UK’s COVID-19 lending programs. John notes that, while banks have been firmly warned of the possible Financial Services and Markets Act offenses, there could still be widespread abuse of the schemes.
Cohen & Gresser has been selected for inclusion in the GIR 100, Global Investigation Review’s annual guide to the world’s leading law firms for investigations. The guide notes that C&G’s “reputation in the investigations space is soaring,” and highlights the firm’s “high-profile hires,” “big cases,” and  “important victories” in the United States, France, and the UK.
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.

C Evan Stewart is quoted in The New York Times regarding how federal regulators will be changing their annual stress tests. He notes that the changes take into account how "time-consuming and resource-oriented" these processes are.

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.
Cohen & Gresser has been recognized in The Legal 500’s 2018 Europe, Middle East, and Africa guide for its work in France in five separate practice areas: Compliance, Employment, Stock Market Litigation, Tax, and IT, Telecoms and the Internet.  Our Paris team is lauded for an "excellent level of service" and for offering "a very good and rare combination of high legal expertise and accurate business understanding."
Cohen & Gresser announces the expansion of its White Collar Defense & Regulation team in Paris. Partner Muriel Goldberg-Darmon and Guillaume Guérin will advise listed companies and their managers, investment funds, insurance companies, and financial institutions on a wide range of regulatory and compliance issues, investigations, and corporate transactions.

Cohen & Gresser is pleased to announce the opening of its fourth office in Washington, D.C. The Washington office will be led by partner Melissa H Maxman, and will handle a range of commercial litigation and regulatory enforcement matters, with a focus on U.S. antitrust issues, criminal and civil litigation, and compliance and regulatory disputes in the federal agencies.

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Cohen & Gresser is pleased to announce the expansion of the firm's litigation and arbitration and white collar defense practice groups with the addition of partner Stephen Sinaiko to our New York office.

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.

In this C&G client alert, John W Gibson and Charlotte Ritchie outline the new UK Insolvency Practice Directions that are in place as a result of the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020.
This C&G client alert examines the potential implications of The United States Supreme Court’s decision in Liu v. SEC to uphold the Securities and Exchange Commission’s statutory authority to seek disgorgement for violations of the securities laws.
Jonathan S Abernethy and Christian R Everdell discuss the Supreme Court’s unanimous reversal of the high-profile “Bridgegate” public corruption convictions, as well as consider the significant implications the ruling carries for future public corruption cases.

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, 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.

In a recent article for Forbes, Muriel Goldberg-Darmon discusses the benefits of an entity’s or individual’s cooperation during an enforcement procedure before the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF, the French financial market regulator).

This C&G Client Alert examines the proposed Insider Trading Prohibition Act recently unanimously approved by the Financial Services Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. If the bill becomes law, it would simplify an inherently complex legal area, but might also lead to regulators and prosecutors bringing more insider trading cases.

Jonathan S Abernethy, S Gale Dick, and Christian R Everdell authored an article examining the Department of Justice's (DOJ) new policy discouraging DOJ attorneys from "piling on" multiple penalties against companies for the same misconduct.

This article first appeared on the website of the Criminal Law Committee of the Legal Practice Division of the International Bar Association, and is reproduced by kind permission of the International Bar Association, London, UK. © International Bar Association.

In his latest article for the NY Business Law Journal, C Evan Stewart explores the attorney work product doctrine as it relates to investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission and other government agencies.

This article appeared in NY Business Law Journal, Summer 2018, Vol. 22, No. 1, published by the New York State Bar Association, One Elk Street, Albany, New York 12207.

Christian R Everdell analyzes the potential implications of the regulation of cryptocurrency as a result of Ryan Coffey v. Ripple Labs, Inc. in his latest article for Law360

Mark S Cohen explores the international regulatory landscape with respect to Israeli businesses in an article for the Israel Desks Guide published by Nishlis Legal Marketing.

Christian R Everdell continues his examination of SEC enforcement actions regarding initial coin offerings in an article published by the New York Law Journal, this time analyzing the SEC’s response to RECoin, PlexCoin, and Munchee.

Even start-ups are being disrupted! In this article, C&G counsel Christian Everdell examines the SEC’s role in regulating Initial Coin Offerings.

This article addresses one aspect of the United States’ multi-faceted campaign to recover income taxes and penalties on undisclosed offshore accounts – the U.S. Department of Justice’sinvestigation and criminal prosecution of foreign banks that are alleged to have opened and maintained accounts for U.S. taxpayers.  The Department of Justice has argued that by enabling U.S taxpayers to open and maintain accounts that the taxpayers did not report to the Internal Revenue Service, the banks participated in efforts to defraud the United States of taxes owed on the accounts.  The authors examine in particular the impact of the Department of Justice’s Program for Swiss Banks, a voluntary disclosure program negotiated with the Swiss government in which about 100 Swiss banks registered to participate, the extraordinary information being collected, and assess other countries that may become the next focus of investigation.    

This article outlines some considerations to keep in mind in identifying jurors who may be more or less receptive to common trial themes in health care industry cases.  Topics include juror attitudes toward industry and the medical profession, views of government and its role in health care, and more general personality traits and methodologies that may influence jurors’ analysis of key recurring issues.
Christian R Everdell spoke about cryptocurrencies, blockchain, ICO enforcement actions, and government-backed and private stablecoins as a guest lecturer at Harvard Law School's Computer Crime Law class.
Jonathan S Abernethy spoke on a panel about defending individuals in corporate internal investigations and related prosecutions at this year’s IBA Annual Conference in Seoul.

Partner Muriel Goldberg-Darmon spoke to visiting Law and International Management students about the annual controls and investigations carried out by the Autorité des marchés finaciers (AMF). This was the first session of HEC Paris DMI’s Law Project titled “Market Abuse.”

Partner Chris Everdell spoke about cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and ICO enforcement actions as a guest lecturer at the Computer Crime Law class at Harvard Law School.

Muriel Goldberg-Darmon a participé à la Table Ronde sur “Quelle coopération entre les mis en cause et l’AMF ?” organisée par la Commission des sanctions de l’AMF le 3 octobre 2018. La table ronde était modérée par : Jean Gaeremynck, président de section au Conseil d’Etat, membre de la Commission des sanctions de l’AMF. Les intervenants étaients : Jean-Luc Blachon, premier vice-procureur, Parquet national financier, Sophie Bresny, chef du service des investigations de l’Autorité de la concurrence Andrew Cotterell, Head of Law, Policy & International, FCA (Financial Conduct Authority), Muriel Goldberg-Darmon Associée du cabinet  Cohen & Gresser,  Benoît de Juvigny, secrétaire général de l’AMF.

(Partner Muriel Goldberg-Darmon spoke at the AMF Enforcement Committee’s annual symposium on October 3, 2018, as the only speaker from a private law firm.  Muriel was a panelist for the second round table on “Cooperation between the respondents and the AMF during investigations or inspections and sanctions,” which was moderated by Jean Gaeremynck, State Councilor and member of the AMF Enforcement Committee.  Muriel’s fellow panelists were: Jean-Luc Blachon, First Vice-Prosecutor at the Parquet National Financier; Sophie Bresny, Head of the Inspections Unit at the Autorité de la concurrence; Andrew Cotterell, Head of Law, Policy & International at the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority); and Benoît de Juvigny, Secretary General of the AMF).

Christian Everdell participated on the "Focus on CryptoCurrency: How to Identify Transactions that are Using Digital Currency to Avoid U.S. Sanctions" panel at the ACI's 11th Flagship Conference on Economic Sanctions: Enforcement & Compliance. The panel discussed how new payment methods are challenging the existing banking system for risk and compliance, how non-US companies use digital currency to avoid US sanctions rules, and how financial institutions can protect themselves.

Jon participated in a panel at the IBA’s 20th Annual Transnational Crime Conference in Lisbon, Portugal.  The panel, entitled “The Right to Silence When Everyone Else Is Talking,” examined the right against self-incrimination from the perspective of several countries in a world of increased cross-border information sharing between investigators, regulators, and prosecuting authorities.

Experiential legal learning platform AltaClaro has partnered with international law firm Cohen & Gresser, LLP to host a live online panel to discuss current trends in anti-money laundering enforcement. The panel is complimentary for in-house counsel, white-collar and regulatory attorneys, and compliance professionals.

A conference organized in partnership by Sorbonne University and C&G in relation to the French anti-corruption law, Loi Sapin II
Discussion topics include: 
  • Genesis of the law
  • Apprehending the risks in a company
  • Deployment of compliance programs within a company
  • Protection of whistleblowers
  • The new mechanism of transaction (differed prosecution agreement)
  • The monitoring process
  • Final remarks by the vice president of the Assemblée Nationale.

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