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Disputes round-up: Simmons wins Petrofac mandate as White & Case makes key regulatory hire

Simmons & Simmons has landed a major Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation mandate at the expense of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Simmons’ crime, fraud and investigations head Stephen Gentle and partner Nick Benwell have been enlisted to defend oil and gas company Petrofac in the SFO probe, taking on the mandate from Freshfields.

The Magic Circle firm had been appointed to advise Petrofac after the SFO confirmed in May 2017 it was investigating the company due to ‘suspected bribery, corruption and money laundering.’ The probe formed part of a wider investigation into Unaoil, which is accused of the same offences.

In addition to Freshfields, Petrofac called on Ashurst’s veteran dispute partner Edward Sparrow in August 2017 to advise as a ‘senior external specialist’.

Freshfields declined to comment. Simmons was approached for comment.

Meanwhile, White & Case’s London lateral hiring spree has continued with the appointment of financial regulatory partner Jonathan Rogers.

Rogers joins from Taylor Wessing, where he had been a partner since 2008. At his time of leaving, Rogers was head of Taylor Wessing’s financial services regulatory group in London.

Carrying 20 years’ experience advising financial institutions on a full range of Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) investigations, Rogers has a particular focus on asset management, private banks, the payments industry as well as investment and lending platforms.

Eric Leicht, head of White & Case’s global banking practice, commented: ‘Banks continue to demand expert advice on regulatory regimes around the globe. Jonathan is well positioned to step in and assist our large, sophisticated financial institution clients on the most complex regulatory issues they face.’

Rogers’ arrival marks the second major lateral hire White & Case has made this month, following the recruitment of Weil Gotshal & Mages’ well-regarded banking head, Mark Donald.

Other recent laterals at White & Case include high-profile infrastructure partner Simon Caridia from Herbert Smith Freehills in October and in the same month, Weil counsel Thomas Falkus as a partner for its capital markets practice.