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Quinn makes City white-collar crime play with hire of former SFO prosecutor Amaee

Disputes powerhouse Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has launched a long-anticipated corporate crime practice in London through the hire of Covington & Burling partner and former Serious Fraud Office (SFO) prosecutor Robert Amaee.

Amaee will join later this month as head of Quinn’s white-collar and corporate investigations practice in London to lead its assault on the market. Managing partner John Quinn (pictured) said ‘white-collar crime work has been the biggest growth area for our firm in recent years’ and that the firm’s ‘goal is to be able to offer white-collar and investigations representation in every major venue’.

Amaee leaves Covington & Burling’s London office five years after joining from the UK’s SFO, where he had stints as head of anti-corruption and head of proceeds of crime. He made partner in 2012, just a year after joining the Washington DC-based firm.

A big name hire to carry Quinn’s push into the white-collar crime space, Amaee led civil settlements during his time at the SFO with Johnson & Johnson over bribery allegations in Greece, resulting in a $77m global settlement, and Macmillan Publishers over unlawful conduct in Africa that led to an £11.2m payout.

During his time at the SFO, Amaee also served as head of international assistance, spearheading the fraud fighter’s push for better co-operation with international agencies including the UK Financial Conduct Authority, City of London Police, UK Ministry of Justice, US Department of Justice, US Securities and Exchange Commission and the World Bank. He played a key role for the SFO on the UK Attorney General’s working group tasked with drafting prosecutors’ guidance on the UK Bribery Act, which entered force in 2011.

Richard East, London co-managing partner at Quinn, said: ‘It is no secret that the UK regulators and their counterparts around the globe are becoming increasingly active. Adding Robert will help us better serve clients who have come to the attention of the UK authorities.’