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‘Super valuable’: Freshfields hires SFO’s joint-head of bribery in corporate crime boost

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has hired the Serious Fraud Office’s (SFO) joint-head of bribery and corruption Ben Morgan to its corporate crime and global investigations practice.

Morgan was seconded to the SFO from Norton Rose Fulbright in 2012. A year later he was promoted to his co-head position reporting to SFO director David Green QC. During his time at the criminal law agency, Morgan has led investigations into Rolls-Royce, Airbus and GlaxoSmithKline.

He is the fifth partner in London with particular experience and expertise in corporate crime matters acting for corporates and financial institutions. Freshfields said it is committed to expanding its capability in this space to match client demand.

Freshfields global head of dispute resolution David Scott told Legal Business: ‘Our practice is to defend and look after the interests of our corporate clients and you need to offer the best possible package of advice. We’ve got very good experience of acting for corporates in those scenarios but it’s been such a rapidly changing scene.

‘To have someone from the opposite side of the fence at the main criminal law agency in the UK is super valuable experience that we can add to our own. The fact that Ben was a private practice lawyer at a quality firm means that he will fit into our practice very well and very easily.’

Freshfields advised Tesco as it agreed to pay the SFO £129m in fines relating to a 2014 profit misstatement, avoiding prosecution after a two-year investigation. That year it was revealed the Magic Circle firm had fronted up a team disputes partners Andrew Austin, Ian Taylor and Ali Sallaway providing counsel. The retailer also enlisted Kingsley Napley, which advised with a team led by Stephen Parkinson, head of criminal litigation.

The firm’s litigation team is also gearing up for potential damages claims against Europe’s biggest truck makers after they admitted to operating a 14 year price cartel. Truck makers Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Paccar, Inveco and Volkswagen’s MAN were all fined after admitting to the cartel back in June 2016. Volvo-owned Renault has enlisted Freshfields’ head of global antitrust litigation Jon Lawrence and partner Bea Tormey to co-ordinate defences for claims in several EU jurisdictions.