Partner

John Binns

John is a partner specialising in all aspects of business crime, with a particular interest in confiscation, civil recovery and money laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”).

His business crime experience includes representing suspects, defendants and witnesses in cases invoking allegations of bribery and corruption, fraud (including carbon credits, carousel/MTIC, land-banking, Ponzi and pyramid scheme frauds), insider trading, market abuse, price-fixing, sanctions-busting, and tax evasion. He has coordinated and undertaken corporate investigations and defended in cases brought by BEIS, the FCA, HMRC, NCA, OFT, SFO and others.

He has particular expertise in the myriad legal provisions on anti-money laundering (“AML”) requirements in the regulated sector under the Money Laundering Regulations (“MLR”), civil recovery and confiscation of the proceeds of crime, and criminal offences of money laundering under POCA, as well as related areas such as financial sanctions. He advises businesses (inside and outside the regulated sector) on AML policies and procedures generally, as well as particular risks that may arise under the MLR, POCA, and sanctions laws, including advice on the submission of Suspicious Activity Reports and consent requests. He regularly represents individuals and businesses in connection with confiscation, property freezing and restraint orders, including in relation to applications to defend, discharge or vary such orders.

Much of John’s work is international in nature. He has represented individuals in challenges to the European Court of Justice against their inclusion on targeted sanctions lists arising from the Arab Spring, and advised on numerous Interpol Red Notices and extradition requests, with a particular expertise in challenging allegations made by overseas authorities on the basis of political motivation. His business crime and proceeds of crime cases often involve mutual assistance and/or parallel investigations in other jurisdictions.

John is also adept at bringing and defending civil procedures and proceedings, where they arise from allegations of crime or other procedures affecting his clients. His experience includes proceedings for contempt of court, pre-action disclosure and judicial review in the High Court and the Court of Appeal, as well as HMRC civil investigations and condemnation proceedings, defending petitions to the Companies Court to strike off companies in the public interest, and the disciplinary procedures of regulatory bodies such as the ACCA and the Bar Standards Board. He can also advise on and, in appropriate cases, coordinate legal action in the civil courts against financial institutions in connection with blocked accounts.

He also has considerable experience as an author and editor and has given interviews on legal topics for national press and on radio.

John studied LLB Law at King’s College London and MPhil Criminology at the University of Cambridge. He trained and qualified at a general crime firm and then spent three years as a legal and policy adviser at the Legal Services Commission, before joining a leading criminal/regulatory defence firm of solicitors. He joined BCL in 2010 and has been a partner there since 2017.

Publications:

  • Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Review: England and Wales chapter (co-author)
  • Money Laundering Law and Regulation: A Practical Guide (Oxford University Press) (contributor)
  • The Practitioner’s Guide to Global Investigations (Global Investigations Review) on the UK’s AML/money laundering regime
  • Director of Finance Online on the Company Directors Disqualification Act
  • New Law Journal on carousel fraud and disclosure
  • Police Station Adviser’s Index (contributor)
  • LexisNexis webinars on confiscation, money laundering, and proceeds of crime (presenter)

Professional Memberships:

  • Anti-Money Laundering Professionals Forum
  • Association of Regulatory & Disciplinary Lawyers
  • Fraud Lawyers Association
  • Proceeds of Crime Lawyers Association (committee member)
  • Sanctions Practitioners Group
  • Tax Investigations Practitioners Group
  • The Law Society

What the directories have said:

“John knows the law inside out and sees the bigger picture. He works on high-end, complicated, multinational matters.”

Chambers UK, 2022

“His client-handling skills are incredible.”

Chambers UK, 2022

“a very cerebral approach” and is “absolutely first rate”

The Legal 500, 2021

“superbly analytical, right down in the detail, and a very nice guy to work with”

The Legal 500, 2021

“absolutely fantastic… brilliant at advising clients… very calm and measured”

The Legal 500, 2021

“a very strong POCA solicitor, who has a lot of experience [and] gives excellent, high-end advice for crime matters.”

The Legal 500, 2021

“John Binns is very calm, responsive and reassuring; I would highly recommend him for this kind of work. He did everything I asked and more, so I have no complaints. John is fantastic. He is a good lateral thinker in terms of assessing the long-term aspects of the case.”

Chambers Insights, 2022

“John knows the POCA space very well and he is able to offer good insight from both an academic and tactical point of view. He knows the law and sees the bigger picture on complicated matters.”

Chambers Insights, 2022

“He understands POCA backwards and is hugely practical. He is creative in his approach to find the best solution for his clients.”

Chambers UK, 2021

“He knows his way around an HMRC criminal investigation and appreciates the differences of HMRC’s approach to other law enforcement agencies.” “He has sound judgement and he’s both technical and easy to get on with.”

Chambers UK, 2021

“… detail-focused, approachable and tenacious,”

Chambers UK, 2020

“… particularly good at difficult international POCA work.”

Chambers UK, 2020

“… wise insight can often change the way you think about a case”

The Legal 500, 2020

Articles by John Binns

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