"Simon Ellis 'has an unrivalled knowledge of commercial law and a strong appreciation of litigation tactics'."
(The Legal 500)
Simon has over 20 years experience in dispute resolution, having qualified in 1995 and spent three years as a Senior Lecturer in Law at Manchester Metropolitan University. Since 2003, he has specialised in Financial Regulatory Defence work for clients in some of the largest investigations, civil recovery action and prosecutions brought by financial regulators.
Simon is ranked as a Leading Individual in Chambers & Partners (2024 edition).
Compliance & Regulatory
Simon is experienced in representing directors and individuals throughout the investigation and prosecution process; including search orders, PACE interviews and deferred prosecution agreements. He has instructed in two of the largest cases ever brought by the Serious Fraud Office against Fortune 500 PLCs.
- SFO versus Powerscreen International PLC involving allegations of false accounting totaling £30 million. The case was dismissed on a pre-trial application with a costs award in the defendants’ favour.
- SFO versus SSL International PLC involving allegations of the furnishing of false documents to a value of £40 million. Instructions were given under a Directors and Officers Liability policy written by Chubb. Simon was successful in obtaining orders for dismissal pre trial.
- Conducted a full financial regulatory compliance review for the UK subsidiary of a major European Automotive manufacturer.
- Currently instructed in one of the largest ever HMRC civil actions in respect of alleged duty evasion and failure to register for VAT. The appeal involves £25 million in penalty assessments in the First Tier Tax Tribunal and an all assets worldwide freezing order in the High Court.
- Regularly advises on Anti-Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Prevention of Facilitation of Tax Evasion for both national and international clients in the property, construction, wholesale and retail sectors.
- Advising on the robustness of compliance policies and procedures in major mergers and acquisitions, including on behalf of one of the world’s leading brewery groups.
- Advises multinational companies on import regulations and Border Force procedures relating to international exports to the UK.
- Has conducted the defence of some of the largest civil recovery actions brought by the NCA under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
- Advised a number of major insurers in relation to the scope of Directors & Officers insurance policies and acted for insureds under the policies’ defence protocols.
Simon is highly experienced in all aspects of HMRC investigations from initial enquiries, assessments, reconsiderations and reviews; through to appeals to the first tier and upper tier tax tribunals. He has been particularly successful in persuading HMRC to withdraw a number of high value assessments against Road Hauliers under the Excise Goods (Holding Movement and Duty Point) Regulations 2010.
- Instructed to appeal a £15 million VAT input tax reclaim denied over allegations of fraud in the supply chain to the Court of Appeal.
- Instructed in a circa £5m appeal to the Tax Tribunal on behalf of one of the UK’s leading wholesalers.
- Successfully appealed against HMRC decision to enforce a £200,000 movement guarantee facility against a leading international haulier.
- Conducted the landmark appeal of European Brand Trading Ltd versus HMRC to the Court of Appeal.
- Persuaded HMRC to withdraw alcohol duty assessments of £20 million against one of the world’s largest international hauliers.
- Instructed by one of the North West’s leading property developers in an appeal to the Tax Tribunal and associated judicial review proceedings in respect of a £2.5m liability under the Construction Industry Scheme.
FCA Investigations & Enforcement Action
Simon acts for clients in all areas of FCA supervision. These including preparing full compliance reports preparation and submission; representing clients at FCA interviews, and preparing and drafting applications for Financial Conduct Authority under the regulated mortgage contract provisions on behalf of mortgage lenders.
- Represented the Financial Controller of iSoft PLC in respect of the FSA investigation into an alleged conspiracy to make misleading statements relating to £147 million overstatement of sales. Obtained FCA agreement to defer prosecution on the basis of evidence provision.
- Instructed by the Group Planning Manager of a major IT company in respect of an FCA investigation into internet mis-selling and persuaded the FCA to withdraw the investigation.
- Instructed in respect of an FCA investigation into mortgage brokers in a £3.5 million property development scheme. Persuaded HMRC to accept client’s undertaking.
- Monumental £25m alcohol tax evasion tribunal case decided against HMRC: Court finds HMRC refused to consider evidence from taxpayer and took a ‘‘myopic’’ view of case
- Coronavirus job retention scheme: you may not retain the money
- Money Laundering: a critical change to prosecuting guidance
- Lost Your Lifetime Allowance Protection? You may be able to get it back
- Tax Update: HMRC suffers reversal over Movement Guarantees
To contact Simon or for more information…
“A fantastic result.”(Robert Layton, Company Secretary Kuehne + Nagel)
“Great result…well done.”(Steve Granite, Managing Director, Abbey Logistics Group)
“Thanks for a great job.”(Aaron Crewe, Managing Director, SEO 24/7 Limited)
“He has a real academic brain but is also a tactical thinker.”(Chambers & Partners, 2024)
“Simon is conscientious and diligent.”(Chambers & Partners, 2024)
‘Doing the right thing’ is at the heart of Freeths. Find out more about our excellent client service and the strong set of values that guide the way we work.
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Freeths are a leading national law firm with 13 offices across the UK. If you have a query about our services or just want to find out more, why not give us a call?
Contact: 03301 001 014