Ian Thompson
Office:
200 Aldersgate
Aldersgate Street
EC1A 4HD
City:
London
Country:
England
Tel:
+44 20 3727 1495

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Investigations

Ian Thompson is a senior managing director at FTI Consulting and is based in London. He has worked full time on forensic engagements for 15 years and is generally instructed amid allegations of financial irregularity and/or circumstances of financial distress. He has given oral evidence on five occasions: three in the High Court in London and two in the Commercial Court in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). He has been cross-examined by top-ranked QCs.

DESCRIBE YOUR CAREER TO DATE.

I trained as an auditor at a medium-sized practice in London, where I was given a great deal of responsibility for a wide range of clients. Having hands-on experience of manufacturers, financial services companies, media companies and others proved to be a fantastic platform for the rest of my career. I joined a forensic accounting firm after I qualified. That firm was bought by FTI Consulting in 2008, and I have worked on forensic investigations ever since. The engagements I have worked on include Madoff, a high-profile divorce, and a number of regulatory investigations. I also spent three years setting up and running FTI Consulting’s office in the BVI, which led to a focus on Russia and the CIS (given the widespread use of BVI holding companies in those jurisdictions). I was fortunate to give oral evidence early in my career, which has led to numerous expert instructions, and to giving evidence on multiple occasions.

WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO SPECIALISE IN FORENSIC AND LITIGATION CONSULTING?

To be honest, I fell into it. The audit firm where I worked at the time sent me on a secondment to a forensic firm in order to balance staffing needs, and I immediately took to forensic work. I loved the challenge of devising bespoke solutions to complex problems and finding ways to articulate them. I also enjoyed interviewing people. My natural curiosity and inclination towards lateral thought proved better suited to forensic work than audit.

WHICH JURISDICTIONS ARE CURRENTLY BUSIEST IN YOUR PRACTICE? WHY DO YOU THINK THIS IS?

As mentioned, I have a focus on Russia and the CIS, since there are a large number of hard-fought disputes over valuable assets in those jurisdictions, and allegations of fraud are rife. However, I also work on matters relating to Western Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and sometimes as far afield as Asia-Pacific.

YOU HAVE A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF EXPERTISE CONCERNING ASSETS HELD WITHIN OFFSHORE STRUCTURES FROM YOUR TIME WORKING IN THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS. HOW HAS THIS SHAPED YOUR PRACTICE?

The disputed ownership of assets is often an important aspect of the matters I work on. Hence, having a detailed understanding of how offshore structures work is invaluable. A great deal of time can be wasted pursuing dead ends unless you can identify the most fruitful avenues of enquiry, and the right information to focus on.

IN YOUR EXPERIENCE, WHAT ARE THE GREATEST CHALLENGES ASSOCIATED WITH PROVIDING EXPERT WITNESS TESTIMONY WHEN THERE IS A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE DISPUTING PARTIES?

The most common scenario in my work is that business associates or family members have fallen out. In each instance, emotions tend to run high and, although large sums of money tend to be at stake, wounded pride is often the bigger issue. Hence, there is often the risk that the expert is drawn into issues that are not supported by facts. He or she must resist this, and remain robust but balanced at all times.

WHAT ARE THE KEY ATTRIBUTES AND SKILLS THAT MAKE FOR A SUCCESSFUL FORENSIC EXPERT?

A successful forensic expert needs to be comfortable with both numbers and words, and possess a resilience of character. You need to employ a meticulous, rigorous approach to the analysis of data, which tends to be voluminous and complex. You also need to be able to explain what you have done and what you have found in a clear, concise manner that non-accountants can understand. Further, you need to be able to stand up in court and support your work in a firm but fair manner.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNGER EXPERTS WHO HOPE ONE DAY TO BE IN YOUR POSITION?

Firstly, enjoy your work. Forensic work is fun, and always has a human story behind it. If you enjoy what you do, you are more likely to do a good job. Secondly, and related to the first point, the quality of your work is everything. If your work does not stand up to the fiercest of scrutiny, ultimately you will not succeed.

LOOKING BACK OVER YOUR CAREER, WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST MEMORABLE MATTER YOU HAVE WORKED ON?

One of the challenges of forensic work is that, more often than not, I cannot talk about it. Of those matters I can talk about (and only to a point), is a job I did several years ago for the BVI and Bermudian governments. I assisted them with a complex, multi-jurisdictional investigation in relation to allegations of money laundering and corruption. I investigated the activities of numerous entities, including the source and application of their funds. The subject matter was fascinating, and the sheer volume of information presented enormous challenges. Ultimately, the entities were put into liquidation, and just over US$45 million was confiscated. This was one of the largest confiscations of the time. 

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Consulting Experts: Experts - Investigations - Forensic Accountants

Ian Thompson is a senior managing director in the London office of FTI Consulting. Ian has worked on forensic engagements for 15 years, and is generally instructed amidst allegations of financial irregularity and/or circumstances of financial distress.

Ian has given oral evidence on five occasions: three in the High Court in London and two in the Commercial Court in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). He has been cross-examined by top-ranked QCs.

Ian was recently instructed as expert on a case involving allegations of fraud in relation to a number of construction projects. He was described by the judge as both providing “invaluable assistance” and as an expert “in which the Court can have confidence." The judge also wrote “Mr Thompson, in particular, provided a detailed analysis of the relevant money flows in certain appendices which…were relied upon extensively by both sides at trial.”

Ian was instructed as expert on a case involving complex cash-tracing in respect of over 50 bank accounts, in order to establish how funds had been applied. He was described by the judge as having given “extraordinarily careful attention to the matter”. Both the judge and opposing counsel essentially accepted a key part of his evidence.

Ian assisted the BVI and Bermudian governments with a complex, multi-jurisdictional investigation in relation to allegations of money laundering and corruption. He investigated the activities of numerous Bermudian entities, including the source and application of their funds. This led to their liquidation and the confiscation of just over US$45 million.

Ian was seconded to the former Department of Trade and Industry in the UK, where he undertook numerous company investigations. Twelve companies were wound up in the public interest and two directors disqualified. In relation to one such case, Ian was described by the judge as “in all respects a careful, reliable and truthful witness.”

Ian is an FCA and an associate member of the Academy of Experts.

WWL says: Ian Thompson stands out as “a sound, personable expert with excellent judgement”. He has a strong fraud practice and is regularly engaged in high-value financial investigations.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Consulting Experts which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Consulting Experts: Experts - Investigations - Asset Recovery Experts

Ian Thompson is a senior managing director in the London office of FTI Consulting. Ian has worked on forensic engagements for 15 years, and is generally instructed amidst allegations of financial irregularity and/or circumstances of financial distress.

Ian has given oral evidence on five occasions: three in the High Court in London and two in the Commercial Court in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). He has been cross-examined by top-ranked QCs.

Ian was recently instructed as expert on a case involving allegations of fraud in relation to a number of construction projects. He was described by the judge as both providing “invaluable assistance” and as an expert “in which the Court can have confidence." The judge also wrote “Mr Thompson, in particular, provided a detailed analysis of the relevant money flows in certain appendices which…were relied upon extensively by both sides at trial.”

Ian was instructed as expert on a case involving complex cash-tracing in respect of over 50 bank accounts, in order to establish how funds had been applied. He was described by the judge as having given “extraordinarily careful attention to the matter.” Both the judge and opposing counsel essentially accepted a key part of his evidence.

Ian assisted the BVI and Bermudian governments with a complex, multi-jurisdictional investigation in relation to allegations of money laundering and corruption. He investigated the activities of numerous Bermudian entities, including the source and application of their funds. This led to their liquidation and the confiscation of just over US$45 million.

Ian was seconded to the former Department of Trade and Industry in the UK, where he undertook numerous company investigations. Twelve companies were wound up in the public interest and two directors disqualified. In relation to one such case, Ian was described by the judge as “in all respects a careful, reliable and truthful witness.”

Ian is an FCA and an associate member of the Academy of Experts.

WWL says: Ian Thompson enjoys “an excellent reputation” in the market as “a massively efficient expert” who “is not fazed by cross-examination when appearing as an expert witness”.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Consulting Experts which can be purchased from our Shop.

Other Practice Areas:

Follow us on LinkedIn

Practice Areas

Firms

Browse Firms

Search Firms

The Who's Who Legal 100

Awards

News & Features

Special Reports

Events

Shop

About Us

It is not possible to buy entry into any Who's Who Legal publication

Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

Copyright © 2018 Law Business Research Ltd. All rights reserved. | http://www.lbresearch.com

87 Lancaster Road, London, W11 1QQ, UK | Tel: +44 20 7908 1180 / Fax: +44 207 229 6910

http://www.whoswholegal.com | editorial@whoswholegal.com

Law Business Research Ltd

87 Lancaster Road, London
W11 1QQ, UK