Corporate + Regulatory Investigations

Gilbert + Tobin’s cross-practice Corporate and Regulatory Investigations group includes partners and specialist lawyers with deep and diverse expertise.

Investigations and enforcement action can have an enormous impact on a business – on its reputation, its current and potential future commercial relationships and (if listed) its share price – not to mention the toll on management and the time spent dealing with those actions.

We draw on the skills and expertise of our team across a range of practice areas, including specialists from our litigation, competition, regulatory, corporate and tax groups; and work closely with internal legal, risk and compliance teams to address our clients’ key areas of concern. Our collaborative and multidisciplinary approach is designed to help our clients achieve their objectives quickly and efficiently.

Our offering

  • Broad strategic approach assessing risk, regulator and government relations, jointly with our client –which is not limited to only the legal response
  • Depth of experience in regulatory obligations and processes, complex regulatory investigations, litigation and tax reviews and audits defence
  • Experience in conducting internal investigations to support defences and mitigation opportunities
  • Focus on responding to investigations and improving systems, processes, training and monitoring for the future
  • Seamless project management support, transparent reporting, and data analytical expertise

Areas of expertise

  • Financial Services
  • Anti-Bribery and Corruption
  • Competition / Anti-Trust
  • Consumer Law
  • Federal and State Taxation
  • Commissions and Inquiries

Highlighted experience 

Financial Services

  • Acting for Westpac in relation to the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.
  • Advising a major Australian trading bank in investigations by ASIC and the ACCC, and their corresponding agencies in New Zealand, into allegations in relation to the global foreign exchange market.
  • Responding to inquiries for various clients in connection with a financial services investigation, by a number of international and domestic supervisory regulators, concerning conduct in relation to interest rate benchmarks in financial markets.
  • Representing companies and individuals in investigations by AUSTRAC into alleged non-compliance with anti-money laundering/terrorism financing laws.
  • Acting for financial advisory firms in regulatory investigations and private actions in relation to allegations of negligent or inappropriate financial advice, including non-compliance with relevant statutory requirements.
  • Representing a major Australian trading bank in investigations into suspected mortgage fraud and compliance with responsible lending laws.
  • Acting for financial institutions in legal claims relating to highly complex structured financial products.
  • Advising financial institutions on compliance with whistleblower legislation.
  • Representing a range of clients, in investigations by regulatory agencies into insider trading, market manipulation and other improper conduct in securities markets in Australia.

Anti-Bribery and Corruption

  • Advising companies on the application of Australian anti-bribery and corruption laws (including the Criminal Code) and foreign laws (such as the UK Bribery Act, the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) to their domestic and global operations (particularly in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe).
  • Advising and acting for clients in relation to federal civil and criminal investigations and prosecutions arising from alleged breaches of Australian anti-bribery and corruption laws.
  • Advising clients on regulatory and enforcement risks arising from compliance with Australian anti-bribery, corruption, and child labour and sanctions laws in the context of proposed capital raisings / M&A activity, including advising on due diligence inquiries.
  • Advising on the adequacy of corporate governance frameworks and policies in relation to anti-bribery and corruption laws, including developing and conducting code of conduct, anti-bribery and corruption training and whistleblower programmes for top 100 Australian companies.

Competition / Anti-Trust

  • Acting for a respondent in proceedings brought by the ACCC alleging cartel conduct and other contraventions of the Competition and Consumer Act
  • Advising a Japanese shipping company in relation to criminal prosecution of alleged cartel conduct.
  • Advised on matters including proceedings commenced by the ACCC in respect of alleged price fixing of cargo related surcharges in the air cargo industry; alleged petrol price information sharing arrangements; alleged cartel in relation to the supply of ball and roller bearings; and alleged misuse of market power in the market for concrete grade fly ash. 
  • Conducting applications for immunity under the ACCC and New Zealand Commerce Commission (NZCC) cartel immunity policies, and advising leading Australian companies in relation to the mandatory information gathering and search and seizure powers of the ACCC.
  • Providing guidance to company directors and employees facing compulsory examination and employing efficient processes to facilitate the production of very large volumes of documents to regulators, and implementing compliance programs for companies compelled by enforceable undertaking. 

Consumer Law

  • Successfully representing and defending Google in Federal Court proceedings commenced by the ACCC alleging that it had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct over sponsored links appearing on Google’s search result pages.
  • Representing Virgin Australia in ‘drip pricing’ proceedings commenced against it by the ACCC in the Federal Court of Australia.
  • Managing Coles’ response to an ACCC investigation into milk campaigns and advising Coles on its compliance with the ACL.

Federal and State Taxation

  • Acting for the taxpayer in the stamp duty case, Chief Commissioner of State Revenue (NSW) v. Dick Smith Electronics Holdings Pty Ltd.
  • Defending certain high profile individuals against criminal prosecution for tax fraud.
  • Successfully disputing assessments on the acquisition of industrial and retail sites subject to significant pollution in Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
  • Advising on a general anti-avoidance challenge by the ATO in relation to a tax-free disposal of a significant part of the business acquired by a private equity firm, including both technical arguments and substantiating a number of “counterfactual” scenarios.
  • Advising on a significant ATO audit of a mining company in relation to a restructure and disposal of numerous companies for accounting profits enabling the payment of franked dividends. 

Commissions and Inquiries

  • Acting for Westpac in relation to the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.
  • Our team performed the role of Solicitors Assisting the Royal Commission into child protection in the Northern Territory.
  • Acting for the Catholic Church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
  • Acted for a high-profile director at the HIH Royal Commission.
  • Acted for a valuations firm in the Special Commission of Inquiry into James Hardie Holdings.
  • Acting for various individuals and corporations in examination proceedings and regulatory investigations brought by regulators such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
  • One of our partners also assisted the Commission in Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission.