Aaron Watkins

Aaron Watkins

Called to the Bar - 2006

He's unflappable and his written work is just excellent. He's equally as brilliant when it comes to technical arguments." "He's a fearless advocate in court and a real fighter.”

Extremely bright, a very good draftsman, and adept at thinking outside the box.”
Chambers & Partners

Aaron is a highly regarded advocate in financial crime and regulation. He is ranked as a leading junior in the areas of fraud, business and regulatory crime (including global investigations) and extradition and international crime. He is a “rising star” described as a “clever, resourceful and hardworking barrister, who has an excellent manner with clients” and is “a very good team player.” Aaron is recognised equally as a lawyer who is “technically very strong and able to handle difficult cases and difficult clients” and as “an impressive advocate who can persuade the most difficult tribunal”.

Aaron acts for individuals and companies in domestic and international matters concerning allegations of fraud, corruption, money laundering and related conduct. He is experienced in working successfully with clients from the very earliest stages of investigation and advice through to trial and appeal. He has an impressive advisory practice and is a skilled advocate in both jury and non-jury settings. Aaron’s practice frequently involves cross-border criminal issues including multi-jurisdictional investigations, sanctions and Interpol notices. He has experience of criminal cases involving diverse jurisdictions, in particular the USA, Russia, Ukraine, France, Monaco, the Middle East and a number of Caribbean countries. 

The multi-jurisdictional aspect of Aaron’s work is complemented by his recognised expertise in the areas of extradition and mutual legal assistance. Aaron is consistently ranked as a leading junior in these fields. He is most often instructed in matters which involve complex allegations of financial misconduct or in novel and demanding cases in which different areas of law overlap.

Outside the field of financial crime Aaron is a Special Advocate appointed by the Attorney General and has ‘DV’ level security clearance which enables him to undertake national security work. Aaron also has niche practices representing individuals challenging search warrants, production orders and other investigative measures. He also represents individuals before specialist tribunals such as the Investigatory Powers Tribunal and SIAC.

Aaron’s current and recent cases include:

Domestic

  • Advising a leading construction company under investigation in connection with ‘cash for contracts’ allegations;
  • Advising an international law firm in relation to privilege issues in the context of an investigation by an overseas criminal investigator;
  • Acting for an individual in the SFO’s longrunning GlaxoSmithKline investigation;
  • Revocation of an arrest warrant obtained by the SFO for a Chief Executive of a multinational mining company;
  • Staying a highvalue conspiracy to defraud prosecution as an abuse of process;
  • Obtaining the withdrawal of a summons in relation to a conspiracy to defraud private prosecution;
  • Advising a multinational oil and gas corporation as an interested party in confiscation proceedings;
  • Advising a multinational tobacco corporation concerning potential money laundering exposure;
  • Acting for a trust to discharge the registration of an overseas restraint order under ‘Protocol 36’ regulations;
  • Acting for an Appellant in respect of a highprofile and long-running extra-territorial bribery and corruption prosecution.

International

  • Acting for a defendant in the Credit Suisse ‘Tuna Bond scandal’;
  • Acting for a potential defendant in connection with a request for assistance by overseas investigators regarding alleged theft of intellectual property the subject of overlapping Chancery proceedings in the UK;
  • Acting in a conspiracy to defraud case regarding the violation of USIran sanctions;
  • Acting for the Indian government in the highly publicised India v Mallya fraud and money laundering litigation;
  • Acting for the first defendant in Sweden’s largest pension fraud;
  • Acting for the US government in the wellknown ‘Flash Crash’ market abuse ‘spoofing’ case.