Jonathan Cotton

Joined firm 1994. Partner since 2004.

Jonny is Co-Head of our Global Investigations group. For over 25 years he has helped many clients investigate and defend allegations of wrongdoing in civil, criminal and regulatory cases across sectors from telecoms to fast-moving consumer goods to financial services.

On the criminal/regulatory side, Jonny regularly acts on investigations, criminal prosecutions and regulatory cases concerning the Bribery Act, the Proceeds of Crime Act, the Fraud Act, FSMA, export controls and sanctions, as well as Companies Act offences.

On the civil side, Jonny advises on fraud cases involving extractive frauds, accounting frauds, misrepresentations, the ‘theft’ of confidential information by employees and competitors and conspiracy.

Jonny is also often involved in contractual disputes, competition disputes and restructuring/insolvency matters. He also often advises on contentious aspects of corporate transactions, including takeovers.

Highlights include advising:

  • British American Tobacco plc in connection with its defence of the SFO’s investigation of suspicions of corruption in the conduct of business by BAT plc, its subsidiaries and associated persons in a number of jurisdictions including Africa.
  • Diageo on a range of matters relating to Vijay Mallya, including High Court proceedings in relation to historic breaches of various contractual obligations.
  • A former director of Patisserie Holdings Plc, the former holding company of Patisserie Valerie, in connection with claims potentially arising from the very significant accounting fraud in the company which ultimately lead to its insolvency.
  • A very large UK-headquartered listed multinational company in a formal FCA investigation into allegations of breaches of market abuse regulations.
  • A FTSE 100 company in connection with an anti-money laundering issue and investigation.
  • A multinational group in respect of criminal proceedings which arose from the alleged tax delinquency of the group’s Filipino subsidiary.
  • The Universities Superannuation Scheme on an independent investigation into the conduct of a non-executive director on the trustee Board of one of the largest private pension schemes in the UK.
  • Glencore under investigation by the SFO and investigative agencies in the US, Switzerland and Brazil in respect of allegations of corrupt conduct.
  • A FTSE 100 FMCG group under investigation by a regulator in Africa in respect of alleged breaches of competition and consumer protection law.
  • Many listed and privately owned clients on corruption and sanctions problems, including conducting investigations and advising on their self-reporting obligations and potential criminal and civil liability. Jonny has also advised many clients on their approach to anticorruption compliance including the Bribery Act 2010 as well as on issues arising under the Fraud Act, the Proceeds of Crime Act and various sanctions and export control regimes.

Jonny is “extremely bright and litigation-savvy. His judgement is first-rate”. Financial Crime: Corporates, Chambers and Partners 2024. He is ranked Band 1 by Chambers and Partners 2024, Financial Crime: Corporates and is recognised by Legal 500 2024 as a Leading Individual for Regulatory Investigations and Corporate Crime. Jonny is also listed for Investigations in Who’s Who Legal 2023, as well as a Thought Leader for GIR WWL, and a recommended lawyer for Business Crime Defence – Corporates 2023, as well as for individuals 2023.

Jonathan Cotton is “an industry leader” enthuses a commentator, describing Jonny as “unsurpassed in their judgement, skill and knowledge”. Another adds that Jonny “has a brilliant sense of how a case is likely to play out”. Legal 500 2024, Regulatory Investigations and Corporate Crime.

Jonathan regularly advises on disputes and investigations relating to fraud, and is particularly well versed in the interplay between civil and criminal aspects. A source notes Jonny is “terrifically talented” and will “fight the client’s corner to the end”. Legal 500 2024, Fraud: Civil