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.
  • 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 ranked Band 1 by Chambers UK in Financial Crime: Corporates, recognised by Legal500 as a Leading Individual in Regulatory Investigations and Corporate Crime and listed in Who’s Who Legal as a Global Leader in Business Crime Defence - Corporates 2019 and Investigations and as a Global Elite Thought Leader in Investigations.

Jonny is a member of the City of London Law Society Corporate Crime and Corruption Committee.

Jonathan Cotton is “utterly exceptional,” enthuses a commentator, describing him as “ferociously bright” and “really nice to work with.” He has enviable experience representing international corporations facing allegations of bribery and corruption. Chambers UK 2020, Financial Crime: Corporates

‘Jonny Cotton is the lynchpin of the team; an absolute pleasure to work with; sensible, savvy and strong on the detail’. Legal 500 2020, Regulatory Investigations and Corporate Crime

Jonathan Cotton is lauded for his command of fraud and corruption investigations. Clients note that he is "very client-focused, responsive, realistic, strategic, good at cutting through the complex legalese, top of his field and a reassuring presence in a difficult situation." Chambers UK 2019 – Financial Crime

Jonathan Cotton regularly advises on disputes and investigations relating to fraud, and is particularly well versed in the interplay between civil and criminal aspects. An interviewee notes: "He engenders considerable confidence via both his tactical and legal advice in contentious matters, which is always on the button.". Chambers UK 2019 – Fraud

The 'phenomenal' Jonathan Cotton regularly handles financial services-related work as part of his wide-ranging global investigations and disputes practice Legal500 2019 – Financial Services (contentious)