Richard Swallow

Joined firm 1991. Partner since 2000.

Richard is Head of our Disputes and Investigations Group. Areas of particular expertise include corporate crime and sanctions investigations, group/class action litigation (competition, mass tort and securities claims), and banking litigation and investigations.

With over 25 years of experience of a wide range of complex and substantial disputes and investigations, Richard has represented clients in high-value, multi-jurisdictional, proceedings and significant global regulatory and criminal investigations. Richard spent three years working in our Hong Kong office advising on a range of commercial disputes throughout the South East Asia region. He is admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales and as a Solicitor of the High Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Highlights include advising:

  • Credit Suisse in its defence to claims brought in the English High Court by the Republic of Mozambique arising out of the US$2bn financing of state tuna fishery and maritime security projects in the Republic of Mozambique between 2013 and 2016. In addition, Credit Suisse is counterclaiming in relation to defaulted loans. Parallel criminal and regulatory investigations are ongoing by the Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, Financial Conduct Authority and Mozambican authorities.
  • Rolls-Royce plc in relation to investigations by the SFO, the DoJ, and Brazilian authorities (MPF and CGU) into bribery in overseas markets. In 2017 the criminal investigations were resolved by way of DPAs (in the UK and US and a Leniency Agreement in Brazil). Richard continues to advise on subsequent investigations by the Central Bureau of Investigation in India and the Indian Enforcement Directorate.
  • Malcolm Brinded, the former Executive Director and Board Member of Royal Dutch Shell, in relation to criminal investigations into allegations of bribery by the Milan Public Prosecutor and other criminal authorities, and subsequently defending him in an 18 month criminal trial in the Milan Court of Justice under Italian law. Mr Brinded (and Shell, Eni, and other individuals) have been charged with bribery offences in connection with the OPL245 oil deal in Nigeria. The Federal Government of Nigeria has also joined into the trial as a civil claimant seeking damages of approx. US$1bn. The trial has been described in the press as the largest ever bribery trial. 
  • BHP Group PLC and other entities in relation to claims arising out of the collapse of the Fundão Dam in Brazil. The case involves over 200,000 claimants advancing claims under Brazilian law, represented by US class action firm SPG Law. The claim has been described in the press as forming one of the largest lawsuits in English legal history. 
  • Shell plc and its Board of Directors on a threatened derivative action brought by ClientEarth, a minority shareholder, based on allegations of breaches of directors’ duties in respect of the Board’s management of Shell’s climate change related risks and response.
  • British Airways in one of the largest and most complex series of group litigation claims before the English courts arising out of the European Commission, DoJ and multiple other agencies’ investigations into the air cargo cartel. 
  • British American Tobacco plc on the SFO’s investigation of suspicions of corruption in the conduct of business by BAT plc, its subsidiaries and associated persons.
  • MAN SE in relation to multi-billion pound damages group and class actions in the Competition Appeal Tribunal and the High Court following the European Commission’s truck cartel investigation.
  • FTSE 100 multinational business regarding a threatened claim under s.90 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 by current and former investors. The allegations relate to disclosures to the market in respect of its historical ethics and compliance practices.
  • John Wood Group on an investigation by the SFO into alleged bribery at certain AMEC Foster Wheeler companies it acquired in 2017 and strategic advice on parallel international investigations by the US, Brazilian and Scottish authorities. We successfully negotiated a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the SFO announced in July 2021.
  • JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A. in relation to multi-jurisdictional regulatory and criminal investigations, and parallel multi-billion dollar litigation in the UK (and US) arising from the DoJ, FCA, European Commission’s and multiple other agencies’ investigations into the foreign exchange market.
  • Standard Chartered Bank in long running Iran sanctions investigations by UK and US authorities (FCA, DoJ, Manhattan District Attorney, New York Department of Financial Services, US Federal Reserve and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)), culminating in a global resolution of the investigations in April 2019.

Richard Swallow is an “industry leader”, an “outstanding strategist” and is “unsurpassed in their judgment, skill and knowledge”. Legal 500 2024, Regulatory Investigations and Corporate Crime. Richard is “pre-eminent with good reason – he is simply the best”. Legal 500 2024, Banking Litigation: investment and retail. He is “properly street smart and will fight the client’s corner to the end”. Legal 500, 2024, Fraud (civil). 

He routinely acts for major corporations in financial crime matters. He has significant expertise acting in SFO investigations into allegations of bribery and corruption and is described as having “an uncanny ability to simplify the complex” and is “robust in the most complex negotiations”. Another source asserts that "in any negotiation, you’d want Richard on your side". Chambers and Partners 2024, Financial Crime Corporates

Richard is recognised as a Hall of Fame individual for Regulatory Investigations and Corporate Crime and Competition Litigation, Legal 500 2024 and is also ranked for Financial Crime: Corporates, Chambers and Partners 2024.

He is also listed as a recommend lawyer in Who’s Who Legal for Business Crime Defence – Corporates 2023, Competition 2023 and Investigations 2023. Richard is also listed in the WWL: Thought Leaders GIR 2023 guide.