Kabir Sondhi

Introduction

Kabir has built a strong practice prosecuting and defending across a full range of criminal offences, with a specialism in “white collar” and financial crime work.

As well as being an experienced trial advocate (both alone and as a led junior), Kabir is instructed to advise individuals, corporates, and prosecutorial bodies in relation to investigations into white collar offences such as complex fraud, money laundering, and bribery & corruption. He also undertakes work in relation to asset seizure and recovery, including Restraint Order and Confiscation Order proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Kabir is on the SFO Prosecution Advocates B Panel, the CPS General Crime Panel (Grade 3), the CPS Specialist Fraud Panel (Grade 3), and the CPS Serious Crime Panel (Grade 2). He is qualified to accept instructions directly from clients through the Bar Council’s Public Access Scheme and is also licensed to conduct litigation.

Background and expertise

General Crime

Kabir prosecutes and defends in a diverse range of criminal matters, including those involving serious, complicated, or sensitive issues. Highlights include:

  • Defending in cases of murder involving gangs, cutthroat defences, and “county lines” drug dealing.
  • Prosecuting terror suspects in cases involving consideration of PII and other potentially sensitive material.
  • Prosecuting protest cases involving novel law and detailed submissions on a defendant’s rights under Articles 10 and 11 ECHR.
  • Advising defendants on issues surrounding entrapment in drugs and child sex cases.
  • Prosecuting and defending in cases involving vulnerable witnesses and defendants, including trials for sexual offences.
  • Prosecuting and defending in cases of armed robbery, including sprees of offending with large volumes of ANPR and telephone evidence.
  • Defending in cases involving high-value handling stolen goods and money laundering offences.

White Collar / Financial Crime

In relation to white collar and financial crime, Kabir has significant experience in the investigation, prosecution and defence of complex and paper-heavy cases, including the provision of advice during the investigation and pre-charge stages. Highlights include:

  • Acting as junior counsel for the SFO in a large-scale and multi-jurisdictional investigation / prosecution of a major British company for bribery & corruption and associated offences.
  • Prosecuting in a multi-handed case involving a series of frauds and associated money laundering committed by an organised crime group.
  • Defending in multi-handed cases involving complex frauds, cheating the revenue, fraudulent trading and associated money laundering, prosecuted variously by the CPS, Trading Standards, and HMRC.
  • Advising suspects at the pre-charge stage in relation to investigations for fraud and other offences, including in respect of Restraint Orders, Production Orders, and RIPA notices.
  • Defending in high-value Confiscation Order proceedings involving nuanced issues relating to calculation of benefit and the realisation of assets.
  • Multiple years’ experience working with SFO case teams (as evidence review counsel and disclosure counsel) on large-scale investigations into complex, multi-jurisdictional fraud and bribery & corruption offences.

Civil

In addition to criminal work, Kabir has experience in discrete areas of civil law and judicial review, including applications for injunctions before the High Court and actions for breach of privacy / misuse of confidential information.

Other

Kabir was the prosecution pupil in the case of R v. Dobson and Norris (the murder of Stephen Lawrence) and, as a 3rd six, was part of the defence team in R v. Adebowale and Adebolajo (the murder of Lee Rigby). Prior to practice, he worked as a paralegal on the first Victoria Station murder trial and as intern to Lord Justice Fulford at the International Criminal Court (ICC), during which he assisted in the preparation of the final judgment in the case of Prosecutor v. Lubanga (the first ever completed trial at the ICC).

Notable cases

Financial / White Collar Crime

SFO v. X (ongoing)

Junior counsel (led by two QCs) instructed by the Serious Fraud Office in the investigation / prosecution of bribery and corruption offences committed by a major British engineering company operating in the oil and gas industry. The offences are alleged to have taken place over more than two decades across multiple foreign jurisdictions, with the value of contracts and benefits obtained as a result of the corruption running into hundreds of millions of pounds.

R v. PM and Others (2021)

Led junior prosecuting a seven-handed case involving conspiracies to commit fraud on bookmakers (valued around £1.6m) and associated conspiracies to launder the proceeds, carried out by an organised crime group. (Wood Green Crown Court)

VLA01 (2019 to present)

Evidence review counsel on the SFO case team investigating offences of fraud, and associated money laundering committed by the directors of a UK based investments company operating in the UK and Central America.

R v. SD (2020)

Led junior for the defence in a multi-handed trial for conspiracy to handle stolen goods and various money laundering offences relating to high value watches and other luxury items worth over £2m. Defendant acquitted. (Southwark Crown Court)

PVT01 (2016 to 2020)

Evidence review counsel (and later deputy disclosure officer) for the SFO case team in the investigation / prosecution of the Unaoil and SBM bribery case, in which the companies (and associated individuals) were alleged to have conspired to pay bribes in order to win lucrative contracts in the oil and gas industries in post-war Iraq.

R v. AS (2019)

Junior alone for the defence in a multi-handed trial (prosecuted by QC and junior), involving an industrial scale conspiracy to commit fraud, fraudulent trading, and associated money laundering offences relating to the mis-selling of energy contracts and refunds. The case had 10,000+ pages of evidence and the defendant was acquitted after a successful submission of no case to answer at the close of the prosecution’s case after 11 weeks of evidence. (Nottingham Crown Court)

R v. JA (2018)

Led junior for the defence in one of a series of trials for conspiracy to commit fraud relating to a large-scale, complex and organised “cash for crash” insurance scam. The conspiracy was alleged to have involved 19 defendants and been worth several million pounds over several years. The trial involved 18,000+ pages of served evidence, multiple cutthroat defences, and the cross-examination of several professional prosecution witnesses (including solicitors and doctors) implicating them in the conspiracy. One of only 2 of the 19 defendants to be found not guilty. (St Albans Crown Court)

R v. MD (2016)

Led junior for the defence in a trial for cheating the revenue and associated money laundering offences relating to a multi-handed £5m Gift Aid fraud, prosecuted by HMRC. The case involved 24,000+ pages of evidence, much of which emanated from foreign jurisdictions. The case was complicated by the fact that the defendant was advancing a cutthroat defence against her own father and brother, who were co-defendants. The only defendant to be acquitted of all charges at trial. (Southwark Crown Court)

Confiscation & Restraint

Re: JM (ongoing)

Instructed to advise / represent a suspect in Restraint Order proceedings as part of an HMRC investigation into fraudulent evasion of VAT, fraud, and money laundering offences, relating to claims for VAT repayments of approximately £3m. Restrained items include high value race cars. (Westminster Magistrates Court)

R v. IS (2016 to 2019)

Represented the manager of a car sales business charged (alongside the company) with offences of fraud and breaches of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, in relation to alleged “clocking” of imported cars. The alleged fraud was said to have been worth £127,000. Negotiated a plea agreement to a lesser offence of failure of professional diligence and successfully argued against the imposition of a Confiscation Order after a protracted period of litigation. (Snaresbrook Crown Court)

R v. AG-R (2015 to 2018)

Represented a former treasurer of the East India Club at sentence and in subsequent protracted confiscation (and enforcement) proceedings, after he had pleaded guilty to the theft of more than £500,000 from his employers. The case had several difficult features, including arguments over the valuation and realisation of a pension fund for the purposes of making a confiscation order. (Southwark Crown Court and Westminster Magistrates Court)

Homicide / Serious Violence

R v. DD (2018)

Led junior for the defence in a trial for armed robbery. The defendant was charged with the attempted armed robbery of the co-defendant, who was himself charged on the indictment with the murder of the defendant’s friend during the same incident. Significant issues arose with regard to severance, hearsay and bad character evidence. (St Albans Crown Court)

R v. RCM (2018)

Junior led by QC for a defendant in a multi-handed joint enterprise murder and GBH trial involving rival groups of drug dealers running “county lines”, in which complicated issues of bad character arose surrounding gang culture and “drill” music. (Reading Crown Court)

R v. JZ (2017)

Junior led by QC representing the first defendant in a multi-handed joint enterprise murder involving cutthroat defences by all defendants. The case included the cross-examination of vulnerable witnesses / co-defendants who had allegedly been the subject of “cuckooing” by drug dealers. (St Albans Crown Court)

R v. MA (2014)

Assisted QC and junior counsel representing the second defendant throughout the trial for the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich. (Central Criminal Court)

R v. BW (2012)

Prosecution junior in a trial for murder. The defendant was eventually convicted of manslaughter after punching the victim to the floor outside a kebab shop, causing major brain injuries. (Inner London Crown Court)

Protest Cases / Special Casework

Operation Bonica (2015/16)

Instructed by the CPS Special Case Unit to prosecute a series of single and multi-handed trials for offences arising out of the “Occupy Parliament” protests in London. Several of the cases involved detailed legal arguments regarding the defendants’ rights to protest, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly under the ECHR. One of the trials involved the first litigated criminal case under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011. (Westminster Magistrates Court and Woolwich Crown Court)

R v. YA (2015)

Instructed by the CPS Special Case Unit to prosecute the defendant – a known terror suspect – for offences relating to a road traffic collision. The case involved working closely with officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Counter-Terror Unit and overseeing a sensitive disclosure exercise including surveillance material. During the course of the trial the defendant was arrested for terror-related offences, of which he was later convicted at the Old Bailey. (Highbury Corner Magistrates Court)

R v. AS (2014)

Instructed by the CPS Special Case Unit to prosecute a terror suspect (later acquitted of terrorism offences at the Old Bailey) for offences relating to an anti-Islam protest by right-wing group Britain First and subsequent retaliation by people associated with a high-profile Islamist extremist preacher. (Westminster Magistrates Court)

Sexual Offences

R v. BG (2019)

Represented a defendant (a convicted rapist subject to section 38 / 41 hospital orders) at a trial for breaches of a highly restrictive Sexual Harm Prevention Order. The defendant suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and was a diagnosed psychopath. The complainant was herself vulnerable due to mental health problems. Both required intermediaries. (Woolwich Crown Court)

R v. PM (2017)

Represented a defendant at plea and sentence for arranging the rape of a child under 13 years old with an undercover police officer. (Kingston Crown Court)

R v. JW (2015)

Defended a youth at trial in the Crown Court charged with inciting an 11 year old girl to engage in sexual activity / pornography. The defendant, by the age of 16, already had previous convictions for rape and sexual assault of other children aged under 13. A plea deal was agreed and the defendant was eventually sentenced to a YRO. (Oxford Crown Court)

R v. NH (2012)

Prosecution junior in a severed trial (part of Operation Chalice) for child sex offences arising out of the Telford child sexual exploitation scandal. (Wolverhampton Crown Court)

Civil

EJF v. MC (2013)

Application to the High Court for an injunction on behalf of a claimant bringing an action for breach of privacy, misuse of confidential information, and civil harassment by way of publications over the internet from a foreign jurisdiction. (High Court)

Other Activities and Interests

Kabir is a keen (if not particularly accomplished) guitar player, singer, and general music fan. His musical tastes range from opera to punk and he is a massive fan of The Smiths.

Publications

  • Co-author of Cyber Crime, Law and Practice, Wildy, Simmonds & Hill 2014
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PROFILE: Kabir Sondhi

Year called

2010

Specialisms

Crime

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Confiscation / POCA

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Cybercrime

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Financial Crime

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Fraud, Bribery & Corruption

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Serious Crime

International

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Financial Crime

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Fraud, Bribery & Corruption

Road Traffic

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Road traffic

Direct access

Yes (licensed to litigate)

Contact

020 7489 2727

Education

BVC, BPP Holborn, 2010

GDL, City University, 2009

MA Philosophy, Birkbeck College London, 2008

BA (Hons) Philosophy, King’s College London, 2007

Memberships

Secretary to the Gray's Inn Barristers' Committee

Criminal Bar Association

South Eastern Circuit

Young Fraud Lawyers Association

Appointments

CPS Panel (Grade 3)

CPS Fraud Panel (Grade 3)

CPS Serious Crime Panel (Grade 2)

Serious Fraud Office (SFO) prosecution B panel.

Registered pupil supervisor

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