Colum is a Managing Director based in Hong Kong and leads the Investigation and Disputes Practice in Greater China. Colum has extensive experience assisting clients on local and multijurisdictional issues in areas such as asset tracing and recovery; family, partnership, shareholder, and other business disputes; money laundering; and fraud and corruption investigations.
He also has considerable expertise in both financial and business management, and in-depth knowledge of financial reporting, auditing, due diligence and business valuations, and has worked on numerous IPO and M&A transactions. In addition, Colum has significant experience helping companies with anti-fraud, anti-money-laundering investigations, mitigating the risk of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and UK Bribery Act violations; the development of effective internal controls and the implementation of risk management, organizational and operational improvements.
Having lived in Asia for more than 19 years, he has a strong understanding of the Greater China market, and has advised clients across a multitude of industries including construction and manufacturing; automobile, aviation, shipping and logistics; property development; technology; financial and professional services; hospitality and leisure; wholesale and retail; and education and non-profit organizations.
Fraud / Corruption Investigations:
- Conducted a wide-ranging investigation into suspected fraudulent activities within certain China subsidiaries of a US multinational, which identified fictitious and advance revenue recognition practices, those responsible, and quantified the significant losses incurred. The investigation scope also considered possible exposure to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act non-compliance, and included detailed recommendations for internal control improvements.
- Led a multi-jurisdictional investigation on behalf of a multinational who suspected malpractice on the part of the ex-General Manager of one of its Eastern European offices. Using a combination of interviews, financial and computer forensic analysis, and business intelligence, the investigation reviewed the group’s exposure to the FCPA and other regulatory non-compliance, and quantified the financial losses incurred.
- Led an investigation into fraud and misappropriation of client assets at a Hong Kong securities brokerage firm, which involved extensive coordination with the Commercial Crime Bureau and the Securities and Futures Commission, and resulted in a successful prosecution by the Department of Justice (DoJ).
- Appointed by the Audit Committee of a PRC-based, US-listed company to carry out a forensic investigation into alleged financial and corporate governance irregularities, together with an FCPA compliance review.
- Conducted numerous fraud investigations in China, involving conflict of interest issues, information and asset misappropriation, and accounting irregularities.
DoJ and Other Regulatory Engagements:
- Appointed by the Court as joint administrator to trace and secure the assets of a Hong Kong-based hedge fund after its directors had absconded.
- Commissioned by a US District Attorney’s Office to investigate and report on specific regulatory matters.
- Prepared a report for the DoJ in relation to a money laundering prosecution.
- Prepared an Expert report in a prosecution for insider trading.
- Appointed by the DoJ as Expert in two civil cases to establish the quantum of losses incurred due to breaches on government contracts.
- Retained in relation to numerous business and family disputes, often arising due to the alleged breach of fiduciary duty or other malfeasance, to ascertain the facts, quantify the financial impact, and provide written and oral evidence, as required.
- Provided litigation support in relation to Hong Kong arbitration proceedings brought by a US company attempting to rescind, due to the alleged fraudulent misrepresentation of the sellers, a contract under which it had acquired a PRC logistics group.
- Prepared an Expert report for a Chinese state-owned enterprise in relation to court proceedings in Singapore.
- Appointed by various Hong Kong banks to review the operational and financial performance of PRC manufacturing companies, making viability assessments and recommendations for improving profitability and cash flow in order to optimize recovery of distressed assets.
- Engaged by a Hong Kong-listed property developer to report on, and provide recommendations in relation to, the methodology for calculating management fee charges.
- Carried out a detailed review of the accounting, internal control, and reporting procedures of a leading law firm, and prepared a report setting out findings and recommendations.
Prior to joining Kroll, Colum was a partner in the Hong Kong office of an international accounting firm, and for six years managed a group of companies engaged in purchasing, manufacturing, and interior contracting in Greater China. Thereafter, he developed and led the 20-strong forensic accounting practice of an independent professional services firm, and was retained on a wide range of matters to investigate, analyse, summarize, and present complex financial and business issues.
Education, Certifications and Recognitions:
- Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales
- Fellow of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants
- Practicing member of the Academy of Experts (UK)
- Member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners(USA)
- University of Leeds, BA (1, Hons) Econ.