Forensic and Technology Services

The first integrated forensic and legal service offering in Australia.

Our forensic and legal teams work together to help you identify, mitigate and manage the ambit of commercial, regulatory and reputation risks in your business. 

The Forensic and Technology Services practice will offer clients the complete package of forensic investigation, forensic accounting, forensic technology and front-end forensic transaction services and will be complementary to the firm's full service legal offering. The new practice is headed by Paul Fontanot who has 20 years' experience working internationally as a forensic accountant in a global accounting firm.

The practice has been established in response to demand from clients, and will enable Clayton Utz to manage fraud, anti-bribery, corruption, cyber risk, supply chain risk, and regulatory investigations, and to build compliance programs at an early stage.

In addition, the group will leverage its expertise in structured and unstructured data analytics to assist clients with a range of big data challenges for improved commercial outcomes.

Forensic Investigation

Clayton Utz provides reactive and proactive services in the area of forensic investigations. Our proactive services include response and crisis management planning, awareness training and AML/CTF assessments. We provide investigation services in HR disciplinary investigations, corruption investigations and regulatory investigations.

Clayton Utz is the first Australian law firm to be accredited with the International IT security Standard ISO 27001 in relation to our IT systems and data management.

Types of services

  • Fact finding investigations
  • Regulatory investigations
  • HR disciplinary investigations
  • Corruption investigations
  • Fraud/corruption policies
  • Awareness training
  • Proactive data analytics
  • ABAC monitoring
  • Response plans
  • Crisis management plans
  • AML/CTF assessments
  • Probity advice

Experience

  • Managed the processing, analysis and review of millions of chats and emails in response to regulatory investigations in to a prominent financial services business by ASIC and the ACCC.
  • Managed the response to notices issued by the ACCC and ASIC for clients across the retail, financial services, manufacturing and resources industries. 
  • Donor funded organisation ‒ investigated a whistle-blower allegation of improper conduct, involving the inflation of certain product and service prices by one expatriate officer of the project.
  • Provided an independent forensic assessment of a hospital’s operations to understand the potential for fraud risk and mismanagement.
  • Forensic investigation at a private health network into conflict of interest allegations.
  • Investigation into an anonymous allegation in relation to certain inappropriate procurement practices.
  • Investigation into alleged irregularity in premium refunds, whereby it was suspected that there was collusion between the various staff members.
  • Performed certain investigative services in relation to alleged misconduct by an employee, whereby it was alleged that they misused departmental assets.
  • Managed a large team in a multibillion dollar restatement of an international company’s AFS. The company had overstated its prior year’s results, which resulted in millions of dollars been paid out to management, fraudulently.
  • Assisted a global mobile operator in extracting and analysis fraudulent activities from electronic media, to successfully prove a fraud and misrepresentations made.
  • Investigated the financial misconduct of a CEO, after discovering the abuse of trust, corporate credit card and running personal expenses through the company, which resulted in his suspension.
  • Investigated superannuation fraud whereby an employee used inside information to arbitrage his super fund. Also assisted with the quantification of the loss for insurance purposes.
  • Conducted an investigative audit into an international provident fund following concerns raised publicly alleging nepotism and mismanagement.
  • Successfully investigated a fraud, had the person of interested arrested, and then assisted the client compile a claim against its Fidelity Insurance, and recovered 98% of the misappropriated funds.
  • Conducted an investigation into illegal transfers of funds from controlled money accounts, whereby purchasers of properties had paid deposits therein.
  • Investigated an employee/vendor fraud ‒ $22 million for a large construction company.
  • Investigated the purpose and nature of additional payments made to local and regional governments to further the economic development of host communities.
  • Investigated a Matched Giving Program to support not-for-profit organisations to ensure compliance with company’s internal policies.
  • Investigated allegations that senior management at mine-site may be involved in theft of materials, money and the misappropriation of assets.
  • Investigated activities relating to areas such as theft of the proceeds of scrap metal sales, ghost employees, improper use of mine-site materials for personal gain, theft of site assets, kickbacks and improper practices concerning the awarding of contracts, false accounting and improper allowance and expense claims.
  • Forensic due diligence investigation into proportionality of shared assets, as well as investigation into the misallocation of expenses and assets. 
  • Independent investigation into allegations made in the media about the sales and claims practices of a general insurer.  Preparation of a report and formulation of recommendations relied upon by the insurer and their legal advisors in interactions with ASIC and APRA.  
  • Investigation into whistleblower allegations including the possible existence of side agreements, undisclosed shareholdings and relationships and exceeding delegations of authority at a listed insurance broker.
  • Investigation of claims and project management of litigation against former HIH Insurance advisors and executive directors.  Major roles included: financial investigation, verification of data and preparation of evidence including review of financial records to determine the correct financial position of the group, review and consideration of the solvency position of the operating group, review of transactions prior to the date of provisional liquidation to identify potential claims of the group, collation of evidence and formulation of questions for the purpose of interviewing witnesses, assisting to draft affidavits, preparation of factual analysis and collation of documents for use in proceedings; identification of experts from a wide variety of disciplines including audit, actuarial, forensic, taxation, insurance and corporate finance, reviewing retainers, supervising the provision of information and critiquing draft reports; assisting legal advisors to prepare for discovery; assisting ASIC to identify evidence required for its own criminal proceedings.
  • Investigation into the collapse of an APRA regulated superannuation fund.  Major roles included tracing the flow of funds from the superannuation entities to the investment options; analysing the risk management framework and its shortcomings; preparation of a detailed chronology of events; analysis of the role played by each board and committee member in the events leading up to the collapse of the company; the design, implementation and management of the evidence management system used in the investigation.
  • Investigation of a fraud conducted by employees of a regional bank, including a review of banking procedures and internal controls.
  • Investigation into allegations of mis-selling of insurance products: data analytic techniques applied to identify a sample population for detailed analysis.  Investigation and analysis of the impact of the alleged conduct on the consumer and the company.
  • Numerous investigations into the financial position of companies to ascertain whether the company should be wound up in insolvency.   Preparation of evidence required to commence proceedings.  Provision of ongoing assistance during proceedings.  
  • Numerous investigations into the conduct of auditors and liquidators and their compliance with legislation and professional standards.  Preparation of evidence required to commence proceedings.  Provision of ongoing assistance during proceedings.  
  • Numerous investigations resulting in the banning or prosecution of individuals for breaches of director’s duties and/or financial services laws. Preparation of evidence required to commence proceedings.  Provision of ongoing assistance during proceedings.
  • Investigation of conduct by employees conspiring to falsify financial statements so as to improve the financial position of the company as well as the provision of misleading information to the auditor to conceal the conduct.  Preparation of a criminal brief.  Investigation resulted in a successful criminal outcome.  
  • Investigation of the alleged making of false statements to the market and other corporate governance failings by a listed company; investigation resulted in the company refreshing its board and entering an Enforceable Undertaking agreeing to improve governance practices.  
  • Two separate investigations undertaken to determine whether persons working for a NSW Government Department may have provided confidential information to the media.  
  • Investigation into allegations that NSW Government employees acted in contravention of policies and procedures by making comments to tender proponents that may have influenced the form of their tender submission.
  • Project management of the internal audit of an AusAid program to report on compliance with Australian Procurement Guidelines.  
  • In-house expert accountant in a case against the former executive directors of a listed company.  Major roles included assisting legal advisors to ascertain the financial position of the company and its subsidiaries; collate, analyse and present the financial data used in the examination and cross examination of witnesses; review and respond to financial analysis prepared by defendants; assisting to formulate cross examination questions and interview witnesses; providing assistance in court during the examination and cross examination of witnesses; and assist in the preparation of written submissions and the review of written submissions.
  • Investigation into concerns that contracts between an airline and a supplier have not been procured in accordance with the airlines policies and procedures and that a conflict of interest may exist. Conducted an analysis of procurement processes to identify control deficiencies and opportunities for control improvements.
  • Investigation of a procurement fraud committed by the former directors of a rail services provider which was claimed to have led to the collapse of the company.  Collation of evidence, preparation of particulars and an affidavit to quantify and explain the fraud to the court for the purpose of seeking compensation orders.
  • Investigation of a payment fraud occurring at a large Australian manufacturing company with operations in Asia.
  • Investigation into a fraud committed by the payroll officer of a listed childcare provider to identify how funds were misappropriated and to calculate the quantum. Analysis of payroll processes to identify control deficiencies and opportunities for control improvements.
  • Investigation into a fraud committed by the payroll officer of an aged care provider to identify how funds were misappropriated and to calculate the quantum.  Analysis of payroll processes to identify control deficiencies and opportunities for control improvements. 

Forensic Accounting

Clayton Utz's forensic accounting service, includes economic loss quantification, transaction dispute management, insurance claims and forensic contract reviews. 

Types of services 

  • Forensic accounting (including shadow expert)
  • Transaction dispute management (M&A, and Sale/Purchase disputes)
  • Economic loss quantification
  • Arbitration / expert accounting determinations
  • Intellectual property disputes
  • Insurance claims (construction claims, professional liability, breach of warranty, buyer/seller warranty, business interruption)
  • Forensic contract reviews 

Experience 

  • Donor funded organisation provided a forensic accounting opinion on whether the fund accountability statement for the donor funded programs presented fairly, in all material respects, revenues received, costs incurred, and commodities and technical assistance directly procured by the organisation. 
  • Overseas audit office acted as the forensic accounting expert in the investigation into irregularities pertaining to the management of funds at a donor funded organisation.
  • Independent forensic accountant appointed to present the allocation of revenue and expenditure, borrowings, cash and reserves of a council and its activities since amalgamation as a precursor to a report on the financial implications of de-amalgamation. 
  • Conducted an analysis of the potential overpayment bus services contracts. 
  • Forensic accounting expert for joint liquidators to report on the information and documentation in relation to the underlying books and records of an entity and its subsidiaries. 
  • Shadow forensic accounting expert in a Sale and Purchase Agreement dispute, in determining the net tangible asset target amount. 
  • Presented an expert report for an enquiry, investigating the causes as to why a large listed retail company was placed into liquidation, and the quantification of the effects. 
  • Assisted various clients in their insurance claims preparation for the hailstorm damage in Melbourne during March 2010, the Queensland floods in 2011, as well as the Christchurch earthquakes in 2011. 
  • Prepared an expert report for arbitration in the United Kingdom. The dispute involved the calculation of escalated costs and damages incurred, as a result of the contractor’s delays. 
  • Forensic accounting expert in determining the accounting treatment of funds paid to a community trust set up for the payment of royalties for the use of mining on native lands. 
  • Forensic accounting expert in a High Court matter involving a counter claim for a repudiation of an oil and gas agreement. 
  • Conducted a forensic contract review to verify and validate payments made to suppliers are proportionate to the work done. 
  • Issued an Independent Auditors determination report in a dispute involving the calculation of a licence payment with reference to an Agreement. 
  • Investigation of claims and project management of litigation against former HIH Insurance advisors and executive directors.  Major roles included: financial investigation, verification of data and preparation of evidence including review of financial records to determine the correct financial position of the group, review and consideration of the solvency position of the operating group, review of transactions prior to the date of provisional liquidation to identify potential claims of the group, collation of evidence and formulation of questions for the purpose of interviewing witnesses, assisting to draft affidavits, preparation of factual analysis and collation of documents for use in proceedings; identification of experts from a wide variety of disciplines including audit, actuarial, forensic, taxation, insurance and corporate finance, reviewing retainers, supervising the provision of information and critiquing draft reports; assisting legal advisors to prepare for discovery; assisting ASIC to identify evidence required for its own criminal proceedings.
  • Investigation into the collapse of an APRA regulated superannuation fund.  Major roles included tracing the flow of funds from the superannuation entities to the investment options; analysing the risk management framework and its shortcomings; preparation of a detailed chronology of events; analysis of the role played by each board and committee member in the events leading up to the collapse of the company; the design, implementation and management of the evidence management system used in the investigation.
  • Investigation using data analytic techniques to trace the movement of funds in respect of allegations that funds held in trust for one syndicate were being used to pay the claims of a different syndicate.
  • Numerous investigations into the financial position of companies to ascertain whether the company should be wound up in insolvency.   Preparation of evidence required to commence proceedings.  Provision of ongoing assistance during proceedings.  
  • Investigation of conduct by employees conspiring to falsify financial statements so as to improve the financial position of the company as well as the provision of misleading information to the auditor to conceal the conduct.  Preparation of a criminal brief.  Investigation resulted in a successful criminal outcome.  
  • In-house expert accountant in a case against the former executive directors of a listed company.  Major roles included assisting legal advisors to ascertain the financial position of the company and its subsidiaries; collate, analyse and present the financial data used in the examination and cross examination of witnesses; review and respond to financial analysis prepared by defendants; assisting to formulate cross examination questions and interview witnesses; providing assistance in court during the examination and cross examination of witnesses; and assist in the preparation of written submissions and the review of written submissions.
  • Manager of an international forensic team on an International Court of Arbitration dispute between a global telecommunications company and an Indonesian telecommunications company.  Work comprised financial claims for the underpayment of income, payment of inappropriate expenditure, alleged false accounting entries, fraud, dishonesty and abuse of market power.
  • Investigation into a fraud involving the manipulation of exchange rates for the purchase of equipment to improve the foreign exchange gain made in order to maximise performance bonuses.  The investigation required the use of data analytics to identify and quantify amount of the fraud reflected in the financial statements of the Australian subsidiary company.    
  • Investigation of a payment fraud occurring at a large Australian manufacturing company with operations in Asia.  
  • Calculation of economic loss in respect of an International Court of Arbitration matter arising from a contractual dispute.
  • Quantification of losses for use in a class action claim for property damage and consequential losses. 

Forensic Technology

Total information management solutions

The Forensic Technology group has a team of highly trained and experienced Managers, Data Analysts, Consultants and skilled Paralegals who can offer a broad range of cost effective, technology-based solutions for complex information management problems.

The Forensic Technology team works with our lawyers and clients to ensure the application of appropriate technology and processes to drive quality outcomes and improved efficiency and works with a variety of outsource providers where it is in our clients best interests to do so.

Types of services

  • E-discovery (processing, hosting, analysis, review)
  • IT Forensics (preservation, collation and imaging)
  • Evidence management
  • Automated evidence review
  • Data mining/analysis
  • Case/matters management
  • Legal process outsourcing
  • CyberCrime breaches

Experience 

Managed the identification, collection, processing and review of millions of documents in various pharmaceutical class actions involving collaboration with international law firms and specialist service providers. 

Assisted with the data management and analytical requirements under an ASIC enforced client remediation scheme involving thousands of clients of a prominent financial services business. 

Conducted a data remediation project to remove personal details from a large volume of unstructured data for a prominent financial services business. 

Performed forensic data analysis on the accounts payable and claims data to assess risk of fraud, identify and/or quantify potential control breakdowns. 

Conducted forensic data analytics for a large listed construction company to detect Payroll and Procurement fraud. 

Led a team in conducting anti-bribery and corruption analytics at one of Australia’s largest mining companies, seeking behavioural trends within the supply chain. 

ASX listed company, regulatory matter:

  • Implemented Technology Assisted Review to facilitate rapid insight into millions of documents.

Government Agency:

  • Project design to implement Relativity for the organisation and migrate existing matters from the outgoing case management database.

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse:

  • Built and managed a team to design, develop and implement the Royal Commission's custom case management application, recording details of allegations provided by the public. 
  • Implemented a data analytics platform to facilitate analysis of information received by the Commission.

Victorian Bushfire Class Actions:

  • Managed a team undertaking a large scale, geographically distributed data collection for various Victorian Government agencies.
  • Set the technology strategy to manage, analyse and process the vast repository of collected material to prepare. 

Investigation using data analytic techniques to trace the movement of funds in respect of allegations that funds held in trust for one syndicate were being used to pay the claims of a different syndicate.  

Investigation into allegations of mis-selling of insurance products: data analytic techniques applied to identify a sample population for detailed analysis.  Investigation and analysis of the impact of the alleged conduct on the consumer and the company.  

Investigation into a fraud involving the manipulation of exchange rates for the purchase of equipment to improve the foreign exchange gain made in order to maximise performance bonuses.  The investigation required the use of data analytics to identify and quantify amount of the fraud reflected in the financial statements of the Australian subsidiary company.   

Front-end Transactions

Clayton Utz's front-end transaction services, provides data rooms, project management and acquisition dispute services to clients.

Types of services

  • Data rooms
  • Project management
  • Anti-bribery/anti-corruption due diligence
  • Pre-acquisition dispute analysis
  • Post-acquisition assistance
  • Post-closing acquisition dispute services

Experience

Managed the review and abstraction of hundreds of contracts and leases required in the Due Diligence of a large property portfolio.

Forensic due diligence investigation as part of a pre-acquisition of a company in PNG.

Forensic Accounting expert in a Due Diligence Investigation, resulting in the mining company acquiring more assets for the same purchase price. 

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