Brendan Hawthorne is a managing director in the Disputes and Investigations practice. He works alongside governments, multi-national corporations and law enforcement agencies to investigate financial fraud and trace and recover assets. He uses his extensive multi-jurisdictional experience to advise clients on matters in relation to fraud, money laundering, bribery and corruption and market abuse.

Based in London, Brendan has more than 20 years’ experience as a specialist in financial investigations and asset recovery having led investigations into some of the largest frauds and banking collapses worldwide.

Brendan leads investigations of fact to identify reasons for non-performance, suspicions of fraud or false accounting, and to determine the causes of financial irregularities in order to support civil, criminal and regulatory investigations. He uses his significant asset tracing and recovery expertise to assist clients globally.

He has previously been based in South Africa, the UK, the UAE, Australia and Singapore and has gained experience of investigations on the ground in the following jurisdictions amongst others: Afghanistan, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Djibouti, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, UAE, UK and USA.

Prior to joining Duff & Phelps, Brendan was a managing director and head of financial investigations at Stroz Friedberg and prior to that headed up the Middle East practice for Kroll in Dubai. Brendan also spent a number of years heading up the Financial Crime Unit of a global financial services organization where he was responsible for the strategic management, investigation and prosecution of fraud, money laundering, market abuse, bribery and corruption and other malpractice globally. Here he oversaw the development and global roll-out of the group’s financial crime policies and developed matrices to measure financial crime compliance.

Brendan earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree focused in accounting and finance, from the University of Natal in South Africa and has a post graduate degree in Accountancy. He is a Chartered Accountant, registered with the ICAEW in the UK and SAICA in South Africa. He is a Certified Fraud Examiner and has previously been approved as a CF11 (Money Laundering Reporting Officer) by the FSA in the UK.

Representative Engagements

Fraud Investigation and Asset Recovery

  • Led the investigation into the collapse of the (then) largest bank in Afghanistan and subsequent asset tracing and recovery work on behalf of the Afghan Ministry of Finance.
  • Led the investigation into the collapse of two of the largest banks in Bahrain with losses in excess of US$10billion on behalf of the Attorney General of Bahrain.
  • Led an investigation into the near collapse of a large Middle Eastern bank on behalf of the country’s Central Bank to establish the cause of the bank’s difficulties and determine the viability of the bank going forward.
  • Led the investigation into a large scale investment fraud by the director of a large sovereign wealth fund and assisted the client in recovering substantial assets which had been hidden in numerous jurisdictions around the world.
  • Led an investigation into the large scale theft and misuse of customer account and card information from a large Middle Eastern bank involving over 20 jurisdictions and the subsequent tracing and recovery of the stolen funds.
  • Led the investigation into the theft of government funds on behalf of the Ministry of Finance in Australia which resulted in the dismissal of a government employee and subsequent enforcement action.
  • Investigation into the activities of a fund manager at a large UK asset management firm, this involved unraveling the ownership structures of investments made around the globe over a number of years to establish the efficacy and recoverability of the investments.
  • Investigation into improper trading by a senior UK fund manager at a major UK financial institution, including tracing and recovery of the misappropriated assets.
  • Investigation into fraudulent trading in raw material contracts and letters of credit of over £100 million, involving work in Singapore, Malaysia, the US and the UK.
  • Led an investigation into whistleblower allegations surrounding a gang of criminals who had infiltrated an insurance company call center in order to process multiple millions of pounds of fraudulent claims which resulted in the recovery of significant sums and the prosecution of a number of individuals.

Bribery and Corruption

  • Led the investigation into bribery and corruption at a Russian subsidiary of a major European corporate, and drafted and implemented policies on fraud prevention for the Russian business.
  • Led the investigation into bribery and corruption within the Indian, Pakistani and Sri-Lankan operations of a major US multi-national which resulted in the dismissal of 13 staff members.
  • Led an investigation into allegations of bribery and corruption at a Chinese subsidiary of a UK owned and US listed organization which included extensive analysis of trades and investigation of counterparties in China, Africa, the UK and US and resulted in the successful prosecution of a number of parties.
  • Led the investigation into allegations of bribery and corruption in relation to the construction of a port in Africa including substantial analysis of records to assess the legitimacy of contracts entered into.
  • Led a project tasked with designing and implementing anti-bribery and corruption policies for a global financial services organization which included implementing policies in Russia, China and India and carrying out training for staff in these regions.
  • Led an investigation into bribery allegations surrounding senior in-house counsel of a global organization whereby incentives were paid to in-house counsel to secure settlements of multi-million pound cases in a manner disadvantageous to the organization, resulting in the prosecution of the individual in the Middle East and significant recoveries.

Money Laundering & Terrorist Financing

  • Acted as the Money Laundering Reporting Officer for a large global financial services organization, responsible for the design and implementation of anti-money laundering and terrorist financing policies globally.
  • Led an investigation into a global charity accused of supporting terrorism, including substantial document review, business intelligence work and on the ground investigations in Sudan, Pakistan and Kenya.
  • Led an investigation into a bank in the Middle East accused of laundering terrorist funds via a network of informal money transfer agencies.

Product Theft & Counterfeiting

  • Led an investigation into the loss of military equipment in Afghanistan and Pakistan on behalf a major transport company over a number of years which was alleged to have been re-sold to opposition forces.
  • Led an operation to expose the large scale import and distribution of counterfeit products from China, via the Middle East and into Africa which resulted in the arrest of a number of individuals in the Middle East and the destruction of significant quantities of counterfeit products.
  • Led an investigation on behalf of a Middle Eastern organization to assist them to track genuine components with a view to understanding the source of genuine products discovered on the grey market.

Employee Misconduct

  • Headed up the internal investigations team for a large global financial institution responsible for investigating all employee misconduct globally which included responsibility for the institutions global whistleblowing facility.
  • Led an investigation into allegations of harassment amongst senior management at a global organization.
  • Led numerous investigations into allegations of unfair dismissal, bullying, harassment, including racial and sexual harassment.
  • Led numerous investigations into allegations of improper use of IT facilities including allegations of employees viewing illegal pornography and visiting illegal trading sites.

Market Abuse

  • Managed the investigation into a large scale trading fraud at a major Swiss bank, including allegations of insider trading and corruption which resulted in enforcement action against 3 traders and significant recoveries of hidden assets.
  • Led an investigation for the US authorities in relation to suspicions of market abuse by the Finance Director of a UK listed company.
  • Led an investigation into suspicions of market abuse carried out by a US government official.


  • Chartered Accountant (ACA), Institute of Chartered Accounts of England And Wales (ICAEW)
  • Certified Fraud Examiner, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners
  • Chartered Accountant (CA SA), South African Institute of Chartered Accountants


  • Post Graduate Diploma in Accountancy (PG Dip Acc), University of Natal, 1990
  • Bachelor of Commerce (B Comm), 1989


  • Financial Service Authority (UK)
  • Approved Person (CF11 – Financial Crime), 2004-2009
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