Asset Tracing

Most of our core work as forensic accountants is performed analysing the financial information held on records made available to us. Frequently, however, information needs to be found and verified, and questions need to be answered which take an investigation or enquiry beyond the scope of the available records. We may see funds going out of an account, but cannot immediately see where they have gone.

Asset tracing is a particularly important element of a successful investigation because it may materially contribute to the body of evidence needed to bring a case to a successful conclusion or to the ability to make a good recovery.

At the same time, the task of identifying and locating assets and finding who has control of them is necessarily a difficult one as hiding assets, covering their trail and disguising ownership are among the purposes into which targets put a great deal of effort.

We have the expertise to trace assets, both physical, monetary and electronic both within the UK jurisdiction, abroad, and off-shore. This is an essential service in joining up the dots for a successful case, and for a proper analysis of all the litigation risks.

This includes: tracing assets from one set of books to another; within books where efforts have been made to hide their existence within or under other assets; from one ownership to another; between jurisdictions; and when converted into something quite different.

Legislation in 2010 tightened the rules governing what you can and cannot do to obtain documents detailing hidden assets. There is additionally now a much greater emphasis on electronic detection and tools to analyse financial information.

Our capabilities include human and intellectual resources, analytical and data tools, investigative and forensic technology, and information and intelligence gathering skills. We have relationships with specialists in a number of key locations representing different skill sets.  We deploy all these resources as required in order to form strategies to get under the skin of financial transactions and records, and to fill in the gaps between knowing what has been lost, where assets have gone, and what those assets have been converted into.

Much of our Asset Tracing and Recovery work is cross border, requiring a thorough understanding of the peculiarities of different jurisdictions and the particular information gathering and data protection rules in each.

We work for lawyers, regulators, corporates and individuals, and are able to address these problem with expertise to trace assets, both physically, monetarily and electronically within the UK jurisdictions, abroad and off-shore.

Our experienced team have provided testimony in written reports and appeared in court as experts and witnesses of fact in large contentious asset recovery engagements.

Case Studies in Asset Tracing

International Ponzi Scheme Asset Retrival

Honeycomb was engaged to investigate and report on a multi jurisdictional Ponzi scheme. In addition to establishing how the scheme worked, the sums involved and how the funds moved, we were tasked with locating cash and other assets and demonstrating the trail which led from the Ponzi to those assets, irrespective whether they were in the hands of perpetrators, or innocent third parties. Over the course of 18 months, we were able to trace and locate 42% of the total value of funds stolen in cash, securities, property and artwork across numerous jurisdictions including Hong Kong, South Africa and Dubai. Our efforts led to successful recovery of assets worth in excess of £20 million.

International Money Laundering Investigation

Honeycomb was engaged to investigate a money laundering scheme largely between Europe and South America. In this case, we benefitted from the assistance of a number of banks who made relevant data available to us meaning that we could deploy data analytical tools to make connections between parties and transactions to great effect. This case had a particularly successful outcome: not only did it achieve a recovery many times in excess of the costs involved, but it led to identifying and locating perpetrators whose identity up to that point was only speculation.

For further reading:

  Information and Intelligence Gathering    Digital forensics    Data Analytics    Expert Witness Work