Contact: 0161 227 7777
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Michael Sophocleous

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Tel: 0161 227 7777

Fax: 0161 227 7788

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Michael is a fraud and money laundering specialist with over 10 years experience as a Criminal Defence Practitioner within the commercial environment of the City of London before relocating his family to the North-West of England.

He has acted in the defence of some of the largest fraud and serious crime cases in recent history including matters prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office, HM Revenue & Customs, The Department for Business Innovation & Skills, The Serious Organised Crime Agency and the Crown Prosecution Service Complex Case Unit.

However, Michael also has extensive experience dealing with large scale conspiracy to supply and money laundering cases and has developed his practice as a specialist in all aspects of The Proceeds of Crime Act from cash seizure/forfeiture in the Magistrates’ Court and confiscation in the Crown Court through to civil recovery in the High Court. Frequently, this work has had the added complexity of being multi-jurisdictional.

He has a national client following and is a member of the North West Fraud Forum, a group of senior practitioners who share knowledge and experience of the field aimed at improving service provision.

Notable Cases

Fraud/Business Crime

R v B – Acting in the Defence of one of the alleged ring leaders in the Fort Patrick duty diversion fraud with an estimated loss to the revenue in excess of £250m. There followed a £3m confiscation hearing under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 which, along with the original conviction, was quashed on Appeal.

R v M – Prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office in the case of a US$16m high yield investment multi-jurisdictional fraud involving the British Virgin Islands, USA and UK. No case to answer.

R v W – An HM Revenue & Customs prosecution concerning an alleged MTIC fraud over a number of years with an estimated loss to the revenue in VAT rebates of £38million. A £9m confiscation hearing followed.

R v C – Prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office, this matter concerned allegations of theft and fraud from an International Bank based in the City of London. After 3 months of a trial listed for 6 months and following cross–examination of the “star” witness a “goodyear” direction was sought which resulted in a non custodial sentence for the Defendant.

R v A – Acting in the Defence of a 4-year prosecution by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. The case concerned allegations that an undischarged bankrupt was acting as a director and shadow director. Following lengthy and detailed defence investigations, a satisfactory conclusion was obtained for the Defendant who received a non custodial sentence.

R v G – Prosecuted by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, this matter concerned allegations that an undischarged bankrupt was acting as a shadow director of a football league club. The case resulted in a non-custodial sentence for the Defendant.

R v R – Acting for the Defendant following a 3-year inquiry into multiple mortgage frauds. Following disclosure of 3rd party material and pressure applied to the CPS by the Defence, the Prosecution offered no evidence against the Defendant one week before trial.

Confiscation / POCA / Civil Recovery/ Civil Litigation

R v P – An 8-year multi-million pound confiscation matter brought under the Drug Trafficking Act at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey) which involved extensive liaison with a Management Receiver and later an Enforcement Receiver. The case concerned protracted complex legal argument regarding postponement of the proceedings.

R v W – Acting in a multi-million pound Confiscation Hearing concerning a claim for “Hidden Assets” of over £1m which was successfully reduced to £75,000 following Defence submissions.

R v N – Acting in a Confiscation Hearing in which the benefit was considerably reduced and the realisable amount settled at less than £50,000.

R v K – Acting in a multi-million pound Confiscation Hearing which was settled at £100,000 following 3 days of negotiation with the Prosecution at Court.

SOCA v R – A £1.6m civil recovery action brought by the Serious Organised Crime Agency involving multi-jurisdictional investigations in Thailand, The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, The Republic of Cyprus and the UK. Currently being appealed.

T v SE Ltd – Acting for the Claimant in a multi-million pound claim in the Chancery Division of the High Court concerning property disputes and business agreements. The case was taken to trial.

Serious Crime

R v S – Acting for the Defendant in a prosecution alleging Conspiracy to Supply Class B and money laundering involving extensive consideration of Covert Recordings and challenges under RIPA resulting in a Basis of Plea acceptable to all parties.

R v B – Acting for the Defendant in a prosecution alleging Conspiracy to Supply Class A involving multiple defendants and the subsequent confiscation proceedings.

R v B – Acting for the Defendant in a 2 month trial concerning Conspiracy to Supply Firearms, Conspiracy to supply Class A, Money Laundering and assault.

R v J –Acting in the defence of a High Risk category A prisoner alleged to have assaulted several prison officers whilst in custody. The case resulted in an acquittal after trial.