Gibson Dunn continues London recruitment spree with hire of long-serving SFO lawyer

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher has continued its London recruitment push, with the hire of Serious Fraud Office (SFO) prosecutor and case controller Sacha Harber-Kelly.

Harber-Kelly will join the US firm’s City base as a partner after 10 years at the SFO in its anti-corruption and bribery division. He joined in 2007 from City firm TV Edwards, where he was head of financial and professional regulation.

At Gibson Dunn, he will focus on disputes, white-collar crime and international and multi-jurisdictional investigations, compliance and enforcement matters.

Gibson Dunn chairman and managing partner Ken Doran said: “After a successful career as a partner in a white-collar defence firm, Sacha spent the past 10 years handling some of the largest and most complex cases that the SFO has ever brought and is well respected by the UK white-collar bar. Given the rise in prominence of the SFO and the number of cross-border investigations that we routinely handle, Sacha’s experience, insight and technical expertise will be of great value to our clients.”

While at the SFO, Harber-Kelly acted on its £497m deferred prosecution agreement with Rolls-Royce. The settlement, which was completed this January, represents the largest single investigation carried out by the regulator.

His move comes ahead of the end of SFO director David Green QC’s leadership term at the regulator next April, with Green also tipped for a lucrative move to a US law firm. This Saturday (4 November), The Telegraph reported that he has held talks with Gibson Dunn, although the firm declined to comment.

Gibson Dunn has been on a recruitment spree across Europe in recent months, with the hire of  Harber-Kelly representing the firm’s third London lateral in less than a week.

Last week, the firm recruited two senior London partners from US rival Mayer Brown, including global corporate and securities co-head Jeremy Kenley. Kenley, who is also head of private equity real estate at the firm, is moving to Gibson Dunn with London tax head Sandy Bhogal.

Other recent London hires for the US firm include Allen & Overy City arbitration partner Jeffrey Sullivan and Herbert Smith Freehills energy co-head Anna Howell.

Earlier this year, London co-chair Charlie Geffen told Legal Week that the firm was still in growth mode in Europe, highlighting financial regulatory and competition as areas it wants to invest in in London.