Narita Bahra

Narita Bahra

‘She has excellent strategic oversight, particularly in multi-handed cases.’

Legal 500 2016
Year of call: 1997
For enquiries please call: 020 7353 5324 or email vcard cv linkedin save

Business Crime & Financial Services

Narita has extensive experience in complex fraud and money laundering cases. Noted for handling fraud cases with an international dimension, particularly in South East Asia. Narita excels at distilling and explaining complex factual matrices to both clients and juries in a concise and clear manner.

Her areas of expertise include:

  • Anti-competitive conduct (cartels, market abuse, insider dealing)
  • Civil/commercial fraud
  • Fraudulent trading
  • Mortgage fraud
  • Money laundering
  • Revenue fraud
  • VAT/MTIC fraud

Narita is recognised as having vast and practical knowledge of the increasing prosecutions involving the Hawala banking system (an alternative unregulated remittance system running in parallel with the established regulated banking system). It is legal in some jurisdictions but illegal in others.

This is coupled with an excellent knowledge of ancillary proceedings, such as criminal confiscation, asset forfeiture and restraint law.

Narita is increasingly instructed in quasi-criminal and regulatory proceedings. She represents professionals such as accountants, financial advisors and solicitors, as well as senior executives, facing charges relating to dishonesty or corruption in business practices.

Cases

R v G 

Narita secures an acquittal for client charged with Money Laundering in excess £500 000. Unusually, Narita was instructed three years post charge and after four previous defence teams. Deploying an understanding of Islamic Banking (Sharia compliant finance) and instructing a Forensic Accountant successfully enabled the jury to understand and identify gaps in the complex prosecution case.

Sharia prohibits acceptance of specific interest or fees for loans of money, whether the payment is fixed or floating. Sharia compliant UK financial institutions, which have been growing faster than banking assets as a whole, played a significant role in the trial.

R v Shah

Defended in an eight handed Conspiracy to commit visa fraud. The case involved eight defendants charged with a multi million pound fraud emanating from hiding assets via money loops to misuse the visa application system. The case involved cross-examining forensic accountants. Narita successfully prevented the Crown from seeking to add additional counts at the outset of the Trial and successfully defended the Crown’s application to Voluntary Bill these additional charges in the High Court. This case involved a series of public interest immunity applications.

R v Champaneri

Narita as leading counsel defended the first defendant in a nineteen handed conspiracy to commit fraud at Southwark Crown Court. The case related to abusing protection offered by Banks and Credit Card companies. The Crown alleged that Narita’s client was the orchestrator and puppeteer of the conspiracy. Narita was instructed imminently prior to the commencement of the trial. The case involved mastering in excess of 26 000 pages of evidence and anticipating the cut -throat defences run on behalf of many co-defendants. Narita was required to undertake careful consideration of the strength of the evidence and tactical decisions regarding the approach to be adopted regarding presentation of the case. Cross-examination of forensic accountants and expert witnesses was undertaken.

R v Shah & Mehrpoor

Narita was instructed as junior Counsel to Martin Hicks QC in what was described by the Serious Organised Crime Agency as, “The largest importation of heroin into the United Kingdom from the Indian subcontinent, Pakistan and Afghanistan”. The client was described as “an international drug smuggler of the highest order”. The street value of the drugs was in excess of £103.2 million and money-laundering allegations against the client were valued at £12 million. A Hawala defence was advanced at trial which set out that their client’s financial affairs represented legitimate financial transactions executed in the form of Hawala banking. Narita worked very closely with the expert witnesses who conceded they were dealing with novel issues of banking and law in this case.

R v Sakha

This ten defendant case involved a conspiracy to defraud the Oxfordshire Police and Pervert the Course of Justice. The Prosecution unusually offered no evidence against Narita’s client at the conclusion of her evidence in chief and prior to cross- examination commencing. The trial continued for all other co-defendants. This unusual outcome was according to the trial judge “as a result of Miss Bahra’s dogged and skillful approach to disclosure”.

R v Poole

Defended the finance director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra of a fraud in excess of 2.3 million pounds and dealt with all ancillary confiscation matters.

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