Matthew Cowie


Matthew Cowie


London | 160 Queen Victoria Street, London, UK EC4V 4QQ
+44 20 7184 7417 | +44 20 7184 7001


Matthew Cowie is a partner in the white collar and securities litigation group in London.  

Mr. Cowie focuses his practice on white collar matters relating to corruption and fraud, internal corporate investigations and government enforcement matters, defending both companies and individual clients.

Noted as having an "excellent knowledge of the regulatory agencies" (Chambers UK), he also advises on compliance best practices for UK and multi-national corporates, particularly regarding anti-corruption and other corporate governance issues.  Mr. Cowie has broad industry sector experience, having worked on internal and government investigations, inter alia, in the pharmaceutical; financial institutions; defense; oil & gas; telecoms and aviation sectors.

Prior to moving to private practice at an international law firm in 2010, Mr. Cowie served as a lead prosecutor at the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO).  During his eleven years at the SFO, he became known as one of the architects of the UK’s early responses to international corruption and he successfully brought a number of landmark cases including:

Mabey & Johnson Ltd (2009), the first corporate conviction for overseas bribery in the UK of a UK company; Johnson & Johnson/DePuy Ltd (2010), the first SFO and DOJ coordinated settlement of charges against the U.S. parent and UK subsidiary for corruption, and the follow on first significant prosecution of a senior corporate executive on corruption charges, both within the medical devices industry; Innospec Ltd (2010), the first truly global coordinated settlement (US$40 million) of significant corruption allegations where the SFO worked alongside the DOJ, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) - a case which is widely viewed as a catalyst for establishing the current UK deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) legislation; and BAE Systems plc (2010), a well-known case resulting in a conviction in the UK and a deferred prosecution agreement in the U.S., totaling US$400 million.  


Current and past publicly known representations included roles in the following enforcement matters:


  • Airbus SE in a global investigation into allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption, and subsequent coordinated settlements with the UK Serious Fraud Office, French Parquet National Financier, U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of State.
  • An international high frequency trading company accused of market manipulation by regulatory agencies, which led to US$140 million worth of associated trading revenues being frozen. 
  • A sector leading global wealth and asset management company in an internal investigation which led to the successful Financial Conduct Authority prosecution of a former senior portfolio manager, for insider dealing. 
  • A global helicopter manufacturer in a regulator facing investigation into allegations of corruption.
  • A U.S. based global news and media organisation in relation to issues in the FCA’s investigation of insider dealing at a European bank.A UK based subsidiary of a multinational extractive sector company in relation to allegations of major corruption in Africa.
  • A European energy company in a high-profile and long running SFO investigation into allegations of corruption in the Middle East.
  • An international accounting firm with respect to its audit obligations as part of their representation of an investment conglomerate that was susceptible to a regulatory investigation following allegations of corruption. 
  • A former senior executive at Alstom who was acquitted after a ten week criminal trial led by the SFO.
  • A witness in the long-running SFO investigation into GlaxoSmithKline.
  • A former senior director of an energy company in a SFO investigation into allegations of bribery in Saudi Arabia.
  • The former CEO of a previously listed AIM oil and gas firm prosecuted by the SFO for fraud under the Fraud Act 2006.
  • A CEO of a leading brokerage house in an investigation and enforcement proceeding by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), New York Attorney General (NYAG) and UK FCA into the alleged misconduct of brokers in the FX options market.
  • University of Sheffield, M.A., 1991
  • University of Warwick, LL.B., with Honors, 1990
  • Barrister, England and Wales
Speaking Engagements
  • Corruptors and Corruptees: the Legal Contours from Criminal Responsibility to Civil Liability - 33 Chancery Lane 2nd Business Crime Conference 2017, London (October 31, 2017)
  • The future of enforcement in the UK: is the SFO now properly equipped to meet the UK's enforcement needs and what should the priorities be for its next Director? - GIR Live London Autumn Conference, London (October 31, 2017)
  • CDR Summer Litigation Symposium 2017 — London (June 29, 2017)
  • Corruption, market-rigging and mis-selling: the dark heart of deals - CDR Autumn Litigation Symposium 2016, London (September 29, 2016)