Kirkland & Ellis' City arm has secured a high-profile boost for its European practice after recruiting the Serious Fraud Office's (SFO's) head of bribery and corruption, Satnam Tumani.
Tumani will join Kirkland as a partner in the U.S. giant's white-collar crime practice at the end of the month in what will be regarded as a key hire for the firm.
At the SFO, Tumani was responsible for the operational delivery of cases from acceptance through to investigation and prosecution at the SFO, and acted as one of the lawyers on the controversial abandoned probe into property investor Vincent Tchenguiz.
The news follows a series of senior departures from the SFO to U.S. law firms in London, with many corporate law firms currently moving to bolster their white-collar crime practices in Europe in response to the tougher current stance on corporate wrongdoing.
Last year, former head of the anti-corruption team, Robert Amaee, left for an of counsel position at Covington & Burling, with one-time head of policy Charlie Monteith taking a similar position at White & Case. Other departures to U.S. firms have included Glyn Powell, who left the SFO's fraud business area for Jones Day, and general counsel Vivian Robinson QC's move to McGuireWoods in April last year.
The SFO itself has been hit in recent years by budget cuts, uncertainty about its future and intense criticism of its handling of several cases.
Kirkland London head of dispute resolution Chris Colbridge told Legal Week: "We are thrilled that Satnam is joining the firm. As head of the SFO's bribery and corruption department, Satnam is an outstanding addition to our investigations and white-collar defense practice."
"This complements our global team of former government enforcement officials and prosecutors in our offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia," he added.
Tumani is the first government official to join Kirkland's London practice. In the U.S., the top 10 U.S. law firm counts Chicago-based partner and former Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip, as well as New York partner Michael Garcia, a former states attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Kirkland, one of the U.S.' top disputes shops and well established for advising on actions under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, is looking to establish itself as a major force in global investigations work in Europe.