Clifford Knuckey

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Clifford Graeme Knuckey (born 1954, Aldershot) is former detective inspector who ran the Metropolitan Police's Money Laundering Unit in 2001-2003.[1] He went on to a career as a private investigator / consultant, including a period with RISC Management, where he was embroiled in several corruption scandals.

He is described as 'a leading expert in threat assessment, risk management systems and controls, particularly in the financial services sector',[2] and as an internationally recognised expert on money laundering investigative techniques and asset recovery, consulting on behalf of corporations, financial institutions and the media.[1]


Police career

Little is known about Knuckey's police career. He makes an appearance in 1990, when as a detective inspector, he was involved in the investigation of the murder of Dennis Francis, shot in a pub in Thornton Heath.[3] In 1991 he is working in Southwark, where with Det. Supt. Micky Banks, he is investigating the gangland murder of David Brindle in Walworth.[4]

2001 he formed the Metropolitan Police's Money Laundering Unit, also known as the Money Laundering Investigation Team.[5] He headed the unit with the rank of Detective Inspector[2] until he left the police in 2003.[6] His work at the unit was described as 'conducting numerous proactive investigations into career criminals and those professionals who invariably facilitated laundering the formers 'proceeds of crime'.[2] The unit consisted of 30 detectives and recovered on average £80 million a year of the proceeds of crime.[1]

Other anti-money laundering related activities conducted by Knuckey when with the police included:[1]

  • Working with the UK Home Office to draft and implement Parts 7 (Money Laundering) and 8 (Investigative Powers) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
  • Member, UK Police Working Group on the Government's response to EU Anti-Money Laundering Directives.
  • Developinga national course to train UK law enforcement officer in the investigation of money-laundering. He carried out similar training internationally.
  • Presenting at the 2001 PEPS and ISA Managers Associations annual conference, where he stated that the Financial Services Agency was not equiped to deal with firms that did not blow the whistle on money laundering, and the regulator lacked sufficient experienced staff to prepare for prosecutions.[7][8]

It appears that part of his work related to money laundering on behalf of terrorist groups.[9] He retired from police service in November 2003, following 30 years of service, 'primarily investigating international organised crime'.[1]

RISC Management

On 6 December 2003,[10] Knuckey is appointed a Managing Director and Operations Director of RISC Global, were he remains until 2005. Formed on 31 October 2003 as part of the RISC Management group of companies, the firm had a focus on anti-money-laundering investigations. The company was formally absorbed into RISC Management at the start of 2006.[11]

In December 2005 Knuckey succeeded Anthony Brightwell as managing director of RISC Management. His role was to oversee operational matters, dealing with the requests of the clients brought in by the company's CEO Keith Hunter, and allocating them to other staff members, as well as evaluating whether sources brought in by Hunter were useful or not. He was also responsible for paying confidential sources, normally in cash or by money transfer.[12]

During his time with RISC he is quoted as an anti-money laundering expert in a number of newspapers articles,[13] and appears as a speaker at conferences.[14]

He left in 2009 after a quarrel over a client invoice.[6]

Alexander Litvinenko

One of Knuckey's responsibilities included dealing with Alexander Litvinenko, who was an intelligence source on Russian affairs for the company.[15]

In 2004 Knuckey undertook an investigation into an attempted extortion of Boris Berezovsky, a key RISC client, by two Chechens. As part of this extortion, they attempted to contact Berezovsky through Alexander Litvinenko. When this failed, the London houses of Litvinenko and Akhmed Zakayev were set on fire.[12][16] A copy of this report was given to DC Matt Coombs of Special Branch 'with a view to a copy of it being handed over to the security service'.[16]

James Ibori affair

This was a long standing case with multi-faceted allegations of corruption. James Ibori, was the governor of a Nigerian province accused of fraud and money-laundering. His solicitors hired RISC Management to support his ultimately unsuccessful defence. In 2007 RISC Management were raided by the police with Knuckey, Hunter and others being accused of bribing police officers in the money-laundering unit for information on the case. One of those arrested was DC John MacDonald, a member of Knuckey's former unit, SCD6, and who had been trained by him.[6]

In 2012 charges of conspiracy to corrupt a police officer, perverting the course of justice and money-laundering were dropped against the accused. Though in an unexpected turn of events, Knuckey was charged with five accounts of theft. The police believed that Knuckey had provided 'false, misleading or deceptive invoices' to bill Ibori's lawyers for alleged payments to his confidential sources within the police.[17][18] In January 2016 charges were dropped against Knuckey, and his co-defendent, Bhadresh Gohil (a former lawyer and business associate of Ibori) following claims that the Crown Prosecution Service had suppressed evidence pointing at police corruption.[19]

Post 2009 career

Following his departure from RISC Knuckey set up his own private investigation agency, CGK Services Ltd, where he was a director from June 2009 to May 2012. The company is now in control of his ex-partner Jacqueline Hobbs.[20]

Knuckey was also hired by London property developers Nicholas and Christian Candy to investigate a client who they were in legal dispute with, Geoffrey Logue. According to Logue a campaign of harassment took place against him, including Knuckey being hired by the Candy's to trick information out of him. Knuckey apparently approached Logue saying he was working on behalf of the King of Saudi Arabia, looking to make a property purchase.[21] It appears Knuckey was hired through the Candy's solicitor Andrew Shaw of Stewarts Law, to track down Logue and nominally to serve papers on him.[22]

In December 2009, he also starts two ventures with another anti-money laundering specialist, Michael Woods. These are Hermes Forensic Solutions Ltd and VRI Technologies (UK) Ltd (see below for further details).

In 2012 he becomes an employee of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), as a financial crimes advisor.[23]

Hermes Forensic Solutions Ltd (2009-2012)

Hermes Forensic appears to be a anti-money laundering consultancy formed between Knuckey and Martin Woods. Knuckey is listed as the CEO of Hermes in 2011, when he presents at talk at the Financial Crime Form.[24]

A profile of the company said it:[25]

Hermes is a specialist investigation and due diligence company owned and managed by experienced anti-money laundering and fraud investigators with unique profiles and skills. Our clients include public sector bodies, high net worth individuals, law firms and financial service businesses. Drawing upon a deep reservoir of experience Hermes can deliver the very best bespoke anti-money laundering training for private bankers, investment bankers, international bankers and corporate bankers, as well as law enforcement agents and regulators.

Michael Woods, listed as a managing director of Hermes Forensics, is a former detective constable (with the National Crime Squad's Money Laundering Investigation Team in 1999[26]) and had been compliance officer at Wachovia Bank until he exposed its complicity in money laundering.[27] In 2011 Hermes Forensic's was contracted by Coutts Bank (part of RBS) to carry out a compliance role, though the contract was terminated when Woods' whistleblowing at Wachovia was discovered by Coutts.[28]

Another employee of Hermes Forensic Solutions was Neil Casey, its Head of Investigations in 2011. Casey, again a former police officer, had also been Head of Investigations for RISC Management.[29]

Companies House filings list Knuckey and Woods as holding 45% each of Hermes, while Casey held the remaining 10% in 2011. In 2012, with the resignation of Cliff and Jacqueline Knuckey, the firm passes to the control of Woods and his wife.[30]

Two nominal addresses are given for Hermes;

  • 8 Grafton Street, London, W1S 4EL; tel: 020 3178 6835.[31]
  • 35c North Row, Mayfair, London, W1K 6DH (tel 020 7355 7897).[32]

Its website was HermesForensics.com (defunct as of March 2016). Its sister company, VRI Technologies (UK) Ltd is short lived company with little in the way of records. From the filing history, it would appear that the partnership between Knuckey and Woods effectively ended mid 2012.


List of directorships

Company Address Dates Directors Notes
CGK Services Ltd (06947315)[33][34] Brookland, Romney Marsh, TN29 9QU 29 June 2009

Company active in 2015.

Jacqueline Carole Hobbs (29 June 2009 - )
Cliff Graeme Knuckey (29 June 2009 - 18 May 2012)

100% owned by Jacqueline Carole Hobbs

Hermes Forensic Solutions Ltd (07113500)[35][36] 7 St Pauls Yard, Silver Street, Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, MK16 0EG

Previously registered to 35C North Row, Mayfair, London, W1K 6DH (until 10 June 2010).

29 Dec 2009

Company active in 2015.

Clifford Graeme Knuckey (29 Dec 2009 - 20 Aug 2011; 10 July 2014 - )
Jacqueline Knuckey (29 Dec 2009 - 20 Aug 2011)
Martin Woods (29 Dec 2009 - 17 Aug 2012)
Laura Woods (29 Dec 2009 - 10 July 2014)
Nature of business given as 'investigation activities'.
VRI Technologies (UK) Ltd (07443636)[37][38] 7 St Pauls Yard, Silver Street, Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, MK16 0EG 18 Nov 2011

Company dissolved 2012.

Martin Woods (18 Nov 2010 - )
Cliff Knuckey (18 Nov 2010 - 18 Nov 2011); Woods and Knuckey are both 50% shareholders.
Nature of business given as 'investigation activities'. Registered to the same address is a number of other police connected companies:
(i) F3 Associates Ltd of whom a director is Police Commander James Connelly-Webster.[39]
(ii) MM Analytics, run by Michael Moore an 'intelligence supervisor' based in Uxbridge.[40]
(iii) PK Solutions Ltd, run by police officer Peter King,[41]
(iv) Fidelis Solutions Ltd, run by Deputy Chief Constable Paul Minton.[42]
(v) Canon Investigations Ltd of which Colin Gerald Black (born 1947) was a director from 15 Feb 1999 to 22 May 2012. For more on him see here.

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 RISC Management, Investigative Report into the Criminal Activities of Michael HOWARTH John GURNEY and Others, January 2008, report hosted at ThuleDrilling.info.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 RISC Management Team, ManagingRISC.com (company website), archived at Archive.org on 23 April 2008.
  3. Mark Atkinson, Man gunned down in pub', Press Association, 8 May 1990 (accessed via Nexis).
  4. Duncan Campbell, 'Crime plc: The Return of the London Mob', The Guardian, 14 December 1991 (accessed via Nexis).
  5. Mike Schwarz, Supplementary written evidence, Home Affairs Committee, 12 May 2012 (accessed 30 July 2015).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Michael Gillard, 'Phone hacking' security firm linked to Scotland Yard forced to hand over secret informants list, Mail on Sunday, 21 October 2012 (accessed 30 July 2015).
  7. Jason Corcoran, 'FSA lacks crime-fighting experience', Financial Adviser (magazine), 29 November 2001 (accessed via Nexis).
  8. 'IFAs are the weakest link', Investment Adviser (magazine), 26 November 2001 (accessed via Nexis).
  9. Matt Moore, 'British Argue 22 Suspects Should Be Kept', Associated Press Online, 16 August 2006 (accessed via Nexis).
  10. RISC Global Ltd, CompanyCheck.co.uk, undated (accessed 2 August 2015).
  11. Keith Lindsay Hunter, Witness Statement, The Litvinenko Inquiry, 5 December 2012 (accessed 1 August 2015).
  12. 12.0 12.1 Transcript of Evidence given on 16 February 2015, The Litvinenko Inquiry, undated (accessed 1 August 2015).
  13. See, Clayton Hurst, 'Tomorrow, without knowning it, you could commit a crime', Independent on Sunday, 29 February 2004; Paul Lashmar & Cole Moreton, 'Tonbridge Heist: Hello, hello, hello? (what is going on then?)', The Independent, 5 March 2006; Jennifer Quinn, 'Investigators chase money trail in Atlantic plot; more arrests, signs of al-Qaida link', The Associated Press, 12 August 2006 (all accessed via Nexis). Though it is of note that quotes stop appearing after 2006.
  14. 'Bloomberg to sponsor Datamatix 5th GCC Stock Market Summit', Middle East Company News Wire, 19 November 2007 (accessed via Nexis). Knuckey is listed at the 5th GCC Stock Market Summit (2007) in Dubai, giving a talk titled 'Global Risk Management Trends and Best Practices for Emerging Markets'.
  15. Luke Harding, Litvinenko inquiry told of mysterious break-in at Mayfair office, The Guardian, 9 February 2015 (accessed 30 July 2015).
  16. 16.0 16.1 Transcript of Evidence given on 9 February 2015, The Litvinenko Inquiry, undated (accessed 1 August 2015).
  17. Tom Harper, Former Met detective alleged to have billed lawyers for invoices worth 'thousands of pounds' in Nigerian politician case, The Independent, 25 July 2014.
  18. Mark Easton, Detectives 'key culprits' in cash for information claim, BBC News Online, 23 May 2012 (accessed 30 July 2015).
  19. Rob Evans, CPS accused of suppressing police corruption evidence, The Observer, 23 January 2016 (accessed 28 March 2016).
  20. CGK Services Limited, CompanyCheck.co.uk, undated (accessed 30 August 2015).
  21. Dominic Kennedy, Buyer wins £4m from Candys after fight over 'Ikea-style' kitchen units, The Times (paywall), 17 January 2014 (accessed 28 March 2016).
  22. Sam Marsden & Rebecca Clancy, Candy brothers linked to arrested detective, The Telegraph, 16 January 2014 (accessed 28 March 2016).
  23. Ian Gallagher, 'Bribery' detective has top job with RBS: Former Scotland Yard officer arrested over police bribe claims works for one of Britain's bailed-out banks, Mail on Sunday, 27 May 2012 (accessed 28 March 2016).
  24. AML / CFT Risk Management - ADVANCED, ChiefOfficers.net, 2011 (archived at the WayBack Machine / archive.org)
  25. Martin Woods, Yatedo.com, undated (accessed 29 March 2016).
  26. Walter Fernandez, Stock scam begins with a phone call, The Straits Times (Singapore), 26 May 1999 (accessed via Nexis).
  27. Michael Woods, ZoomInfo.com, undated (accessed 29 March 2016).
  28. Alex Spence, Court backs Coutts over expert who blew whistle, The Times (paywall), 8 January 2013 (accessed via Nexis)
  29. Neil Casey, ZoomInfo.com, undated (accessed 29 March 2016).
  30. Hermes Forensic Solutions Ltd, CompaniesHouse.gov.uk, undated (accessed 29 March 2016).
  31. Michael Wood, Letter of Contract with Steve Mayer, 27 January 2011 (accessed 29 March 2016, via FraudInPrague.com website). Wood was being hired by Mayer to help recover funds.
  32. Michael Woods, Hermes Forensic Solutions: The Domestic PEP The danger within?, Slideserve.com, undated (accessed 29 March 2016). This is a powerpoint presentation on the danger of money laundering in personal equity plans
  33. CGK Services Limited, CompanyCheck.co.uk, undated (accessed 30 August 2015).
  34. CGK Services Limited, CompaniesList.co.uk, undated (accessed 30 August 2015).
  35. Hermes Forensic Solutions Ltd, CompanyCheck.co.uk, undated (accessed 30 August 2015).
  36. Hermes Forensic Solutions Ltd, CompaniesList.co.uk, undated (accessed 30 August 2015).
  37. VRI Technologies (UK) Ltd, CompanyCheck.co.uk, undated (accessed 30 August 2015).
  38. VRI Technologies (UK) Ltd, CompaniesList.co.uk, undated (accessed 30 August 2015).
  39. F3 Associates Ltd, CompaniesList.co.uk, undated (accessed 30 August 2015).
  40. MM Analytics Ltd, CompaniesList.co.uk, undated (accessed 30 August 2015). See also Michael Moore, Profile, LinkedIn.com, undated (accessed 30 August 2015).
  41. PK Solutions Ltd, CompaniesList.co.uk, undated (accessed 30 August 2015).
  42. Fidelis Solutions Ltd, CompaniesList.co.uk, undated (accessed 30 August 2015).