Barrister / Consultant


Zafar Ali QC FCIArb
T: 0044 (0) 20 3976 2452
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Zafar is a highly experienced defence advocate, international arbitrator and mediator with a military background who has been described by the Legal 500 as a barrister who ‘stands out’, is a ‘well-prepared and meticulous advocate’, and who is a ‘flawless courtroom performer’.

Zafar is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb) having completed the International Commercial Arbitration Diploma Course at the University of Oxford, acting as Lead Counsel in numerous international arbitrations across a multi-disciplinary range of commercial disputes.

Zafar is also an Accredited Mediator to International Standards (London School of Mediation) as well as Defence Counsel at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Mr Ali QC has also been selected as Lead Defence Counsel at the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon, has rights of audience at the DIFC Courts in Dubai and is a Visiting Lecturer at Leiden University, The Hague.

Additionally, Zafar specialises in serious criminal cases with an emphasis on commercial matters such as money laundering and complex fraud including commercial tax fraud against HMRC and is also regularly instructed in High Court and appellate work, including appeals against conviction, civil asset recovery and appeals on points of law e.g. developing the law on confiscation (R v Allpress et al).


Zafar has advised a number of Pakistan’s leading industrialists, including Mohsin Baig, Malik Riaz and The Hashoo Group.

Zafar has advised the government of Syria and the Republic of Cameroon, and the leader of the Malaysian opposition, Anwar Ibrahim, on his upcoming appeal.
Currently instructed as Lead Counsel in a mining dispute between a German and a Sierra-Leonian company, to be held at the London Court of International Arbitration.
Represented the former managing director of Leeds United Football Club, David Haigh, in the DIFC (Dubai International Finance Centre Courts) following allegations by his former employers, GFH Capital, and also in a deceit claim against GFH Capital in the High Court in London.


Zafar is an experienced white-collar fraud practitioner with considerable experience in SFO and HM Revenue & Customs frauds, and expertise in confiscation and asset recovery proceedings. Recent cases include:-

R v Dr. P.
Defended an eminent consultant doctor accused of non-payment of taxes over a 12 year period.
R v Bradley & Others
Company director in £5m complex commercial tax fraud against Revenue & Customs. Sophisticated alleged fraudulent pension schemes involving manipulation of HMRC tax rebates to ‘ghost’ members.

R v Boparan & Others
£136 million diversion fraud involving the evasion of Duty and VAT on alcohol. Ten co-defendants were the subject of a vast Customs and Excise operation lasting two years (‘Operation Stockade’) and linked with 23 other nationwide operations.

R v Flavia Srimurugadas & Others
Multi-handed case involving 6 family members accused of a multi-million pound income tax and VAT fraud against HMRC via a company providing security services to the construction industry. Involved alleged systemic non-declarations of tax for over a decade.

R v Nawaz & Others was a notorious global black market website set up exclusively by and for criminals to trade worldwide in stolen credit card data. It was penetrated by an undercover FBI agent whose ground-breaking investigation brought down the forum. Instructed to defend a member of a family of 4 brothers charged with Conspiracy to Defraud which the Crown put at an estimated potential £8 million. The case involved international law and FBI investigative methodology, as well as complex computer interrogation and website reconstruction. The fraud is now the subject of a book by bestselling author Misha Glenny.

R v Martin (& Allpress, Symeou, Casal, Morris)
One of a quintet of appeals following the House of Lords Opinions in Green, Jennings & May [2008] UKHL 28,29 & 30 which have re-defined the legal landscape of confiscation and in particular the definition of the legal concept of ‘benefit’ under S.76 POCA 2002 and how it applies, especially to those categorised as ‘mere couriers or custodians’.

R v Ahmed & Others
The client was a wealthy and well-known investor. The case involved a new, unfamiliar area of law. SOCA was investigating his acquisition and use of funds. With two co-defendants (convicted carousel fraudsters) he allegedly engaged in complex property transactions (£23.1m), including ‘flipping’: sale of properties prior to purchase. He also invested £10m in the Cantor Fitzgerald share trading facility, allegedly conducting unauthorised unregulated proxy trading. Arguments in Court succeeded so that the case was dropped.

R v Cheema & Others
The defendant was a financial advisor alleged to have facilitated a major drug dealer’s property purchases. The case involved complex and large-scale audit trails through sophisticated account structures; expert forensic accountants and anthropologists. The trial was complicated by disclosure problems that led to the defence making four separate Abuse of Process applications.

R v Johnson & Another
Representing the former director of a nationwide debt recovery agency, who was alleged to have defrauded hundreds of clients of deposits for debts never returned. The case involved scrutiny of complex corporate networks and detailed forensic analysis of complex accounts.

Assets Recovery Agency v Paul and Heather Sterling
Out-of-court settlement negotiated in recovery of an alleged drug-dealer’s assets.

R v Ullah & Others
Extremely large Serious Fraud Office prosecution that collapsed after Court of Appeal Criminal Division ruling on inadvertent disclosure

R v Carmichael
Advance fee fraud involving the false promise of the acquisition of interests in the Spanish property market by the ‘Carmichael Corporation’ on behalf of investors.

R v James and others
Corporate fraud conspiracy. Ex-solicitor client in complex £10 million ‘Ponzi’ style fraud.


Queen's Counsel (QC)

Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb)

CIArB International Arbitrator
Diploma in International Commercial Arbitration
Member of the Bar of Northern Ireland
Rights of audience at DIFC, Dubai
Visiting Lecturer at Leiden University in The Hague



University of Warwick, BA (Hons)
City University (Diploma of Law)
Inns of Court School of Law (Bar Vocational Course)

Diplock Scholarship, Middle Temple





A: 10 Lower Thames Street London EC3R 6AF.
T: +44 203 976 2452

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10 Lower Thames Street, London, EC3R 6AF
T: 0203 976 2452