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Timothy Hannam KC

Practice Summary

Instructed in a wide variety of criminal matters by both prosecution and defence, but has significant expertise in large scale organised crime and white collar crime, including international drug trafficking, excise fraud, VAT fraud, Revenue fraud, corruption and bribery, money laundering and the exploitation of Hawala banking, and dental and medical fraud within the NHS. He is also experienced in cases concerning the cooperation of foreign powers, including those based in offshore tax havens.

Tim accepts privately funded work before the First Tier Tax Tribunal.

Described in Chambers & Partners 

2012 as  ‘ .. thoroughly able’, with an  ‘… all-encompassing criminal practice’,

2013 edition noted that he is  ‘ .. well known for his work in white collar crime …’  and  ‘ .. for his work in investigatory and post-conviction issues including public interest immunity, disclosure and confiscation’,

2014 entry mentioned  ‘ … a particular specialism in white-collar crime, including cases involving money laundering’,

2018 entry  ‘he is excellent in terms of the quality of service and the work he provides’.

Judicial appointment


Career Background

Before his recent appointment as Queen’s Counsel, he was a Grade 4 prosecutor on the Fraud and Serious Organised Crime panels and was authorised to prosecute for the SFO on Panel A. In August 2008, he was appointed as Standing Counsel to the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office. He most recently prosecuted the largest criminal fraud case ever brought to court by HM Revenue and Customs: Operation Amazon, before Southwark Crown Court in 2017.

Practice details

In addition to cases of murder, Tim has a proven expertise in the prosecution of large-scale drug trafficking, serious organised crime, corruption, money laundering and complex fraud (including international carousel, direct tax, duty evasion, organised benefit and NHS medical) before the Crown Court, Administrative Court and the Court of Appeal, and in the prosecution of complex confiscation matters.

He has significant experience of large-scale Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings. Most recently, he conducted the confiscation proceedings in Operation AMAZON, in which the benefit figure alleged is in excess £35 million, and the issues included sham trusts, piercing the corporate veil and the use of off-shore company and trust jurisdictions. Prior to Operation AMAZON, he conducted several months of confiscation hearings in Operation HAYRICK (a large VAT fraud) and in Operation BREAD (a drugs-trafficking conspiracy), which again raised difficult trusts issues in the context of the matrimonial home and other jointly owned property.

He also has a proven ability to master quickly difficult scientific evidence, and to cut through masses of disordered material in order to identify the real issues in a case and to present them clearly: plainly a transferable skill relevant to all significant prosecutions.

He has a particular expertise in disclosure (including large scale e-disclosure exercises, public interest immunity and matters arising under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000) and appeared for the prosecution in the recent leading case in this area: R -v- R  [2016] 1 Cr.App.R.20.

He is well versed in claims for legal professional privilege and has acted as independent counsel during the execution of search warrants. He is an acknowledged expert in confiscation matters and has great experience in the field of abuse of process, this is in part due to his outstanding ability in the interpretation and presentation of complex scientific and financial evidence.

Relevant cases include:

  • Operation AMAZON: CPS Fraud Division Manchester; 2008 to date; 8 defendant direct tax fraud; 80,000 pages of evidence; 2.3 million unused documents; complex e-disclosure issues; substantive abuse of process hearings in 2013 and 2014; over 25 detailed trial management hearings; successful appeal against terminating ruling in 2015; 9 month trial in 2017 before Edis J. at Southwark Crown Court; appeals against conviction and sentence in 2019; confiscation before Edis J. at the Old Bailey to date.AMAZON was a case of exceptional significance, both to the public interest (as the first prosecution of this type of tax fraud conducted by city professionals in which a huge amount of tax was at risk) and also to the CPS and HMRC.  It is the largest HMRC direct tax fraud prosecuted to date, and is now the leading case on disclosure in large document heavy cases:  R. v. R [2015] EWCA Crim 1941.  Since the trial in 2017, there have been unsuccessful appeals against conviction and sentence and the subsequent confiscation proceedings (involving difficult trust and corporate veil issues), the latter of which concluded (in terms of advocacy) after a two week hearing at the Old Bailey in November 2019 – the ruling is due in December 2019.
  • Operation SECONDMENT: CPS OCD Birmingham; 2013 to 2015; 4 defendant conspiracy to produce £1.3 m in exceptional quality counterfeit £10 notes; 5 week trial; confiscation and SCPOs; appeal against confiscation orders. Last minute return, involving very complex expert evidence on printing, cell-site analysis and computer analysis. PII sought over certain aspects of the expert evidence.
  • Operation SABRE:  CPS OCD Birmingham – 2014 to 2016; 6 week trial; confiscation and appeal; 2 defendant conspiracy to import heroin, one of whom was a litigant in person and did not speak English as a first language.
  • Operation ABSOLVER: CPS OCD Birmingham; 2015 to 2019; 3 month trial; 8 defendant (one represented by leading counsel) conspiracy to import and supply heroin; appeal against conviction; a contrived and organised defence, undone by the last minute decryption of a PGP Blackberry over which PII was successfully sought concerning the manner in which the relevant codes had been cracked.  Complex expert cell-site and other scientific evidence.
  • Operation ORLANDO: CPS OCD Birmingham; 2017 to 2019; 4 defendants; massive conspiracy to import and supply class A drugs. It was truly exceptional in size and complexity, involving the amalgamation of four historic investigations conducted by different law enforcement agencies in order to target the ‘king pins’ who had been behind those earlier conspiracies. Over 100,000 pages of evidence. There were difficult abuse of process issues and also very difficult, novel, sensitive disclosure issues, including the appointment of Special Counsel.
  • Operation TREASURER: CPS Birmingham; 2019; 6 defendant conspiracy to handle stolen goods; a complex car-ringing case, with 200 high-end vehicles worth over £2,000,000.  A rigorous analysis of the evidence and a restructuring of the case provoked pleas of guilty from all defendants, including from one at trial. PII successfully sought over elements of the expert evidence in the case. Newton Hearings, sentence, confiscation and Criminal Behaviour Order applications are outstanding.
  • Operation FANTAIL: Defending; 2019; murder – death by arson.
  • Defending; 2019-2020; murder and rape; Successfully secured an exceptional nine year reduction to the usual mandatory minimum prison term of 30 years in the case of Trevor, who had pleaded to murder, vaginal rape and anal rape.  Trevor strangled, raped and stabbed Megan Newton, an old school acquaintance, after a night out with class mates in Newcastle-under-Lyme town centre on 29th April 2019.  He was heavily intoxicated with drink and a large amount of the Class B drug Ketamine.
  • Operation BREAD: CPS OCD Manchester; 2009 to 2017; two indictments: 7 defendant heroin supply conspiracy and a 2 defendant possession of a prohibited firearm; 5 week trial; long confiscation proceedings separately against each defendant; appeals against conviction and confiscation orders.  Difficult legal argument on the admissibility of contemporaneous notes kept by one defendant during the conspirator as evidence of the involvement of his co-accused.

Further Information

Direct Access

In suitable cases is happy to accept instructions direct from members of the public. Please see the Direct Access section of this website for further information.

Continuing professional development

Lectures on confiscation proceedings and enforcement.

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