Luke Ponte

Luke Ponte

Call: 2003
3 Raymond Buildings
Gray's Inn
London WC1R 5BH
+44 (0)20 7400 6400

Details of practice

Luke specialises in complex crime, often with a commercial or financial aspect.  He has particular expertise in matters of asset recovery.  He is a level 3 CPS prosecutor and is on the specialist panels for proceeds of crime, fraud and serious crime. 

Financial crime:

Luke is instructed in matters of white collar crime, including MTIC, commercial and mortgage fraud.  Current and recent instructions include defending a city trader in a £250 million Ponzi scheme; prosecuting a nine-handed money laundering operation conducted through money tranfer bureaus and advising in relation to a $200 million bond fraud. 

He has particular expertise in matters concerning alternative remittance systems such as hawallah and hundi banking. 

In respect of MTIC fraud Luke has considerable experience representing individuals and companies both in the criminal courts and before the Tax Tribunal. 

Luke advises in matters of bribery and corruption.

Proceeds of crime

Luke has expertise across the range of asset recovery proceedings, including:  restraint, confiscation (and enforcement), cash forfeiture and civil recovery.

He is currently instructed in a £1.5 million civil recovery claim before the Court of Appeal, having been instructed in the trial before the Administrative Court. 

Luke has considerable experience in post-confiscation proceedings, including applications for reconsideration in the High Court and the Crown Court.

In the past year, he has been instructed in a number of challenges to confiscation enforcement proceedings as a breach of the reasonable time requirement under Art 6 ECHR. 

Complex crime:

Luke is instructed in the most serious and complex criminal cases, for both prosecution and defence.  Current instructions include the LulzSec computer hacking conspiracy - an allegation concerning the hacking of organisations including the FBI, the NHS, News International and the Sony Corporation. 

Following a secondment to the Organised Crime Division of the CPS, Luke has been instructed in a number of high profile organised crime cases, including multimillion pound conspiracies concerning supplies of controlled drugs, of firearms and of counterfeit currency.  He is very familiar with the particular challenges these cases bring, including those of disclosure, PII and MLA.

Regulatory crime

Luke prosecutes and defends in matters of health and safety, environmental health, consumer protection, product safety and trading standards.

Professional discipline

Luke is instructed in matters of police discpline.  He has also been instructed before the Administrative Court on appeal from the Solicitors Regulation Authority and advises in relation to health care professionals. 


Luke appears regularly in matters under the Licensing Act 2003, both in front of local authorities and on appeal to the Magistrates’ Court. He has lectured on the Licensing Act 2003 to the Directorate of Legal Services at the Metropolitan Police.

Luke is instructed in matters of taxi licensing.

Road Traffic Offences

Luke is very experienced in all aspects of road traffic offending. 

Education/professional qualifications

BA (Hons) History - London School of Economics
Harvard University Special Student Programme
Bar Vocational Course
Everard van Heyden Foundation Prize
Campbell Foster Prize (Middle Temple)
Jules Thorn Scholar (Middle Temple)

Other information

Seconded as Junior Crown Advocate to Organised Crime Division of CPS October 2007- March 2008

Notable cases

R v Cleary and Ors
LulzSec computer hackers accused of hacking CIA, News International and Sony Corporation

R v Levene
Sole defendant in £250 million "Ponzi" scheme

R v Pishehvarz and Ors
Money service bureau money laundering

Re Otkritie Group
Pre-charge advice in relation to $200 million bond fraud

SOCA v Robb
Civil recovery claim for £1.5m from an alleged fraudulent property empire in North Cyprus

Noon 2000 v HMRC
Tax Tribunal appeal re multimillion pound carousel fraud

R v Bassey
Multimillion pound MTIC fraud/money laundering

R v Heathcote-Drury
Successful defence of National Portrait Gallery photographer accused of racially aggravated assault

SOCA v Olden
Multiple civil claims arising out of civil recovery order

CPS v Liscott
Stay of £2 million confiscation order as an abuse due to breach of Article 6 ECtHR

CPS v McIntosh
Multi-million pound confiscation proceedings before Divisional Court

R v Chowdhury
£750,000 multinational "Hundi" banking fraud

R v Esfandmodz
Notorious benefit fraud case

Operation Guitar
Multimillion pound conspiracy to forge £20 and E50 notes

R v Brearly and Anor
Corruption of local councillor concerning planning regime

Operation Broil
Conspiracy to import 50kg cocaine

R v Gunning and Ors
Supply of 26 handguns and 20kg heroin

Operation Evocation
Crack cocaine factory

R v Burvill and Ors
£4 million Heathrow robbery

R v Fields and Ors
Kidnap of 10 year old boy

R v List
Ex-SAS member on bomb hoax and firearm charges

R v Williams
Police officer charged with perverting the course of justice