In: Daniel Kadar, Simon Le Reste, Stéphanie Abdesselam, Reed Smith LLP (Contributing éds.), Getting the Deal Through - Asset Recovery 2021, 30 July 2020
The proliferation of misappropriation of assets, fraud and corruption across jurisdictions, as well as unpaid debts, requires cooperation between governments, aggrieved parties and other actors such as private investigators, law firms, forensic experts.
We act for governments, legal entities and individuals assisting in all phases of the asset tracing process in order to recover misappropriated assets or debts located in Switzerland or other jurisdictions.
We routinely work across borders and are well-versed in multi-jurisdictional matters calling upon our network of specialist lawyers for support in other jurisdictions.
Our experience is widespread. We can add value in the following areas:
- Attachment & interim measures: We regularly assist individuals and entities to secure their claims through attachment proceedings, aiming to obtain the freezing, seizure and realization of assets (bank accounts, real property, claims etc.) located anywhere in Switzerland. Our practice also includes assistance in the context of interim measures, such as obtaining the freezing or release of bank guarantees, the freezing of assets on the basis of a Worldwide Freezing Order or preventing the disposal of assets.
- Enforcement of judgment and arbitral awards: We have wide experience in the enforcement of foreign or Swiss judgements and arbitral awards, an important part of our renowned practice in arbitration. Our team of litigators advises and represents individuals, entities and foreign States in recognition and enforcement in Switzerland of judicial decisions or arbitral awards.
- Commercial fraud litigation: Thanks to the breadth of skills and versatility of our litigators, we are well equipped to assist parties involved in commercial fraud. On the one hand, we assist and represent defrauded parties seeking to recover their assets in either civil litigation or criminal proceedings and provide advice on possible regulatory matters and related proceedings before supervisory authorities. On the other hand, we vigorously defend clients accused of perpetrating commercial fraud and put our skills to good use to ensure that unjust claims be quickly dismissed.
- Insolvency proceedings: Based on our expertise in banking & finance and white-collar crime matters, we focus on insolvencies in the financial sector including fraud-related bankruptcies . We act for clients bringing or defending insolvency-related claims (e.g. avoidance claims, D&O liability claims). We assist creditors seeking to collect claims against insolvent debtors, defending creditors’ interests throughout the debtor’s insolvency proceedings (be it a moratorium, civil forfeiture of individuals’ assets or bankruptcies of commercial entities) and deal with the competent agencies. We assist distressed debtors seeking to avoid bankruptcy by either securing payment facilities from creditors or obtaining appropriate court orders. Our team can also advise distressed debtors with the restructuring of their debt. The firm’s expertise in the field extends to cross-border insolvency proceedings, as well as bankruptcies of specific commercial actors such as banks.
- Bringing or defending criminal proceedings: We have leading experience dealing with enforcement agencies in Switzerland and abroad regarding the tracing and recovery of misappropriated assets through criminal proceedings in which court orders can be obtained for the provision of financial information and bank records, the search of premises for the recovery of evidence and the freezing of bank accounts.
- Mutual legal assistance in criminal matters: We assist individuals or entities supporting or resisting foreign mutual judicial assistance requests which aim to obtain evidence of financial transactions and bank records as well as to confiscate assets located in Switzerland. In this context, we also assist foreign governments seeking to trace and recover misappropriated public funds in drafting letter rogatories to Switzerland. We are proud to have secured a number of successful outcomes for our clients in recent years, some of which have landmark rulings in Swiss courts.
- Recognition and enforcement of foreign awards against creditors based in Switzerland or with assets located in Switzerland.
- Recognition of foreign bankruptcy judgments in Switzerland; asset tracing and recovery.
- Bringing or defending insolvency-related claims (e.g. avoidance claims, D&O liability claims).
- Acting as administrators, liquidators, trustees in bankruptcy, or members of creditor committees.
- Representing a central European bank, victim of a EUR 1 billion fraud, in Swiss criminal and civil proceedings for money laundering, including mutual judicial assistance with several States and search and seizure of embezzled assets, as well as the enforcement of foreign judgments against the fraudsters
- Representing the Republic of Kenya in mutual legal assistance proceedings with the Swiss authorities concerning half a dozen cases of corruption involving several Ministers and State agents, with investigations carried out throughout Europe and an amount at stake of USD 800 million
- Representing the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), a Libyan sovereign wealth fund, in civil mutual legal assistance proceedings in Switzerland regarding the production of bank documents in support of foreign proceedings against inter alia Société Générale for the recovery of assets in the amount of USD 58 million. The matter raised complex issues of international procedure and sanctions. The matter was ultimately successfully settled with Société Générale, which agreed to pay EUR 963 million to the LIA
- Representing Brazilian individuals in several Swiss criminal and related international assistance proceedings on account of money laundering and corruption of foreign public agents in the context of the Lava Jato and Odebrecht investigations
- Representing a multinational oil & gas company in relation to asset recovery and a fraud investigation against several individuals, in particular the search of assets suspected of having been located in Switzerland
- Representing a Central/Eastern European company active in the energy sector, in a major fraud and corruption case in which the firm is advising the company victim of the fraud, in the context of a Swiss criminal investigation with ramifications in several countries. The total amount at stake is USD 700 million, with the equivalent amount being seized in 150 bank accounts in Switzerland
- Acting for the bankruptcy estate of a foreign bank acting for the administrator of an insolvent foreign bank in asset recovery and criminal proceedings in Switzerland (total value EUR 400 million).
- Acting as lead counsel in insolvency related CHF 1.5bn D&O liability claims, involving more than 80 creditors.
- Alexander Troller and Matthias Gstoehl have been appointed by FINMA as members of the creditor’s committee of Banque Privée Espirito Santo S.A. in liquidation.
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