Practice Areas & Industries: Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP

 




Asset Tracing & Recovery Return to Practice Areas & Industries

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Practice/Industry Group Overview

Edwards Wildman has an established international asset-tracing and recovery practice, acting for Governments, Anti-Corruption Commissions and companies in cases across the world from our offices in London, the United States and Hong-Kong.

We advise on the implementation of effective international asset tracing and recovery programmes for Governments seeking to trace, freeze and recover assets misappropriated by dishonest public officials, their companies, trusts or associates.

We have coordinated cross-border international asset recovery programmes where stolen assets have been dissipated through a wide international financial and corporate network, and have a proven record of providing practical and legal counsel on the complex cross-jurisdictional issues that arise. 

In particular we have significant experience advising Governments in relation to the use of both criminal and civil asset recovery mechanisms, and the advantages and disadvantages of each given the particular facts of the case or cases that have arisen.

Our experienced team works closely with clients to create a programme specifically designed to achieve their objectives. We provide advice and support at each stage of the tracing and recovery processes, with the ultimate objective of repatriation of misappropriated assets.

We also assist companies that have been defrauded and liquidators seeking to freeze and recover the proceeds of fraud.

Our expertise includes:

  • Investigations

Our lawyers act for Governments investigating suspected cases of corruption, bribery and misappropriation of assets by public officials. We gather information and requisite evidence through domestic and multi-national investigations.

  • Scoping Exercises

Our team assists Governments in scoping existing corruption cases to identify the cases best suited for asset recovery proceedings. We provide counsel on subsequent steps in managing and prosecuting such actions in the UK or abroad.

  • Civil Proceedings

We represent clients in asset-recovery civil proceedings in various countries, and have managed proceedings in other jurisdictions, particularly common law jurisdictions, including the UK's crown dependencies and other offshore territories.

  • Enforcement of foreign orders

We advise on the enforcement of foreign civil, civil forfeiture and criminal confiscation orders in domestic courts.

  • Emergency Injunctive Relief

We assist clients to obtain emergency injunctive relief in the UK courts to secure stolen assets or other proceeds of corruption, in support of domestic and foreign proceedings. This includes freezing assets in the UK or abroad through the use of domestic or worldwide freezing orders.

We also assist clients in gaining access to evidence through search and seize orders and pre-action disclosure orders, including obtaining evidence held by third parties.

  • Claims against Third Parties

Our team advises on claims against third parties which knowingly handle the proceeds of corruption or assist in the laundering of it. We also advise on claims against third parties that have paid bribes to win contracts or gain other advantages.

  • Mutual Legal Assistance

We advise Governments in respect of requests for Mutual Legal Assistance, which are indispensable to Governments seeking information and evidence to support criminal investigations or prosecutions.  We provide guidance on Home Office requirements that are in place, minimising the risk of the request being rejected.

  • Training

Our team offers training to Governments and other bodies on asset recovery tools and issues. We also run other asset recovery training programmes for companies and other bodies.

Our experience includes:

  • Since 2009 we have been advising the Government of the Turks & Caicos Islands in one of the largest civil recovery programmes in the world, involving a substantial number of cases seeking to recover land obtained by corruption, the termination of substantial development agreements, and claims for misappropriated funds and evaded stamp duty.  Many of these cases also involve appeals to the Caribbean Court of Appeal and the Privy Council.  To date, the Government has made over fifty civil recoveries with a number of further trials scheduled.
     
  • We act for the Nigerian Government in various civil proceedings to recover assets and the proceeds of bribes misappropriated by Nigeria's former Military Dictator General Sani Abacha, and his family and associates.
     
  • We have acted for the Nigerian Government in various civil proceedings to recover assets acquired using the proceeds of corruption by Nigerian Governors, that were located both in the UK and abroad.
     
  • We acted for the Government of Pakistan in relation to property located in the UK that it alleged was acquired using the proceeds of corruption.
     
  • Our team acted for the Government of Indonesia in tracing and recovering assets held in Guernsey.
     
  • Our firm has undertaken asset recovery scoping exercises for a number of Governments and Anti-Corruption Commissions.
     
  • We have also acted for companies against former senior executives and employees who have misappropriated company funds, accepted and/or paid bribes and who have stolen valuable confidential information.
     
  • Our lawyers have been involved in providing asset recovery training to government officials.
     
  • We are at the forefront of asset recovery knowledge sharing. Our lawyers have authored various books, book chapters and publication, and regularly speak at anti-corruption events organized by Governments, international organisations and NGOs.  The asset-recovery section of our anti-corruption blog monitors developments in this area globally, providing up to date information and in-depth critical analysis, and contains a number of publications on asset recover.
     
  • We also have a Twitter Account which you can follow by accessing the following link.

 
 
Articles Authored by Lawyers at this office:

Supreme Court Upholds ERISA Plan's Limitations Period
Jonathan R. Shank,Gina D. Wodarski, December 20, 2013
On December 16, 2013, the United States Supreme Court upheld a limitations period in a long-term disability plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”). In Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co., the Court resolved a split among the...

UK: Supreme Court Refuses a Stay of Proceedings, Allowing Insurers to Pursue Damages for Breach of Settlement and Jurisdiction Agreements
Jane Elphick, December 13, 2013
The Alexandros T [2013] UKSC 70 concerned the application of Articles 27 and 28 of EC Regulation 44/2001 (the Brussels Regulation). Where proceedings are issued in more than one Member State and involve the same cause of action, Article 27 requires any court other than the first seised to stay...

Civil Forfeiture: Can the Outcome of SOCA v Turrall be Applied to Deprive Corrupt Foreign Public Officials of their Illicit Wealth?
James Maton,Antonio Suarez-Martinez, November 25, 2013
Would it be possible to forfeit the assets of a foreign public official on the basis that they represent the proceeds of corruption, without being able to prove any precise corrupt transactions, and instead simply relying on an inexplicable disparity between the assets that have been located and...

The Seventh Circuit Puts an End to Litigation Attacking the Cost of Force-Place Insurance
Patrick Frye, November 25, 2013
In Cohen v. American Security Insurance Co., the Seventh Circuit rang the death knell on mortgagors’ lawsuits complaining about the cost of force-place insurance bought by the mortgagors’ bank. When a bank makes a loan and takes a mortgage, the mortgagor’s real estate often is...

Who Owns a Bribe?
James Maton, November 15, 2013
A public official receives a bribe to award a contract. Does the bribe “belong” to the official or to the state that he or she represents? The answer to the question can matter a great deal to the success of a claim. But the issue is controversial and the answer unclear in English law....

English Court Holds Ultimate Beneficial Owner (“UBO”) Liable For Losses To Creditors
Rod J. Cowper, November 05, 2013
The English Court has devised a new route to impose liability on a company's UBO who strips assets from the company leaving creditors to claim in its insolvency. UBOs feeling comfortable about the security of their corporate veil after the Supreme Court’s decision in Prest, will need to look...

Fourth Circuit Finds Copyright Transfers with Electronic Signatures to be Valid
Seth A. Davidson,Ari Z. Moskowitz, October 23, 2013
In a unanimous three-judge opinion, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that the “writing” and “signature” requirements for assigning a copyright can be met by clicking a button in a web browser. This gives greater certainty to enforceability of...