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...

Paris Prosecutors Launch Preliminary Corruption Investigation into Syrian President’s Uncle’s Assets
Antonio Suarez-Martinez,Antonio Suarez-Martinez, October 08, 2013
This is not the first time TI France and SHERPA have combined to target the alleged proceeds of corruption. As we reported in June 2013, TI France and SHERPA have previously utilised Article 2 of the French Criminal Procedure Code to request investigations in France concerning the assets of the...

Recent Upsurge of Massachusetts Class Actions on Merchant Zip Code Collection
Brian J. Green,Sander A. Rikleen,Mark E. Schreiber, October 03, 2013
There has been a flurry of class actions filed in the last six months against retailers in Massachusetts alleging improper collection of ZIP codes from consumers during credit card purchases. This upsurge follows the March 2013 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in Tyler v....

Federal Judge Issues Nationwide Injunction Against Aereo Competitor FilmOn
Seth A. Davidson,Arthur H. Harding, September 14, 2013
On September 5, 2013, Judge Rosemary Collyer of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued an order blocking FilmOn from offering its antenna/DVR service. FilmOn (previously known as “BarryDriller.com” and “Aereokiller”) is essentially a knock-off...

Creating & Modifying Online Terms of Use - What to Do, What Not to Do
Alan L. Friel,H. Straat Tenney, September 11, 2013
Instagram LLC caused an uproar last December when it announced changes to its terms of use agreement. The blowback continued recently when a customer filed a class action lawsuit in California state courts to stop the implementation of Instagram’s new terms. Rodriguez v. Instagram, LLC, Case...

Second Circuit Rejects First Amendment Challenge to FCC’s Program Carriage Rules, But Vacates Program Carriage Standstill Rule
Seth A. Davidson,Craig A. Gilley,Arthur H. Harding,Ari Z. Moskowitz, September 09, 2013
On September 4, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected a First Amendment challenge to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) revised program carriage rules, but struck down on procedural grounds the FCC’s program carriage “standstill rule.”...

Data Hygiene Part of Corporate Compliance - Ten Steps to Build a Privacy and Security Program
, September 05, 2013
Data has become an essential tool and valuable asset at most companies. U.S. and international laws, and industry self-regulation, on consumer and employee data privacy and security have made it essential that companies understand what data they collect; how and where it is stored, processed and...

Second Circuit Rules that the FLSA Does Not Bar Enforcement of Class Action Waivers: Sutherland v. Ernst & Young LLP
Sang-yul Lee,Rory J. McEvoy,Teresa A. Sullivan, August 17, 2013
On August 9, 2013, the Second Circuit ruled that an employee may be compelled to arbitrate individual claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) if the employee had executed a class action waiver, even if it is “prohibitively expensive” for the employee to pursue...

Claims Control Clauses: No Self-Control?
Mark Everiss,William Haig,Sam Tacey, August 13, 2013
The High Court rules on the effect of a claims control clause where cedants and some reinsurers unilaterally paid out their share of a claim.

English Court Decides for the First Time Issues Concerning the Construction of the Bermuda Form
Lianna Chan,Rhys Davies,Nathan Hull, August 13, 2013
In a first for the English courts, the Commercial Court has decided a case concerning the construction of the Bermuda Form under English law: AstraZeneca Insurance Company Ltd v XL Insurance (Bermuda) Ltd [2013] EWHC 349 (Comm). Usually excess liability insurance underwritten on the Bermuda Form is...

Coming Clean About a Bad Smell? English Court Rejects Limitation Defence
Rod J. Cowper, August 09, 2013
Failure to point out, at least once proceedings commenced, that the wrong company had been sued for damages for causing an odour nuisance was fatal to the limitation defence used by the correct company when it was eventually sued: the claim could proceed.

Fresenius v. Baxter International: Riding Cross-Currents of Collateral Estoppel in a New Age of Patent Challenges at the USPTO
Ralph A. Loren,Brian P. Murphy, August 07, 2013
On July 2, 2013, a divided Federal Circuit panel issued a remarkable decision. It vacated Baxter’s patent infringement judgment and an award of $14.3 million in pre-verdict damages that already had been reviewed and affirmed by the Federal Circuit. There was no en banc review or certiorari...

Sportech v HMRC - VAT and Spot the Ball competitions
Gemma Boore,Moris Mashali,Michael McCormack, July 29, 2013
The First Tier Tax (FTT) tribunal’s recent decision in Sportech PLC and others v HMRC [2012] UKFTT 210 has major tax implications for any company that runs prize competitions. The decision underlined the importance of differentiating between competitions where winning is dependent on...

Borrowing from the Freezer: Court Of Appeal Green Lights Route around Freezing Order
Rod J. Cowper, July 29, 2013
The standard form of freezing order contains a serious flaw which can enable a defendant to reduce its effectiveness to a troubling extent.