International Asset Tracing and Recovery

Overview

BakerHostetler is a recognized leader in handling complex international insolvencies and in tracing and recovering assets. Clients rely on, and benefit from, our extensive experience to strategically maximize their positions in complex civil and criminal disputes. Our attorneys represent multinationals, sovereign states, global organizations, and private investors, advocating for client interests in virtually every country in the world.

We are bankruptcy and insolvency practitioners, international litigators, former prosecutors, and tax lawyers with significant experience investigating and detangling complex asset protection schemes in the context of cross-border litigation, including piercing sophisticated offshore trusts and structures, negotiating discovery across varying privacy regimes, and assisting clients in navigating potential resulting liabilities.

Our experience also includes the implementation and use of multilateral cooperation agreements, international conventions, tax treaties, and myriad discovery devices. We have extensive knowledge of varying confidentiality and banking secrecy laws around the world, including experience with the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, tax treaties, and tax information exchange agreements (TIEA), which provide states with powerful new means to gather evidence of financial wrongdoing.

Who We Are

Our team includes attorneys who have served as ambassadors and members of Congress and represented the United States on behalf of the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of the Treasury, and the Internal Revenue Service as well as other government entities. These lawyers bring considerable experience in the operational and policy aspects of international asset recovery and forfeiture, money laundering investigations, fraud investigations, and bribery and corruption matters. We have assisted clients in resolving international disputes that might require government assistance.

Case Study: The Global Liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC

The most prominent example of BakerHostetler’s success in international insolvency, asset tracing, and recovery is the unprecedented liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (BLMIS). As court-appointed counsel to Securities Investor Protection Act (SIPA) Trustee Irving H. Picard, we have been working to unravel, deconstruct, and litigate one of the largest and most complex financial frauds in U.S. history – Bernard L. Madoff’s decades-long global Ponzi scheme. With more than $10.5 billion traced and recovered for victims to date, the BakerHostetler Madoff team has exceeded all expectations for recovery, utilizing their diverse experience in complex business litigation, bankruptcy law, white collar criminal investigation, securities litigation, e-discovery, and corporate finance.

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To reach more than $10.5 billion in recoveries, BakerHostetler traced funds through scores of countries, including Kuwait, Monaco, Panama, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, the Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates. We are actively involved in litigation, investigations, and other proceedings against approximately 400 defendants in more than 45 jurisdictions worldwide, including France, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Austria, the United Kingdom, Spain, Gibraltar, and Israel. We are also working to recover customer funds throughout the Caribbean, from the British Virgin Islands to Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

We have conducted a forensic investigation of tremendous scope, engaged and instructed local counsel, brought multiple legal actions in international courts and tribunals, and cooperated with local law and regulatory enforcement bodies around the globe. The complexity only grows when the work spans more than 30 international jurisdictions, each with its own unique legal system and financial regulations. Adding to the challenge is the evolution of the various jurisdictions’ legal systems, as recovery-related litigation reaches the nations’ highest courts and creates precedent that affects existing proceedings.

Select Experience

  • Represent trustees and fiduciaries in various jurisdictions to recover funds, including the representation of Irving H. Picard, SIPA Trustee for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC which involved in litigation, investigations, and other proceedings against approximately 400 defendants in more than 45 jurisdictions worldwide.
  • Assisted financial institution located in secrecy jurisdiction in complying with TIEA request from U.S. criminal authorities.
  • Successfully breached the Swiss bank accounts of Nelson Bunker Hunt, which produced evidence important to a $197 million jury verdict.
  • Traced stolen funds to a Luxembourg bank account, which convinced a Luxembourg court to freeze the account.
  • Represent trustees and fiduciaries in various jurisdictions to recover funds.
  • Act as counsel to government and private entities in bankruptcy proceedings and litigation, including avoidance and recovery of international transfers as well as discovery disputes with foreign liquidators.
  • Led an extensive Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation on behalf of a multinational security systems corporation in its Bangalore, India, offices, informing client on the process and working on subsequent negotiations with the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • Represent entities and individuals in connection with foreign bank account reporting, as well as civil and criminal representation stemming from the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program initiatives.
  • Manage the discovery process from preservation to production to data retirement.
  • Limit the scope, burden, and risk of discovery and internal investigations through advocacy and technology.
  • BakerHostetler’s tax controversy lawyers are recognized internationally in civil offshore tax investigations as well as tax inquiries, controversies, and litigation on a host of cross-border tax issues such as transfer pricing and permanent establishment.
  • In addition, the Criminal Tax Defense team represents individuals and entities facing some of the U.S. government’s most complex criminal tax investigations and prosecutions.
  • Collect judgments and/or prejudgment provisional remedies such as writs of attachment and writs of possession in the context of intellectual property claims.
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Experience

International Disputes
  • Successfully breached the Swiss bank accounts of Nelson Bunker Hunt, which produced evidence important to a $197 million jury verdict.
  • Traced stolen funds to a Luxembourg bank account, which convinced a Luxembourg court to freeze the account.
  • Represent Kyrgyzstan in tracing funds allegedly stolen by its former president to a Latvian bank account.
  • Served as worldwide defense counsel to the Republic of Peru in 55 lawsuits brought in five countries seeking to recover $10 billion in defaulted sovereign commercial debt.
  • Defended a luxury auto servicing and distribution company, headquartered in Hong Kong but publicly traded in the United States and operating out of Nevada, from claims that the assets were improperly transferred during a corporate spinoff.
  • Advised Emirates NBD in matters arising from alleged breaches of commercial contracts entered into with counterparties from the United States during the real estate boom.
  • Represent the Federative Republic of Brazil in an interpleader action in New York brought by the United States, arising from the forfeiture of funds by a Brazilian court.
  • •Represented Trustees of a Liquidating Trust appointed by a US Federal Judge to investigate and recover proceeds of an international “pump and dump” securities fraud case on behalf of investors in a NASDAQ-listed software development company, leading to cooperation with law enforcement authorities and litigation in Isle of Man, Cyprus, England, Switzerland, Austria, and the United States, and resulting in recoveries in excess of $300 million.
Bankruptcy, Restructuring, and Creditors’ Rights
  • Represent trustees and fiduciaries in various jurisdictions to recover funds, including the representation of Irving H. Picard, SIPA Trustee for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC which involved in litigation, investigations, and other proceedings against approximately 400 defendants in more than 45 jurisdictions worldwide.
  • Represent trustees and fiduciaries in various jurisdictions to recover funds.
  • Act as counsel to government and private entities in bankruptcy proceedings and litigation, including avoidance and recovery of international transfers as well as discovery disputes with foreign liquidators.
  • Selected by the U.S. government and appointed by the U.S. District Court in Connecticut to serve as court-appointed Receiver for Michael Kenwood Asset Management and affiliated entities, which (allegedly) engaged in a Ponzi scheme by using several Cayman Islands hedge funds whose investors consisted of high-net-worth individuals and entities located in Central and South America as well as the pension funds of the Venezuelan oil company, PDVSA.
  • Investigated and prosecuted the Bank of Credit and Commerce International worldwide, leading to its liquidation and the conviction of numerous actors in countries around the world and the recovery of 90 cents on the dollar for legitimate depositors.
  • Represented a Mexican creditor in litigation arising from the insolvency of Bethlehem Steel.
White Collar Defense and Corporate Investigations
  • Led an extensive Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation on behalf of a multinational security systems corporation in its Bangalore, India, offices, informing client on the process and working on subsequent negotiations with the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • Represent entities and individuals in connection with foreign bank account reporting, as well as civil and criminal representation stemming from the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program initiatives.
  • Represented the former Soviet Republic in an investigation to recover funds allegedly taken wrongfully by its former president.
  • Handled defense of a non-U.S. financial institution in a grand jury investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • Served as Independent Monitor appointed by the U.S. Department of Justice for Mellon Bank, N.A., Bank of New York, and Merrill Lynch to address compliance of policies and protocols with applicable law following non-prosecution agreements.
  • Served as Ethical Practices Attorney for Local 14-14B of the International Union of Operating Engineers to eliminate corruption and ensure integrity of union practices.
  • Served as Independent Reviewer of Siemens Medical Services’ procurement and government contract procedures.
E-Discovery Advocacy and Management
  • Manage the discovery process from preservation to production to data retirement.
  • Limit the scope, burden, and risk of discovery and internal investigations through advocacy and technology.
  • Support information governance, including the defensible deletion of legacy data that has built up over time.
  • Defend clients against claims that evidence has been intentionally or inadvertently lost.
  • Address the discoverability and management of emerging discovery targets including the cloud and social media.
Tax
  • Recognized internationally in civil offshore tax investigations as well as tax inquiries, controversies, and litigation on a host of cross-border tax issues such as transfer pricing and permanent establishment.
  • Represent individuals and entities facing some of the U.S. government’s most complex criminal tax investigations and prosecutions.
  • Defended financial institution located in secrecy jurisdiction in U.S. federal grand jury investigation of allegedly assisting customers in evading U.S. taxes.
  • Advised financial and other multinational institutions with Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) implementation around the globe.
  • Assisted financial institution located in secrecy jurisdiction in complying with TIEA request from U.S. criminal authorities.
Intellectual Property and Privacy and Data Protection
  • Collect judgments and/or prejudgment provisional remedies such as writs of attachment and writs of possession in the context of intellectual property claims.

Recognition

  • BTI Client Service 30: BakerHostetler advanced 19 positions to #9 (2016)

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