Claims of this nature often relate to sophisticated schemes where allegations of serious wrongdoing are made. When such allegations arise, we work closely with our clients and other professionals, including foreign lawyers, forensic accountants, private investigators and IT specialists, and liaise with criminal and regulatory authorities, if necessary, in order to ensure that the most effective strategy is adopted.
At Signature we have extensive experience in investigating, initiating and defending all types of civil fraud claims. We understand the commercial and strategic issues relating to civil fraud claims and provide robust advice on how to handle them. Interim measures are frequently required, including search and seizure orders and freezing injunctions, to prevent dissipation of assets prior to the issue of proceedings.
Our significant experience in asset tracing across multiple jurisdictions includes the use of pre-action (including Norwich Pharmacal) techniques for the disclosure of documents and information, and to discover the identity of individuals. In securing and enforcing foreign judgments, we regularly work with claimants who seek pre-emptive relief, or want to freeze and recover the assets of defendants.
Our team in London and Paris regularly uses their experience in acting on cases relating to Russia and CIS.
Chambers and Partners and The Legal 500 recognise Signature as a leading firm for Civil Fraud.
The Legal 500 UK 2021 notes Signature’s practice is “dedicated and meticulous”, and is “active in investigations and large-scale disputes, in which they act for claimants and defendants in various countries.” The Legal 500 UK Guide has further described Signature as “one of best boutiques around, delivering a high class service to clients pitted against the institutional behemoths”, and its “key individuals are supremely professional and very informed.” Chambers UK 2020 recognises Signature’s “ability to formulate, plan and implement a sophisticated global strategy” and notes our experience at “obtaining all forms of injunctive relief and in tracing assets across multiple jurisdictions”.
Individual lawyers are also highly rated. Chambers ranks Signature’s founding partner, Graham Huntley, for his experience in fraud disputes and investigations. He has been described by Chambers as an “incredibly able” fraud practitioner with a “real eye for detail” who “puts his heart and soul into the case for his client”. The Guide notes that Graham is “regularly involved in cross-border cases with significant elements of fraud.” He is also recognised as a ‘Leading Individual’ for Civil Fraud by The Legal 500 UK 2021 and has been described by the directory as “a veteran of large fraud cases”, “an extraordinary legal mind” and “a force of nature, a very impressive litigator with a deeply commercial intelligence and a willingness to go more than the extra mile for his clients”.
In Paris, the practice is led by partner Thomas Rouhette. Regarded by the leading legal directories as an “outstanding” and “fierce litigator”, Thomas has a seasoned, wide and multifaceted practice with particular expertise in civil fraud and asset tracing. The Chambers Europe Guide praises Thomas’ “excellent ability to communicate with clients and help them understand the French system and navigate the way litigation is conducted in France.” The Legal 500 EMEA Guide consistently recognises Thomas as a leading individual for his litigation expertise and he is also ranked in their ‘Hall of Fame’ for his market leading practice.
Civil Fraud & Asset Tracing Team
Signature Litigation’s “‘dedicated and meticulous’ fraud group is active in investigations and large-scale disputes, in which they act for claimants and defendants in various countries.“
The Legal 500 UK 2021
Graham is consistently recognised by The Legal 500 and Chambers as one of the UK’s highest ranked commercial and banking litigators and has been involved in some of the most significant cases of recent years. Chambers UK describes him as “an intense and effective solicitor with an incredibly client-focused approach” and he has previously been described as “very bright, very hard-working, a good tactician” and “very committed and driven”. The Legal 500 recognises Graham for being a “a leading figure in commercial dispute resolution and widely regarded as a rainmaker.”
Thomas is ranked Band 2 by both Chambers Global and Europe for his litigation and aviation law expertise, with sources praising him for his “invaluable” advice, experience and knowledge. The Legal 500 EMEA Guide consistently recognises Thomas as a ‘Leading Individual’ for his aviation and commercial litigation practices. Who’s Who Legal regards Thomas as the “finest product liability lawyer in the country and one of the very best on the continent.”
Highly ranked in the Chambers UK Guide for his commercial litigation expertise, Tom Snelling is described in the 2020 Guide as “extraordinarily good” and an “utter pleasure to work with and enormously talented, with a sixth sense for where a case is going and very sound judgement”. The Guides have also noted that Tom is “amazingly dedicated with strong credentials in international litigation” and that he is both “practical and commercial”. Tom is recognised as a ‘Recommended Lawyer’ in The Legal 500 UK 2021 for his Banking Litigation: Investment and Retail and Commercial Litigation expertise.
Civil Fraud & Asset Tracing Experience
Assisting high net worth individuals against their former business partner in French enforcement proceedings following an English High Court decision.
Assisting a leading French bank on asset-tracing and debt collection in a civil fraud case against Ukrainian counterparties, in the scope of enforcement proceedings involving piercing the corporate veil and attachment of assets located abroad.
Advising a major Russian company in cross-border asset-tracing litigation in connection with enforcement of a judgment issued by a Gibraltar court.
Advising a corporate entity implicated in the Rolls Royce investigations concerning bribery and corruption in contracts for the sale of engines. This matter is ongoing.
Advising an FX fund in connection with claims against an international bank concerning “front running” and “stop-loss busting” of very large foreign exchange programme trades. This case is ongoing.
Advising a rates trader on potential claims against his former employers, as well as against the Serious Fraud Office, in relation to actions taken against him in respect of alleged LIBOR manipulation which led to the loss of his banking licence and career.
Assisting the distressed assets Team of a leading French bank in connection with the recovery of a loan to a Romanian company.
Representing on several occasions private equity houses and venture funds with the recovery of assets and disputes over control of assets and real estate involving proceedings in several European jurisdictions and Cyprus.
Acting for one of the largest central European cement manufacturing companies in connection with recoveries from fraudulent transactions concerning carbon emission credits trading. The matter involved recoveries through insolvency proceedings in England, parallel proceedings in Poland and investigations in offshore jurisdictions.
Representing a US mining company in connection with the recovery of promissory notes worth of £1 billion issued as a result of fraudulent misrepresentations.
Represented Bluewaters Communications Holdings LLC in relation to two claims brought in England and Wales against Bayerische Landesbank Anstalt Des Offentlichen Rects, Bambino Holdings, Bernard Ecclestone, Stephen Mullens and Gerhard Gribkowsky arising from a corrupt agreement between Mr Bernard Ecclestone and Dr Gerhard Gribkowsky in connection with the sale in 2005 by BLB of its stake in Speed.
Acting for a Kazakh bank in relation to tracing assets and enforcement proceedings valuing over US$500 million in the English court and as global coordinating counsel covering eight other jurisdictions, three of which are offshore.
Defending a client in High Court proceedings involving claims of fraud in connection with a J.V. dispute between Russian investors, also involving proceedings in Cyprus, BVI and Switzerland. This matter is ongoing
Acting for two British Virgin Islands (BVI) companies in litigation before the courts of England and Wales, Georgia, and the BVI relating to alleged misuse of powers of attorney resulting in the dishonest misappropriation of substantial businesses and companies.
Advising a group of Ukranian agro-trading companies in relation to claims made by various lenders for fraud and breach of contract amounting to $73 million in outstanding loans.
Advising a major corporate in relation to unauthorised hacking into its computer systems by competitors looking to obtain business secrets.
Advising several fund managers in relation to a €200 million dispute concerning assets held in Italy involving defence of claims including conspiracy, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.
Acting for a major European bank in an action against a Swiss company and shareholders of related-entities to recover €30 million siphoned out of a Ukrainian corporate group.
Defending a European asset management company against claims in New York to recover redemption payments made by the liquidators of a BVI-based fund connected with the Madoff Ponzi scheme.
Advising a Lebanese media company in relation to pre-emptive relief to be obtained in parallel with the on-going arbitration and criminal proceedings against the debtor.
Representing a Russian bank in a high profile, multi-jurisdictional, matter against the bank’s former owner in the scope of enforcement proceedings involving piercing the corporate veil and attachment of assets located on the French Riviera and in the French West Indies.
3 August 2021
3 August 2021