Asset Recovery

PCB has a long track record of being involved in cases which are exceptional in scale, highly complex in their challenges and ground-breaking in their legal significance. Here is a sample from recent years which illustrate our capacity and experience.

In the area of asset recovery we have acted for

a number of international banks where we have obtained worldwide freezing and disclosure orders in numerous jurisdictions freezing several hundreds of millions of dollars worth of assets. These cases have included recovering hidden assets by:

demonstrating that an individual had used a complex web of offshore vehicles to hide his assets. This included obtaining an unprecedented, free-standing worldwide asset disclosure order in Jersey and seeking to ‘pierce the corporate veil’ of a Jersey Foundation.

demonstrating that shares held by offshore trusts in Liechtenstein and Nevis were controlled by the defendant, which he denied, and by appointing receivers and administrators over companies controlled by those trusts.

persuading independent third parties to assist in securing and transferring overseas assets.

persuading the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal, that the Cayman Court could grant a freezing order in support of foreign proceedings against a third party in Cayman holding assets against which judgment in the foreign proceedings might eventually be enforced.

a major mining company which obtained a settlement following a barrage of orders that PCB had made against the defendant. Mr Justice Peter Smith described the work undertaken by PCB in this case as “phenomenal”. The orders included freezing orders in England, Jersey, Guernsey and the British Virgin Islands (BVI) over assets valued in excess of a US$500m claim and an order for cross-examination in respect of the Defendants’ asset disclosure which is now one of the leading judgments on when such orders should be made.

a regulatory authority to recover assets that had been hidden in several jurisdictions by a defendant, now resident in Switzerland. This included persuading the Court to grant orders enabling the client to bring claims in the names of third parties which would otherwise have been lost and which resulted in recovery.

an investment bank to intervene in proceedings in the Channel Islands which were being brought by a Regulator to wind up investment funds holding property valued at €1 billion. An order was secured that the Regulator’s choice of proposed new trustee of the funds should be a last resort (because of apparent bias).

an international businessman to obtain previously unavailable evidence to apply for a freezing order in a case worth US$35million by establishing, among other factors, that the respondent was a fugitive from justice in Israel. The outcome was a successful settlement for PCB’s client.

a casino to obtain a Court Order that an aeroplane should be arrested having secured evidence from witnesses, public filings and other documents that it was beneficially owned by the defendant. The plane was then held as an asset available for execution. Following further complex investigations the defendant agreed to settle the claims against him.

a casino in a case where the Defendant would only come to England for short periods of time, PCB obtained a freezing order, a passport seizing order and a search order which enabled his hotel room to be searched and a copy made of his lap top computer. This revealed information which led to him to agree to make a payment to PCB’s client to settle the claim.

We have obtained worldwide freezing, disclosure and search orders:

even where clients have received advice from other lawyers that it was impossible to do so.

in support of overseas proceedings where those claims have not been commenced and in one case where the overseas claim had been lost.

to enforce overseas judgments.

We have also successfully discharged freezing orders made against clients by putting together evidence to demonstrate:

the Claimant had failed to comply with its duty to give full and frank disclosure when applying for a freezing order.

that a £100m freezing order and other injunctive relief had been obtained by deploying dishonest evidence. The Claimants subsequently discontinued their US$500m+ claims against the client during the trial.

within 24 hours of the freezing order being served on our client that it had no involvement in the alleged fraud.

the Court did not have jurisdiction to grant a freezing order made in support of Italian proceedings. The case is now a leading authority as it sets the limits of the Court’s jurisdiction to grant such orders in support of foreign proceedings.