Image banner

February 2016

Feb 2016
PCB news
PCB Litigation has been retained by a private equity fund in the defence to claims of US$1bn+ in respect of transactions said to have put assets beyond the reach of a Greek telecommunications company.
In two recent successes, PCB Litigation obtained summary judgment and default judgment for its clients. Read More

January 2016

Jan 2016
PCB news
PCB Litigation has been retained by the respondents to a multi-million dollar freezing order granted in respect of assets held by an offshore discretionary trust.
PCB Litigation has been retained to act in the defence to claims being brought by a major UK bank for injunctive relief in respect of alleged confidential information. Read More

December 2015

Dec 2015
PCB news
PCB Litigation has been retained on a $multimillion fraud in the technology sector.
PCB Litigation has been retained on a £ multimillion investment fraud involving multiple jurisdictions.
On behalf of a major overseas Bank, PCB Litigation obtained Court Orders freezing the Defendant's worldwide assets in respect of a £ multimillion debt as well as requiring him to deliver up his passports and not leave the country.
PCB Litigation successfully opposed an application to amend a claim to add allegations of conspiracy to defraud. see transcript of Judgment of Newey J 27-11-2015 Read More

English Court rejects anti-suit injunction seeking to restrain Chinese proceedings

Nov 2015
Fraud updates
As fraud and asset recovery specialists, injunctions are an important tool of PCB Litigation’s trade, whether they be freezing injunctions, anti-suit injunctions, injunctions in support of overseas proceedings or similar forms of relief. In such cases, it is crucial for applicants to take steps in a timely manner. A recent case involving an attempt to restrain Chinese proceedings demonstrates what can go wrong when such steps are delayed. In that case, Essar Shipping Ltd v Bank of China Ltd [2015] EWHC 3266 (Comm), the bank had issued proceedings in China in September 2014 for over US$11 million. Those proceedings concerned a bill of lading which, under Chinese law, did not include a governing law and arbitration clause. In response, Essar challenged the Chinese court’s jurisdiction, asserting that the bill of lading contained a valid London arbitration clause under English law (the governing law of the contract, itself incorporated under English but not Chinese law). Essar’s challenge was issued in November 2014. This was shortly before, under English law, a potential time bar for commencing proceedings had expired. Nevertheless, it was not until July 2015 that Essar applied for an anti-suit injunction against the Bank in the specialist Commercial Court of England and Wales. The injunction sought to restrain the Chinese proceedings for having been commenced in breach of the London arbitration clause. The Commercial Court observed that it could grant anti-suit relief as long as it was “sought promptly and before the foreign proceedings are too far advanced”. Given that the time bar was 12 months, the length of the delay by Essar was considered to be significant, notwithstanding the ongoing jurisdictional challenge in China. In any event, the judge felt that there was no objective justification for considering that such challenge would be resolved speedily or that Essar would be successful, such as to justify the delay. Accordingly, Essar’s application was rejected. The case emphasises the need to proceed promptly when seeking injunctive relief. Having acted in such matters against parties from domestic and overseas locations like China, PCB Litigation is well placed to represent potential applicants and respondents in such circumstances. Read More

November 2015

Nov 2015
PCB news
PCB Litigation has been instructed by a Chinese manufacturer in a million dollar recovery claim against a UK purchaser.
PCB Litigation successfully defended applications for strike out and summary judgment brought against its client: see http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Comm/2015/3073.html
“Highly regarded litigation boutique” PCB Litigation was again eminently ranked by Chambers UK 2016 as “great fraud specialists” who are “very cost-effective”, “hard-working, open-minded, co-operative and efficient” and “take a strategic approach”. Steven Philippsohn, Anthony Riem and Trevor Mascarenhas are all recognized as notable practitioners. Steven is noted as a “rainmaker” and a visionary in terms of his command of tactics, Anthony is well respected by clients" as well as "patient and nice to work with", and Trevor is “a clever and imaginative lawyer" and "a real thinker who comes up with solutions that are outside of the box and who will go the extra mile." Read More

Continued recognition for PCB Litigation

Nov 2015
Fraud updates
PCB Litigation is extremely grateful to our clients and colleagues for the substantial industry praise we have received recently: The “simply outstanding”, “highly qualified”, “extremely skilled” and “highly regarded litigation boutique”, containing a trio of “outstanding” asset recovery lawyers has been top-ranked by a number of publications, including the International “Who’s Who” Legal Asset Recovery 2015, The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners. Amongst our highlighted work is our representation of the primary defendant to a $1bn claim (one of The lawyer’s Top 20 cases for 2014 and 2015), our instruction by Bank St. Petersburg in a cross-border asset recovery case, our acting for a defendant on a contempt of court application and our representation of Ritz Casino on a £5 million fraudulent misrepresentation claim. We are also very proud to say that Steven Philippsohn has been recognized as “world-class” and one of only five Most Highly Regarded Individuals in Europe for asset recovery. He has also been described as an “unparalleled” “doyen” and visionary in terms of his command of tactics. Meanwhile, Anthony Riem has been described as a “great tactician” who is “tremendous”, “great for complicated cases”, "well respected by clients", has “magnificent client-handling skills” and is "patient and nice to work with." Trevor Mascarenhas has been recommended as a “genius” with a “fine intellect”, a “remarkable lawyer”, “a clever and imaginative lawyer" and "a real thinker who comes up with solutions that are outside of the box and who will go the extra mile." Read More

Supreme Court rules that dishonesty will not be tolerated

Oct 2015
Fraud updates
Sharland (Appellant) v Sharland (Respondent) [2015] UKSC 60 and Gohil (Appellant) v Gohil (Respondent) [2015] UKSC 61 It is a firmly established principle in commercial cases that the English courts will not tolerate dishonesty, and material non-disclosure of assets during for instance injunctive proceedings can lead to the offending party being committed to prison. In a recent landmark ruling, the Supreme Court has confirmed that the same principle firmly applies to cases being heard in the family courts. The decision demonstrates that parties’ duty of full and frank disclosure to opposing parties and to the court is sacrosanct. The test case was brought by two women claiming they had been duped into accepting unfair divorce settlements by their former spouses who had given false evidence to the court in order to conceal their assets and true net worth. Alison Sharland and Varsha Gohil had each accepted a divorce settlement with their husbands which had been approved by the court. When it transpired that the husbands had provided material non-disclosure of their financial circumstances, with the deliberate intent of concealing assets, each woman asked the court to reassess their settlements. The court drew from the analogy of the remedies available for misrepresentation and non-disclosure in contract and held that the family courts are no exception to the general principle that fraud unravels all. Where a consent order has been procured by the dishonesty or fraud of one spouse, and impaired the financial settlement agreed to by the other spouse, it should be set aside and the terms of the settlement renegotiated. PCB Litigation has a long and successful track record of acting in fraud cases, in both the commercial and matrimonial arenas. As is often the case in matters of fraud, speed is of the essence. In this case, once the dishonesty of the husbands had transpired, the women acted with relative speed to apply to the courts for relief. Any delay in doing so may prejudice the preservation and recovery of assets before they are concealed, so victims of such frauds should seek advice on their position at the earliest opportunity. Read More

October 2015

Oct 2015
PCB news
PCB Litigation successfully defended a summary judgment application brought against its clients: see http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2015/2830.html Read More

Tackling the Surge in Fraud

Sep 2015
Fraud updates
“While banks are of course targets for fraud, today businesses are firmly in the firing line, with virtually all sectors of the economy under threat from fraudsters” “Scandal over police failure to pursue millions of online frauds” “Fraud could be costing NHS in England £5.7bn a year, says report” Recent headlines have been dominated by the surge in fraud. Indeed this month NatWest prepared an article designed at identifying the golden rules that should be followed in order to be protected from fraud. Whilst the article focussed on common frauds (telephone, email and malicious software fraud), cheque fraud and invoice fraud, these frauds are merely the tip of the iceberg as fraudsters become increasingly more sophisticated. In the last year alone, we have acted in a multitude of diverse fraud cases across a range of jurisdictions involving email hacking, fraudulent websites, employee and management frauds, investor frauds, misstated accounts, false statements to the market, commodities fraud, banking frauds, the dissipation of assets, and bribery and corruption, to name but a few cases. One of the themes of the media’s coverage of this area is a suggestion that fraudsters are winning the battle in the fight against fraud, with under-resourced law enforcement authorities incapable of keeping up with perpetrators of fraud. For example, one recent statistic suggested that there have been an estimated 3.2 million frauds over the past year but less than 9,000 convictions. Whilst such figures are unattractive, they do not appear to take into account the number of successful pursuits of fraudsters in the civil arena. In that regard, choosing the right representation is fundamental to pursuing a strategy which not only leads to securing settlements and judgments against fraudsters but the recovery of assets from them as well. In that regard, PCB Litigation has a long track record of success, both domestically and as part of the ICC’s renowned FraudNet taskforce which provides an immediate global response unit containing dedicated fraud specialists. The reality of the pursuit of fraud is not the gloomy picture that the media portrays. Read More

September 2015

Sep 2015
PCB news
Steven Philippsohn has again been recognised by Thomson Reuters in its Super Lawyers London for 2015.
PCB Litigation has recently been instructed to act for a joint venture partner in a dispute against a substantial overseas bank involving a multi-million pound claim for damages, an international arbitration and proceedings in various overseas jursidictions
The “simply outstanding”, “highly qualified” and “extremely skilled” team at PCB Litigation was top-ranked again by The Legal 500 in Civil Fraud, in particular for its representation of the primary defendant to a $1bn claim and its instruction by Bank St. Petersburg in a cross-border asset recovery case. “Unparalleled” “doyen” and “strategic thinker” Steven Philippsohn was again listed as a leading individual, Anthony Riem was described as “tremendous”, “great for complicated cases” and as having “magnificent client-handling skills”, whilst Trevor Mascarenhas was described as a “genius” with a “fine intellect” and a “remarkable lawyer”. Read More

Does fraud unravel all?

Sep 2015
Fraud updates
Hayward v Zurich Insurance Company Plc “No Court in this land will allow a person to keep an advantage he has obtained by fraud. No judgment of a court, no order of a Minister, can be allowed to stand if it has been obtained by fraud. Fraud unravels everything.” So said Lord Denning in 1956. However, a recent case which is now poised to reach the Supreme Court brings into focus the extent to which fraud does unravel all, and is poised to have implications for parties who identify fraud after proceedings have been concluded. In that case, the Supreme Court recently granted permission to appeal to Zurich Insurance Company after it contested a Court of Appeal decision from earlier this year. The case concerns the insurer’s attempt to overturn a decision which allowed a claimant to keep the proceeds of a settlement notwithstanding evidence later coming to light that he had been dishonest. The claimant, Hayward, had claimed damages for back injuries following an accident at work. Although Zurich had obtained video surveillance which appeared to indicate that the claimant was exaggerating his injury, a settlement agreement was reached between the parties. Subsequent evidence emerged that the claimant had recovered entirely from his injuries a year before the settlement agreement had been concluded. As a result, Zurich commenced proceedings against Hayward, seeking damages for deceit. Its position was that it had settled the claim as a result of Hayward’s misrepresentations because it was concerned that Hayward would be believed in court, not least since its own expert was not fully persuaded that Hayward was being deceitful. At first instance, the High Court cut Hayward’s damages to £14,720, but the Court of Appeal reinstated the original settlement of £135,000 on the basis that Zurich had entered into the agreement with its eyes open and because of the wider principle of finality of settlements. The Supreme Court’s decision is poised to have implications for parties who identify fraud after proceedings have been concluded. In the meantime, it is clear that where a party is suspicious that it is being misled, it is safer to investigate that suspicion at the time rather than subsequently to seek to unravel any settlement in the event that suspicion proves to be true. Read More

Taking a backwards step forwards – landmark Privy Council ruling adds new weapon to fraud practitioners’ arsenal

Aug 2015
Fraud updates
As fraudsters become increasingly creative in dissipating and hiding the proceeds of their illegitimate activities, it is critical that fraud practitioners have a full arsenal of weapons available to them to recover assets for the benefit of victims of fraud. In a recent landmark decision that also has ramifications for any third parties holding assets, the Privy Council (which acts as the highest appellate court for a number of Commonwealth countries) has opened the door for the use of another tool in the perennial fight against fraudsters, namely backward or backwards tracing. In that case, two BVI companies appealed a decision from Jersey that they were liable to return over US$10 million in bribes paid to the former mayor of the Municipality of Sao Paulo. Proceeds of the bribery were alleged to have flowed to accounts in Jersey via a New York account, and the claimants sought to recover the funds held in the Jersey accounts. The appellants argued that they were not liable for the full US$10 million, because certain proceeds of the bribery were only paid into the New York account after the last payment was made from that account into the Jersey account. To counter that argument, the claimants sought to rely upon a concept which has been the subject of much debate: backward or backwards tracing. Tracing allows a party to demonstrate what has happened to its property, identify the proceeds of that property and who has handled or received them, and then obtain a proprietary claim against either the original property, an asset substituted for the original property or its proceeds. Meanwhile, backwards tracing involves turning a property interest into (or substituting it for) something which the holder already has. Rather than necessarily tracing one asset into another, the Privy Council recognised that the substance, rather than the form, of transactions should be examined to establish whether there was a sufficiently close causal and transactional link between the various steps taken. If those steps were part of a coordinated scheme, then the strict order in which the associated events occurred should not matter. As such, the Privy Council rejected the argument that there could never be backwards tracing or that the court could never trace the value of an asset whose proceeds are paid into an overdrawn account. Accordingly, the decision emphasises the need for those holding assets to understand the ultimate source of those assets before dealing with them, in order to seek to mitigate the risk of inadvertently dealing with third parties’ assets. Insofar as the global battle against fraud is concerned, this is a welcome development with implications across the Commonwealth and it is of persuasive authority in England and Wales. As the UK member of Fraudnet, the renowned worldwide specialist ICC task force for asset recovery (which includes amongst its members local experts in a number of Commonwealth jurisdictions), PCB Litigation is extremely well placed to assist clients with the successful implementation of cross-border strategies for the recovery of assets. Read More