Anthony is recognised as ‘stellar practitioner’ and leading lawyer in fraud investigation and litigation, asset recovery, banking litigation and commercial litigation. His tenacity in uncovering facts, which has won Anthony plaudits in the directories, is valued by clients when fraud requires investigation and the evidential picture needs to be built. He is a founding member and former Chairman of the Commercial Fraud Lawyers Association.
Anthony has an established practice acting for banks in multi-million dollar litigation, often involving freezing orders in several jurisdictions. In addition, he has been instructed in many leading commercial litigation cases over the years, at both first instance and appellate levels.
What the directories say
Anthony Riem is a ‘stellar practitioner’ ranked by both the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners in the top tier of civil fraud lawyers. It is noted that he has exceptional experience in handling disputes involving freezing orders and similar reliefs in multiple jurisdictions.
Chambers & Partners UK 2020 says that Anthony ‘possesses deep expertise in handling complex cross-border disputes relating to claims of fraud and conspiracy, including relevant asset tracing and enforcement proceedings.’ Sources say he is ‘an outstanding litigator who gives excellent, commercial advice.’
In the 2020 edition of the Legal 500, Anthony is identified as a Leading Individual for fraud, being described as a ‘master strategist’. He is also recommended for banking litigation and commercial litigation, being described as having ‘strong experience of banking litigation and commercial litigation’ and is ‘praised for his clear advice; he is also commercial and prepared to engage with all stakeholders, not just clients and other lawyers’. In the 2021 edition, where Anthony is again identified as a Leading Individual for fraud, he is described as having ‘remarkable expertise in litigation’ and is an ‘excellent strategist’ who ‘sits on top of the pyramid, overseeing cases, and adding sprinkling tactical gold-dust where necessary.’
He is described by market sources as ‘tremendous’, ‘a master of detail’ who has ‘marvellous rapport with clients’, has ‘excellent strategic vision and client skills’ and ‘navigates complex structures and transactions with ease’. He is also recognized for being ‘great for complicated cases’, providing ‘pragmatic, creative’ and ‘clear advice’, being a ‘very pleasant person to work with’ and ‘very energetic and active in pursuing his goals’.
For a number of years, Anthony has been named as a Global Elite Thought Leader in Asset Recovery by Who’s Who Legal. In the 2020 edition, he is described as ‘a highly distinguished name in the legal market’, ‘a fighter for his clients’, ‘a specialist asset tracer’ and ‘who is always seeking to innovate’.
Cases of note
The Commercial Court has today given judgment in favour of PCB’s client, Mr Dmitry Tsvetkov, who was defending a claim brought under a guarantee by his former business partner, Rustem Magdeev. At the centre of the case was a Graff diamond franchise, established by Mr Tsvetkov, and invested in by Mr Magdeev.
The case was unusual because whilst the claim was based on a written document, being the guarantee, the successful defence was based on establishing that the parties had entered into two oral agreements, pursuant to which various payments had been made by which the loan underlying the guarantee had been repaid.
The defence was successful because Mrs Justice Cockerill DBE was persuaded that the circumstances of this case were such “the documentary record cannot be regarded as entirely reliable” with the result that “less weight is placed on such documents as signed contracts than is usual in this Court”.
PCB acted for the third defendant in successfully obtaining security for costs in relation to this multi-million dollar dispute. The Claimant was resident in Russia and there was evidence before the Court as to the difficulties in enforcing an English costs order in Russia. The Court considered that the correct approach was to make a single order of a substantial amount of security to reflect the real (but small) risk of non-enforcement and greater (but less financially extensive) risk of increased cost and delay. That meant that the defendants would be covered for the financial risk of the more likely aspects of increased cost and delay. There would not be full security in respect of the costs of the action, but the amount ordered would go some way to covering and guarding against the risk of non-enforcement.
PCB acted for the claimant bank in seeking to commit the defendants for contempt of court by failing to disclose assets in breach of court orders. The defendants did not attend the hearing and the court proceeded in their absence. In view of their deliberate decision not to attend the hearing so that they could be cross-examined, the veracity of their account could not be tested and the court was entitled to conclude that it was implausible. The bank established to the criminal standard of proof that Mr Chernyakov had deliberately and intentionally disobeyed the court's order to produce statements and had given false evidence on affidavit with the intention of interfering with the course of justice. There was no doubt that that breach was in order to hide assets from the bank. The Court also found there was a deliberate and intentional breach of the orders made against Ms Erokhova. The maximum sentence of two years' imprisonment was imposed on Mr Chernyakov. Although she had had a 10-month-old child, Ms Erokhova was sentenced to four months' imprisonment.
PCB acted for the claimant bank seeking to enforce Russian judgments in the sum of approximately £150m against the defendant. The bank applied for summary judgment and in response the defendant sought to allege that the Russian judgments had been procured by fraud and/or should not be enforced on grounds of public policy. Following lengthy factual and expert evidence, PCB were able to persuade the Court that there was the defence was contrived and had no real prospect of success. Summary judgment was granted in favour of PCB’s client.
PCB acted for defendants to a claim brought by a company that owned a golf club in respect of the sale by one of PCB’s clients as mortgagee in possession of the land. It was alleged that the sale had taken place at an undervalue, it being claimed the land was worth nearly £20m more than the sale price. The claimant sought to amend to add claims in conspiracy. PCB successfully resisted the amendment on the grounds that it was too late as it would result in the adjournment of the trial.
PCB acted for the claimant bank. The bank alleged unlawful means conspiracy to defraud the bank by the diversion of assets to companies controlled by the defendant. The bank sought to amend its claim to allege that it had been induced by fraudulent misrepresentations to make loans to companies of US$150m. The defendant resisted the amendment and sought to strike out the claim or have it summarily dismissed, on the basis that the primary facts alleged by the bank were insufficient. PCB successfully resisted the defendant’s application and was granted permission to amend its claim, on the basis that the claim in fraud could be pleaded on the basis of inferences to be drawn from the primary facts.
PCB acted for the claimant bank in bringing claims to enforce Russian judgments for around US$40m in England. The defendant raised a defence that the Russian judgments were procured by fraud and/or that the English court should decline to enforce the judgments on the basis of public policy. In particular, he alleged that the judgment had been granted as part of a “corporate raid” in order to acquire his business and that as the claimant was a state-owned bank, it was impossible for him to get justice from the Russian court. PCB was able to persuade the English Court that the defence was without substance and summary judgment was granted in favour of the bank.
PCB acted for the claimant bank in relation to a substantial claim in deceit and breach of contract, which included worldwide freezing order relief in the sum of US$200m and ancillary freezing orders in the BVI and Cayman. In England, the case reached the Supreme Court on issues relating to piercing the corporate veil, choice of law and appropriate forum. In the English Court of Appeal there was additionally the issue of whether the claimant suffered loss caused by the alleged deceit given that it had entered into a participation agreement with another bank that passed on all of the risk. In the BVI, issues arose as to whether it was appropriate for the BVI Court to grant relief that overlapped with the English freezing order. In the Cayman Court of Appeal, the issue was whether the Cayman Court could grant freezing order relief in support of the English proceedings. PCB established that the Cayman Courts could indeed grant such relief.
PCB were instructed by the receiver of a convicted tax fraudster to collect in his worldwide assets to satisfy a confiscation order. One asset was a claim in the name of an Irish company which had been dissolved and struck off. PCB applied to restore the company but, as there was a potential limitation defence that might arise whilst the company was being restored, PCB obtained permission to bring proceedings in the name of the dissolved company. PCB successfully resisted a challenge in the Court of Appeal to the grant of that permission.
PCB acted for the parents of the main defendant, who were resident in Italy. The English court had already granted a freezing order under s25 of the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982 in support of substantive proceedings taking place against the main defendant for investment fraud. The claimants then sought to extend that freezing order against the parents on the basis that they had assisted in the concealment of substantial assets. PCB however applied successfully to set aside the freezing order against the parents on the basis that as they were neither resident in England nor had any assets in England, it was not appropriate for such an order to be made.
PCB acted for a property company who rented commercial premises comprising a number of retail units at a rack rent. The company then granted sub-leases in respect of a number of the retail units for a peppercorn rent, with the sub-lessees each paying a large premium on the grant of their sub-lease. The company covenanted to each of the sub-lessees to pay the rent on the head lease for so long as it retained its interest in the property. The company then assigned the head lease to a third party, who then disappeared leaving the rent due under the head lease unpaid. The sub-lessees obtained relief from forfeiture but had to pay the rent due under the head lease and take new leases at a higher rent. They claimed damages against the company and won at first instance and in the Court of Appeal, it being held that the purported limit of liability of the company only to pay rent under the head lease until such time as it disposed of its interest was void pursuant to the Landlord and Tenant (Covenants) Act 1985. PCB persuaded the House of Lords that this raised issues of general public importance and subsequently succeeded on appeal, it being held that the Act did not prevent such a limitation of liability being agreed.
PCB acted for a former senior employee of a state-owned aluminium company. This was one of a series of claims that the company made against former senior officers and employees alleging corruption. All of the other claims led to large judgments or settlements. PCB’s client was faced with a multi-million dollar claim for accepting alleged secret commissions and other alleged breaches of fiduciary duty. Following trial, the court held that PCB’s client had acted honestly and had not breached his duties. He received payments to which he was entitled and with the company’s knowledge. The claims against him were therefore dismissed.
PCB acted for the respondent to a worldwide freezing order and a search order. The claimant had in its investigations obtained evidence through the use of pre-text calls to a Swiss bank. PCB led evidence that such conduct was under Swiss law prima facie criminal. As a consequence, PCB submitted, and the court accepted, that there could be no legal privilege in the reports of the investigators. Those reports were therefore ordered to be disclosed. PCB also submitted that the claimant’s conduct should lead to the discharge of the orders they had obtained, which led to agreement being reached in relation to more limited relief going forward.