Partner | London
Whether it is private aircraft, yachts, antique cars, art, collectibles or other non-financial investments, luxury assets should be a pleasure rather than a headache. No law firm is better placed than Withers to help you make the most of them.Our clients include a significant number of the wealthiest individuals and families around the world. This has given us significant experience in advising on the acquisition, ownership and use of high-value luxury assets.
We advise on all aspects of aviation finance, including the financing, dry leasing and wet leasing of all types of aircraft. We also advise on the financing of aircraft engines, components and spare parts.
Recent work has included advising on and negotiating the purchase of a private aircraft for a Grammy Award-winning recording artist, including the preparation of aircraft management and charter services agreements. And we represented a client from the CIS in the purchase of a private Boeing 737 business jet, drafting an agreement for a loan secured against the aircraft.
Our team also covers the construction, purchase, registration and operation of yachts and other seagoing vessels, as well as coordinating the international legal advice required.
Our clients were seeking to enforce an oral agreement, where various co-venturers agreed to transfer shares in technology companies to a single company that would act as a parent for the group. It later emerged that certain shares were never properly transferred to the putative parent company. The claim was initally struck out on the basis that it was barred, because it was purely reflective of a loss suffered by the company in which it is a shareholder. We successfully overturned the decision on appeal - a decision that will have wide-ranging consequences for investors seeking relief in circumstances where their own losses may overlap with those of the companies in which they have invested.
We acted for Metigen, a PR firm which created a campaign group to expose allegations of misconduct by Credit Suisse on behalf of its victims (including Bidzina Ivanishvili, the former PM of Georgia). We successfully obtained a release from an injunction Credit Suisse had obtained to restrain Metigen from publicising the findings of a report prepared by Swiss regulators (FINMA) following an investigation into a fraud committed by a former employee of Credit Suisse.
We acted for an Anguillan company whose asset, a BVI company, was the subject of a receivership order obtained by VTB Bank. VTB is attempting to enforce Russian judgments against a Russian individual via BVI companies, which VTB claims are ultimately owned by the Russian individual. The receivership order was successfully discharged. Click here to read the Judgment.
We are instructed by the trustees of two BVI trusts worth in excess of US$400 million, who are currently undergoing a restructuring exercise involving assets in multiple jurisdictions. Recent issues relating to this matter have involved a discussion of parental rights in the BVI.
Represented a shareholder of an international logistics company in claims of misrepresentation and conspiracy against its former parent company which is a public listed company in Malaysia and other subsidiaries in Singapore and Malaysia.
Represented Delphinium Capital PLC in relation to a dispute involving the Wirecard entities. This matter is closely monitored given the ongoing investigations in Germany and Singapore involving the fraud carried out by the Wirecard entities which is estimated to be in excess of Euro 1.5 billion.
Represented 4 Cypriot companies in proceedings based on fraud and conspiracy commenced by the Singapore-based investment arm of a Japanese public listed company.
Represented a client in Operation Car Wash – an ongoing criminal investigation being carried out in Brazil involving allegations of corruption between a state-controlled oil company, Petrobras, and construction firms.
Represented China Environmental Technology Holdings Limited on the dispute between its board of directors. We advised the company on the relevant disclosure requirements and handled a number of enquiries raised by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Successfully representing the shareholders of a company at trial, in which allegations of fraud were made on both sides. The case involved a London property and parties located around the globe.
We are instructed by two private individuals based in the BVI who are bringing a challenge to the decision to implement a Publically Accessible Register of Beneficial Ownership in the BVI pursuant the UK's Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act.
Assisted an Italian wine consortium established to protect and help the producers of a local wine in proceedings brought by a number of shareholders challenging the alleged unlawfulness of a decision made by the shareholders' meeting. We also assisted the consortium in interim proceedings brought by a shareholder to have a shareholders' decision stayed until the final decision in the matter.
Assisted a longstanding client of the firm active in the field of infrastructure, technological systems and services in three proceedings brought against a company within the construction/infrastructure industry, for the breach of a settlement agreement and failure to pay a number of outstanding invoices.
Assisted a longstanding client of the firm active in the field of infrastructure, technological systems and services in the appeal proceedings brought by two parties against a decision made by the Court of Venice on the alleged liability of the client with respect to an accident occurred at a tramway in the Venice area in 2012.
Assisted an Italian publishing company and owner of a magazine, in arbitration proceedings based in Rome and brought against an advertising agency for the allegedly unlawful termination of the contract between the two companies for the sale of advertising spaces in the magazine.
Assisted a company active in the distribution and maintenance of hardware and software systems in an interim measure proceedings before the Court of Treviso, brought by the Italian leader TeamSystem SpA in relation to alleged unfair competition activity.
Assisted the retail and wholesale companies of a well-known fashion group in proceedings for alleged unfair competition brought before the Court of Milan by an Italian company which owns numerous multi-brands stores in Italy and acted as a wholesaler in Italy for various products of the fashion group we assist.
In this complex case involving questions over economic duress and penalty issues, we successfully obtained a €172 million judgment on behalf of our client against the businessman, Lars Windhorst, and the Tennor Group. The judgment stemmed from a debt that arose out of Repo Transactions and a settlement agreement, the terms of which the Defendants failed to honour.
We are instructed by Raffaele Mincione, WRM CapInvest Ltd and WRM S.a.r.l. to bring declaratory relief proceedings against the Secretariat of State of the Holy See (the Vatican), a case which has now spawned separate defamation claims against the Italian press. The team's expertise in high profile litigation, coupled with their Italian-speaking capabilities, has been invaluable in conducting this matter.
Representing Tamara Ecclestone and an associated company in a dispute with the former brand manager for her salon and beauty business. The case involves defending a claim brought for alleged unpaid fees and counterclaiming for an account of moneys received, as well as a disputed allegation of forgery of key contractual documents.
We successfully represented a UK company over a complex and highly litigious dispute arising out of a family business. Spanning over many years, there were findings of professional negligence against our client's former solicitors and findings of forgery against one of the respondents. Various teams across our firm worked on this case including corporate, trusts and litigation to fully service our clients needs under one roof.
We are instructed by The Government of the Virgin Islands to provide advice and representation in relation to a Commission of Inquiry launched by the then Governor of the BVI to establish whether corruption or abuse of office may have taken place in the BVI in recent years and to make recommendations on good governance issues. In Autumn 2021, we completed 52 days of hearings, most of which took place as public live streams.
We acted for a party whose confidential and commercially sensitive information was unlawfully obtained by an unknown party. We advised on steps taken to expose the wrongdoers and in relation to a potential conspiracy claim.
We defended a business from a claim of defamation and malicious falsehood brought by a competitor business. It is increasingly common for businesses to find themselves in an 'information war' and we can help them ensure that their communications are lawful.
Acting for a majority shareholder and creditor in a joint venture company established to develop a treatment for Parkinson’s Disease and spinal chord injury. The matter involved a contentious administration, against the background of entrenched shareholder disputes, which we persuaded the Court to terminate, allowing our creditor client to assert contractual rights which had been stayed by the administration.
When the defendant took his £350 million mega yacht to Dubai, Withers used the DIFC Court as a conduit through which to get an order for enforcement from the Dubai local courts. The case was heard by both the DIFC Court of Appeal and the Joint Judicial Committee.
Leading the global enforcement strategy on behalf of Mrs Akhmedova for the enforcement of a financial order of the English family court worth £450 million over various luxury assets and bank accounts located around the world, including Marshall Island, Dubai, Isle of Man, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Russia and England.
Withers achieved a rare success by successfully piercing the corporate veil of a Liechtenstein company set up as a sham by the judgment debtor for the purposes of hiding assets.
We acted for the trustees of an estate in advising on a potential claim by the Italian State to the ownership of a Roman era fragment marble relief. The relief was purchased in the 1960s in Switzerland and passed to the state following the death of the purchaser. Having been put up for sale by the trustees, it was spotted at an art fair as being linked to a number of other reliefs that had been seized by the Italian authorities having been illegally excavated in the early 2000s. Withers assisted the trustees in bringing about the restitution of the relief to Italy.
We represented one of Saudi Arabia's leading contemporary artists in a multi-jurisdictional claim against an auction house and a Dubai based gallery. The claim derived from the unauthorized selling of one of the artist's own artworks by the Dubai gallery at an auction. The matter was successfully settled.
We represented the estate of a renowned European contemporary artist in seeking to bring about the return of numerous artworks that had not been returned by a German gallery following the artist's death in the mid-2000s.
Our litigation team acted in Ecuador v Colombia (Aerial Herbicide Spraying) Counsel of Colombia, in an ICJ case involving issues of international environmental law.
Represented a foreign-based seller of NY property, whose lawyer stole the proceeds of the sale. In addition to partial recovery from the Lawyers' Fund, we were able to recover a substantial amount of the uncovered losses.
Our client was an Italian company which supplied customised speedboats for use by the Brazilian Police Force. We represented our client in the recovery of a debt owed by a Brazilian company involved in the transaction.
We are representing five Italian banks in a jurisdictional challenge to the English courts based on the place where payment had to be made under a confirmed letter of credit.
Represented a national basketball team in defending federal claims. The case successfully resolved with full dismissal of claims against the team.
Represented luxury brand as outside general counsel in all areas of employment including counseling, compliance with employment laws, leave-related issues, terminations, and defending discrimination actions.
Our attorneys represented companies in the cable and satellite television industry in disputes concerning television content distribution rights and contracts.
Obtained dismissal of a conservatorship petition without the need for discovery or trial.
The termination of a 10-year worldwide agency and distribution agreement led to us representing a Greek company in a dispute with a Jordanian state owned enterprise.
We successfully represented the holders of US bonds to the value of USD$200 million in lawsuits against a rating agency and an indenture trustee of a private placement
Represented the designated beneficiary of a retirement account and obtained summary judgment defeating the claim of an adverse party seeking a portion of the retirement account.
Obtained dismissal of elder abuse claim by dispositive motion without the need for discovery or trial.
Represented Greek national basketball team in defending federal claims. Case successfully resolved with full dismissal of claims against the team.
A proposed merger in the Pay TV market in Greece led to a dispute in which we represented Greek clients in a substantial LCIA arbitration.
Represented heirs to the fortune from a pharmaceutical company in a dispute concerning control of the family office and competing claims of breach of fiduciary duty. After completing all pre-trial discovery and motion practice, Withers successfully negotiated a settlement for the heirs without the need for a costly and public trial in California state court.
Withers successfully obtained judgment against a debtor based in California on behalf of an individual lender based in the Russian Federation. The debtor, a prominent dance event organizer, failed to repay funds lent to him to further his dance business.
We act for the Ukrainian government in relation to a variety of commercial disputes.
Represented the court-appointed administrator of an estate in litigation against the decedent’s former business partner in Vietnam. We brought a derivative action on behalf of an entity the decedent co-owned with his business partner, obtained a preliminary ruling transferring half a million dollars from the entity to the estate, and ultimately settled the case.
Represented a Liechtenstein bank in Madoff-related litigation (In re: Fairfield Sentry Ltd) seeking to claw-back funds invested by bank clients in the largest Madoff feeder fund.
Our US team represented one of the major accounting firms against primary and secondary insurers to recover for claims based on accounting firm's financial audits
Represented high-profile Managing Member of multi-billion dollar hedge fund in litigation involving the termination of an analyst.
Our US team represented an investment fund and its principals in a multi-national dispute concerning investments in Ethiopia, we successfully dismissed all of the claims against our clients.
In several different matters, successfully defended private professional fiduciaries against claims of alleged breach of fiduciary duty.
Our team represented the Romanian State in connection with the enforcement of a foreign judgment in the US, with the State receiving 100% of the judgment amount.
Represented a trust beneficiary who obtained a million dollar judgment and an award of attorney’s fees against a trustee who breached her fiduciary duties in the administration of a family trust.
Our team successfully defended our client in a USD$3.25 billion lawsuit alleging the fraudulent transfer of assets
Acting for a Cypriot company with Russian connections in an arbitration claim challenging a USD$72 million London Court of International Arbitration Award
We are representing a publicly owned company in recovering the proceeds of a fraud perpetrated on it by its in house accountant. This involved obtaining urgent injunctions first in England and then in Cyprus to freeze the stolen money and then secure its return
We successfully represented Salim Shalabayev, a Kazakhstani citizen, on an Appeal of a Final Charging Order over his property in London.
We are coordinating litigation arising from a shareholder’s dispute in Cyprus, Anguilla and Belize on behalf of Russian shareholders in a global financial business.
Advised a Russian corporation in a dispute to a value of over US$150 million in relation to cancelled Credit Linked Notes
We successfully represented our client in Zhao Hui Fang and another in a case that challenged the application of stamp duty to a residential purchase by a charity. The High Court of Singapore ruled that the additional buyer’s stamp duties regime does not apply to residential property purchased by a charity. The landmark decision had wide-ranging impact on charities and the non-profit sector in Singapore.
Our Singapore team successfully acted for LG Electronics Inc. in a trade mark opposition filed by headphones manufacturer Beats Electronics, LLC against the registration of the mark 'QuadBeat' before the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, securing a favourable decision.
We are advising an Azerbaijani oil company in a dispute relating to an off-shore drilling platform.
Withers represented an individual in a dispute involving a successful limited liability company that provided global financial consulting and advisory services. Withers successfully avoided a public lawsuit and negotiated a successful resolution. This complex matter involved parties in the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore and Belize.
Withers worked to successfully dismiss an action filed in California against a Japanese citizen in the United States. The action mistakenly named the citizen in a U.S. personal injury matter, although the intended party was a person of the same name.
We are pursuing a Turkish company and an entrepreneur in respect of fraud perpetrated on a Swiss trading group.
Withers represented one of the heirs to a publishing fortune in a case arising out of a dispute with his children over the administration of various family trusts. Withers successfully resolved the dispute through alternative dispute resolution in California avoiding a costly court battle and prolonged family discord.
Advising Swiss trustees and a Swiss bank on the recovery of assets relating to unravelling an appointment upon the discovery of a fraud on a family trust and on the assets in the estate of the deceased settler in the sum of approximately £400m.
The LIBOR scandal resulted in losses for many businesses, and we have brought a £5 million plus claim against a major UK bank on behalf of the former directors and owners of a group of companies. The companies suffered losses from interest rate hedging products which were missold to them.
Following the alleged theft of nine old master paintings from a European art gallery, we represented insurance underwriters in a fraud claim relating to the art work, and resulting in a successful settlement.
In a complex international dispute involving one of the oldest multi-sectorial brands in Belarus (our client), we defended a $1.6m claim brought by a Ukrainian-owned company, relating to company officers' authority to conclude contracts.
In a case involving claims of misrepresentation, breach of contract, breach of duty in tort, and misselling of an interest rate swap, we are representing a family-owned property investment company seeking substantial damages from a major UK bank.
We were instructed by a Caribbean Government to advise on a range of international investment law issues.
In a high stakes dispute, with a £15m claim by Marathon Asset Management against our client and another defendant, our strategy in the case secured a nominal order of £1, with the High Court also ordering Marathon to pay towards our client's costs.
A complex international case has seen us acting in a dispute between parties in Italy and a former CIS region state. The case involves a possible arbitration in Paris over a contract under English law, as well as questions of the English court's ability to grant relief in the case.
An ex-director of our client, a Cypriot company, defrauded the business of $6m. Following a case in Cyprus, we stepped in to obtain a freezing injunction from the London courts, and then secured a final charging order over a London property to recoup the losses.
Our client suffered losses when they engaged a law firm to advise on their exit from the partnership of a hedge fund. We represented him on a claim of more than £5 million against the law firm for negligent advice.
When a property developer discovered that it did not have full rights of access to a development site it was acquiring, it turned to us for assistance, and we have represented it in a negligence claim against its former solicitor.
A world renowned hotel entered into an interest rate swap with several banks, but ended up suffering significant losses. The hotel's owners approached us to pursue the law firm who represented them in a professional negligence claim. The case was listed for a five week High Court trial, but we arranged a settlement before the trial commenced.
We were a longstanding adviser to Bar Mutual, advising the organisation on claims by the barristers it represents, or on third party proceedings brought by solicitors facing professional negligence claims. We also directly advised barristers protected by Bar Mutual.
During our client's highly sensitive and hard-fought divorce, our Media and Reputation team played a key role to ensure that our client's public reputation was protected in the face of significant media interest. The team also provided counsel on communications from our client, which were required to uphold his rights in balance with the other party's.
In an LCIA arbitration concerning a high profile real estate project in Moscow, worth $160m, and involving complex issues of fraud, illegality and a combination of Russian, Kazakh and BVI law, we have taken an innovative approach to calculating the damages at stake.
We achieved our client's aims in a £1m+ claim against their former solicitors, after a VAT dispute with HMRC was mishandled, resulting in substantial losses. The matter was settled through mediation.
When our client suffered a bank mandate fraud, it severely affected his art dealership business. We put a team in London and Hong Kong into action to freeze the stolen funds, held in a Hong Kong bank, and were able to retrieve them for our client.
Our client faced claims to his million pound London property, as a result of a massive fraud claim relating to a member of his family. Working to protect his property rights, we secured a landmark ruling from the Court of Appeal to enable him to challenge the claim.
We represented the chief financial officer of a software company in connection with a SEC investigation. The commission was alleging that there had been accounting improprieties on our client's watch, but we were able to obtain a favourable resolution of all charges.
An Italian luxury yacht builder consulted Withers when it found itself in dispute with a Maltese client over a shipbuilding agreement. This was essentially a contractual dispute involving delay, construction in accordance with strict shipbuilding specifications and a claim for liquidated damages.
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