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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.
Burgess and Broadcasting Investment Group
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.
Defending PR firm, Metigen, and their client in breach of confidence claim with Credit Suisse
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.
Successful discharge of receivership order in BVI
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.
Trustees of two BVI Trusts
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.
Claims of misrepresentation and conspiracy
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.
Dispute involving fraud carried out by the Wirecard entities
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.
Fraud and conspiracy involving 4 jurisdictions
Represented 4 Cypriot companies in proceedings based on fraud and conspiracy commenced by the Singapore-based investment arm of a Japanese public listed company.
One of the biggest cases of corruption involving Singapore's largest oil rig builders
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.
China Environmental Technology Holdings Limited
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.
Two private individuals in the BVI
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.
Dispute resolution between shareholders of an Italian wine consortium
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.
Breach of settlement agreement and failure to pay outstanding invoices
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.
Assistance in appeal proceedings
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.
Unlawful termination of a contract
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.
Interim measure proceedings in relation to alleged unfair competition activity
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.
Alleged unfair competition
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.
Heritage Travel and Tourism Limited
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.
Declaratory relief proceedings against the Vatican
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.
Family business dispute involving fraud and professional negligence
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.
The Government of the Virgin Islands (BVI)
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.
Statements about a rival business
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.
Genesis Technology Limited
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.
Acting in recognition and enforcement proceedings in the DIFC and Dubai local courts
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.
Global enforcement of a £450million English court judgment
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.
Piercing the corporate veil of a Liechtenstein corporate cipher
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.
Potential claim by the Italian State on the ownership of a Roman marble relief
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.
Saudi Arabian contemporary artist in a claim against an auction house and a Dubai based gallery
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.
The return of artworks to the estate of a renowned European artist
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.
Ecuador v Colombia ICJ case
Our litigation team acted in Ecuador v Colombia (Aerial Herbicide Spraying) Counsel of Colombia, in an ICJ case involving issues of international environmental law.
Foreign-based seller of NY property
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.
Italian Brazilian speedboat case
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.
Litigation with five Italian banks
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.
National basketball team
Represented a national basketball team in defending federal claims. The case successfully resolved with full dismissal of claims against the team.
Outside general counsel for luxury brand
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.
Television content distribution rights and contracts
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.
Defending Greek company in Jordan
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.
Defending the holders of USD$200 million in bonds
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
Designated beneficiary of a retirement account
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.
Elder abuse claims
Obtained dismissal of elder abuse claim by dispositive motion without the need for discovery or trial.
Greek national basketball team
Represented Greek national basketball team in defending federal claims. Case successfully resolved with full dismissal of claims against the team.
Greek TV merger leads to arbitration
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.
Heirs to pharmaceutical company fortune
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.
Individual lender based in Russian Federation
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.
Litigation advice for the Ukranian government
We act for the Ukrainian government in relation to a variety of commercial disputes.
Litigation against former business partner in Vietnam
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.
Madof related litigation
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.
Major US accountancy firm in insurance claims
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
Multi-billion dollar hedge fund
Represented high-profile Managing Member of multi-billion dollar hedge fund in litigation involving the termination of an analyst.
Multi-national investment dispute in Ethiopia
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.
Private professional fiduciaries
In several different matters, successfully defended private professional fiduciaries against claims of alleged breach of fiduciary duty.
The Romanian State
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.
USD$3.25 billion fraud lawsuit
Our team successfully defended our client in a USD$3.25 billion lawsuit alleging the fraudulent transfer of assets
Cypriot company in a USD$72 million arbitration
Acting for a Cypriot company with Russian connections in an arbitration claim challenging a USD$72 million London Court of International Arbitration Award
Recovering the proceeds of fraud in the UK and Cyprus
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.
Shareholder’s dispute in Cyprus
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.
US$150 million Russian dispute
Advised a Russian corporation in a dispute to a value of over US$150 million in relation to cancelled Credit Linked Notes
Landmark stamp duty decision on in the High Court of Singapore
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.
LG Electronics Inc
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.
Azerbaijani oil company
We are advising an Azerbaijani oil company in a dispute relating to an off-shore drilling platform.
Complex dispute with a financial consulting firm
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.
Mistaken identity in personal injury case
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.
Heir to a publishing fortune
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.
Swiss Trustees and a Swiss Bank
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.
£5 million LIBOR claim against major bank
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.
Art theft case for underwriters
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.
Belarus $1.6m business dispute
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.
Bringing misselling and breach of contract claims against bank
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.
Caribbean Government international investment law advice
We were instructed by a Caribbean Government to advise on a range of international investment law issues.
Defeating £15m claim, our client pays £1 damages
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.
Italy-CIS dispute over contract and arbitration venue
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.
London courts secure fraudster's assets
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.
Negligence claim for hedge fund exit advice
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.
Negligence claim for misadvised property deal
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.
Professional negligence claim for interest rate swap deal
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.
Representing Bar Mutual and its clients
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.
Reputation protection during a high profile divorce
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.
Russian real estate project in LCIA arbitration
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.
VAT case dispute with former solicitor settled in mediation
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.
International bank mandate fraud
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.
Protecting the home in a family fraud dispute
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.
Chief financial officer of software firm
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.
A luxury yacht builder
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.
Partner | London
Partner | London
Banking and finance
Guan Feng Chen
Partner | Singapore
Guan Feng Chen
Partner | Singapore
Banking and finance
Ivan A. Sacks
Partner | New York
Ivan A. Sacks
Partner | New York
Private client and tax
Senior Consultant | Milan
Senior Consultant | Milan
Head of Greater China Commercial | Hong Kong
Head of Greater China Commercial | Hong Kong
Consultant | Singapore
Consultant | Singapore
Banking and finance
Registered Foreign Lawyer | Hong Kong
Registered Foreign Lawyer | Hong Kong
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ArtWe represent many of the world’s top art collectors, museums and institutions. Our long history enables us to offer advice on everything from structuring transactions to challenging fraud. Find Out More
Aviation and marineBuying a yacht or private jet should be a pleasure, not a headache. Our global team can cover all the technical aspects of each transaction, as well as the tax treatment of luxury assets. Find Out More
Families and family officesFamilies call on us when they want a firm that understands their needs – whether they are looking to pass down wealth, set up and run a family office, or make their mark through philanthropy. Find Out More
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