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Any suspicion of fraud in a trust naturally causes great concern. If you've been affected by an alleged fraud - whether as a trustee, executor, fiduciary or trust beneficiary - we can advise on the best strategy.One of the main examples of fraud is a sham trust, set up to hide money from creditors, tax authorities or even due to a divorce. Or it might be an allegation of wrongdoing by a trustee or executor: perhaps someone has stolen from a trust, or there are concerns about ill-gotten gains going into it.
In some cases, deploying technical arguments to challenge the formal setup of the trust can achieve the best results. Here, our litigators’ in-depth knowledge of trusts can be a valuable weapon in a client’s arsenal.
We also have significant experience of attacking and defending trusts and trustees and offer guidance on how to build robust structures and prevent potential threats arising in the future.
However complex the situation, whether you are directly or indirectly affected by fraud, we offer pragmatic advice regarding proof and evaluation of evidence, as well as the available remedies, that will help you to decide on the best course of action. With lawyers located around the world, we work as a single global team to get information and if necessary obtain and enforce a court order.
Advising a private trust company in the BVI holding significant interests in energy businesses in Eastern Europe on issues arising from allegations of fraud and misappropriation of assets within the businesses. We guided the trustees through difficulties that arise where underlying businesses and individuals are subject to fraud allegations and where court injunctions are causing problems for the administration of the trusts.
Proceedings were commenced in the BVI, Switzerland and Italy around a BVI trust where trustees had distributed to beneficiaries in accordance with a letter of wishes of the deceased settlor, who had died in Italy. Disappointed heirs of a Swiss succession pact said that the trustees had acted fraudulently in not abiding by the succession pact. Withers advised the beneficiaries including on the conflicts of laws issues arising.
Following the Madoff scandal we advised the investment arm of a bank trustee with numerous Central and Latin American settlors / beneficiaries who had exposure to Madoff.
An unreported case centered on a civil compensation claim by the US Department of Justice and resulted in the freezing of assets in Jersey which were held by a Nevis trustee. Proceedings were issued in Jersey and Nevis.
A Protector misrepresented to Swiss trustees that the primary beneficiaries had agreed that very substantial trust assets should be appointed out to a secondary beneficiary (a close relative of his) on the basis that he would provide for the primary beneficiaries. Later the primary beneficiaries requested the trustees for help. Withers advised the trustees on taking steps to set aside the transfer to him.
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.
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