Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

GIR Awards 2017 – Most Important Court Case 2017

Waithera Junghae

02 October 2017

GIR Awards 2017 – Most Important Court Case 2017 GIR Awards 2016

GIR reveals the shortlists for its third annual awards ceremony, which will be held on 26 October in Washington, DC, at the Four Seasons Hotel.

The 2017 Awards will take place on the evening of 26 October after GIR Live DC Fall conference, which will take place in the morning. The black-tie event will provide a chance to celebrate the investigations lawyers and practices that have impressed most in the past year.

GIR’s top 30 investigations practices will also be unveiled on the night and the event will culminate with a career achievement award for one exceptionally respected and admired individual. 

The nominations for Most Important Court Case 2017 are below.

FCA wins improper identification UK Supreme Court case 

In a judgment handed down on 22 March, the UK Supreme Court held by a majority of 4-1 that Achilles Macris had not been improperly identified in notices published by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. In doing so, the UK’s highest court overturned a Court of Appeal decision on 19 May 2015, which held that Macris, who formerly headed JPMorgan’s main investment office in Europe, had been improperly identified in 2013 settlement notices when he was referred to as “CIO London management”. The judgment of the Supreme Court is a relief for the FCA, which faced the prospect of having to fundamentally reorganise the way it conducts its investigations.

For the FCA

4 Stone Buildings

Jonathan Crow QC in London

Essex Court Chambers

Paul Stanley QC in London

Kokesh v SEC

The US Supreme Court unanimously agreed in a decision released on 5 June that the US Securities and Exchange Commission can no longer claim disgorgement for misconduct that occurred more than five years previous – unless the defendant waives the statute of limitations. The decision strengthens the defence’s position in SEC cases and will dramatically affect the agency’s ability to obtain disgorgement in enforcement actions under securities laws and the FCPA. The US court’s basis for its holding – disgorgement as a “penalty” – had never before been accepted by any lower court. 

Counsel to Kokesh

Jenner & Block

Partner Adam Unikowsky and associate Zachary Schauf in Washington, DC and associate James Dawson in Illinois, Chicago

Marrs Griebel Law

Clinton Marrs in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Paris appeals court: US plea agreement violated defendant's Human Rights

The Paris Court of Appeals ruled in September that British-Israeli lawyer Jeffrey Tesler’s 2011 plea agreement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) violated his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, and that as a result, his prosecution in France is barred. In doing so, the Parisian court has confirmed that an individual’s corruption prosecution in France is precluded by a plea agreement struck between the defendant and authorities in the United States.

Counsel to Tesler

Kiejman & Marembert

Thierry Marembert in Paris

SFO wins ENRC privilege judgment

The SFO won a high-profile battle with Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) on 8 May, after a UK judge ordered the mining company to hand over documents, including interview notes, to the authority as part of its corruption investigation. In doing so, the judge ruled that litigation privilege, which attaches to documents made in reasonable contemplation of litigation, did not apply to communications made by ENRC even though the company anticipated SFO dawn raids and a subsequent criminal investigation. Practitioners have said that this narrow definition litigation privilege will have a chilling effect on internal investigations.

Counsel to the SFO

Eversheds Sutherland

Blackstone Chambers

James Segan in London

Bright Line Law

Jonathan Fisher QC in London

US v Anthony Allen and Anthony Conti

The landmark decision was handed down in July 2017 by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The court ruled that the Fifth Amendment’s prohibition on the use of compelled testimony in US criminal proceedings applies even when a foreign sovereign (in this case the UK) has compelled the testimony. The decision cuts through the very heart of global investigations and directly affects US/UK cooperation.

Counsel to Anthony Allen

Willkie Farr & Gallagher

Partner Michael Schachter in New York is assisted by Casey Ellen Donnelly

Counsel to Anthony Conti

Tor Ekeland

Partners Tor Bernhard Ekeland and Aaron Kyle Williamson in Brooklyn

Kaim Todner Solicitors 

Karen Todner in London 

Registration for the awards ceremony is now open. GIR Awards will be held in aid of Swawou Layout Girl's School in Kenema, Sierra Leone. The school helps disadvantaged girls in the region.