Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

GIR Awards 2018 – Boutique or Regional Practice of the Year

24 September 2018

GIR Awards 2018 – Boutique or Regional Practice of the Year

The 2018 GIR Awards will take place on the evening of 25 October after the GIR Live DC Fall conference, scheduled for that afternoon.

The black-tie event will provide a chance to celebrate the investigations lawyers and practices that have impressed most in the past year, and is held in aid of Swawou Layout Girl’s School in Kenema, Sierra Leone, which helps disadvantaged girls in the region.

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 nominees for Boutique or Regional Practice of the Year are:

Navacelle

This Paris-based boutique is run by Stéphane de Navacelle, who is qualified to practice in France and the US. His background as a defence lawyer with experience of working in the US, a leader in white-collar enforcement, and France, which has recently emerged as an important jurisdiction, means Navacelle is a popular choice for clients facing all types of cross-border investigations from foreign bribery to Libor manipulation. It is telling that a string of high-powered practitioners from multiple jurisdictions, including the US, UK, Italy, Russia and Brazil, have said that Navacelle is a standout lawyer.

Mattos Filho Veiga Filho Marrey Jr

São Paulo-based Mattos Filho, which has developed a strong compliance and investigations practice in recent years, played an important role in guiding Keppel Offshore & Marine, a Singapore oil rig builder, to resolve the Brazilian part of a multilateral investigation into allegations of bribery. Keppel agreed to pay $422 million in December to resolve charges by authorities in the US, Brazil and Singapore that it conspired to bribe officials at Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petrobras. Keppel paid 50% of the fine to Brazilian authorities and the deal was given final approval in April. Mattos Filho partners Renato Tastardi Portella, Kevin Altit, Thiago Luís Sombra and Thiago Jabor Pinheiro worked on the case.

Veil Jourde and Soulez Larivière & Associés (joint)

The firms cooperated to resolve Société Générale’s liabilities in France, following an investigation by French and US authorities into allegations that the bank bribed government officials in Libya. Société Générale paid $585 million in separate deferred prosecution agreements as part of the first-ever joint resolution by US and French authorities, announced in June. Veil Jourde’s Jean Veil and Soulez Larivière & Associés’s Astrid Mignon Colombet were instrumental in guiding the bank to one of France’s first deferred prosecution agreements.

Pinheiro Neto Advogados

The second Brazilian firm in GIR’s shortlist – an illustration of how far the country has come in just a few years – is Pinheiro Neto Advogados. After several ups and downs, the firm’s client, Dutch oil services company SBM Offshore, was finally able to resolve legacy allegations in Brazil that it bribed officials at state-controlled oil business Petrobras. The company paid $299 million in July as part of a leniency deal with Brazil’s administrative authorities and then $48 million in September to address charges by prosecutors. The resolutions mean SBM Offshore can move on after long-running investigations by Dutch, US and Brazilian authorities. Pinheiro partners José Alexandre Buaiz Neto, Celso Cintra Mori and Francisco Werneck Maranhão worked on the Brazilian resolution.

Rajah & Tann

The past few years have seen enforcement authorities resolve settlements jointly with the US for the first time, including Brazil, Switzerland and Sweden. In December 2017, Singapore joined that list when it worked with US and Brazilian authorities to resolve bribery charges against oil rig builder Keppel Offshore & Marine. The local firm that helped make that happen was Rajah & Tann, a regional outfit that covers Southeast Asia. The lead lawyer advising Keppel on its resolution was the highly respected Andre Yeap. He helped broker a conditional warning, in lieu of prosecution, by Singapore’s Attorney General’s Chambers and the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau. Singapore took a 25% cut of the $422 million global settlement despite the country’s then-outdated legal framework to go after companies. Since that settlement, Singapore has introduced its own deferred prosecution agreement system.

Registration for the awards is now open.

If you have worked on any of the nominated settlements but are not listed please contact us here.