GIR 100 2021

Linklaters

Linklaters

Professional notice

Linklaters is no stranger to acting on complicated investigations, as exemplified by it helping US bank Goldman Sachs reach a landmark US settlement over the 1MDB scandal.

The firm

Linklaters’ investigations practice has over 80 partners and 300 lawyers in total to advise companies caught up in government probes. Linklaters has put together a team of partners with extensive experience representing major companies and financial institutions.

The firm has a number of well-known white-collar investigation professionals, such as partner Alison Saunders who previously served as director of public prosecutions – the most senior public prosecutor in England and Wales. She is listed in GIR’s 2021 edition of Women in Investigations.

Based in London, Saunders works alongside Michael Bennett, who heads the firm’s global dispute resolution practice; Martyn Hopper, the former head of enforcement at the FCA’s predecessor, the FSA; Satindar Dogra, who heads the London dispute resolution practice; and counsel Elly Proudlock, who featured in GIR Women in Investigations in 2015 and in the GIR 40 under 40 in 2014

Over in the US, the firm is home to Adam Lurie, a former senior DOJ lawyer, who leads the firm’s US dispute resolution practice in Washington, DC. A client described Lurie accessible, insightful and sensitive to internal decision makers.

Also in Washington, DC is Doug Davison, a former senior SEC official. He works with partner Douglas Tween, who splits his time with the New York office and is head of Linklaters’ government enforcement and cartel practice. The firm bolstered its DC office by hiring partner Richard Smith from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in August. He specialises in all manner of white-collar work and also employment litigation.

Linklaters’ US practice lost one of its heavy hitters when former partner Matthew Axelrod departed to become special counsel at the White House in January 2021. Tom Shropshire meanwhile, who was a partner in the New York and London offices and formerly the global head of Linklaters’ US practice, left to become general counsel at London-based beverage company Diageo in February.

Linklaters has many more standout partners around the world. The firm has a strong disputes practice in Paris, co-led by partner Arnaud de La Cotardière and featuring white-collar specialist partner Jean Charles Jaïs. However, Thomas Amico, former co-head of Linklaters’ Parisian white-collar practice, left to join boutique firm Delsol Avocats in October.

Elsewhere in Europe, Kerstin Wilhelm is the co-head of Linklaters’ multidisciplinary crisis management and compliance group in Germany and a dispute resolution partner in Munich.

Jelita Pandjaitan leads the Asia dispute resolution practice and is based in Singapore. Her recent work includes acting on parallel regulatory investigations in Singapore and Hong Kong and she routinely represents financial institutions.

All in all, the firm has five nominees listed in Who’s Who Legal: Investigations. Dogra and Proudlock are listed in that category as well as Who’s Who Legal: Business Crime Defence.

Recent events

The firm has recently acted for several financial institutions accused of misconduct.

Linklaters was one of several firms that helped US investment bank Goldman Sachs reach its historic $2.9 billion settlement with authorities in four countries in October 2020. It resolved the bank’s role in the bribery and embezzlement scheme involving Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB. The resolution came after Goldman Sachs signed a $3.9 billion settlement with Malaysia a few months prior over the matter. In total, Goldman Sachs agreed to pay $6.4 billion to resolve the 1MDB probes.

Over in Europe, Linklaters advises UK bank Metro Bank in investigations by the FCA and the Prudential Regulation Authority over its regulatory reporting systems and the timing and content of its market disclosures. Metro Bank announced that it was under investigation in February 2019, a month after it disclosed an accounting error that reduced its market value from £2.1 billion to £1.1 billion.

Linklaters also handles complex bribery cases. GIR reported that Linklaters is acting on behalf of German engineering company Bilfinger as it attempts to hold former executives responsible for failing to prevent bribery that sparked investigations in the US and Germany. German newspaper Handelsblatt reported in March 2020 that the company had received €16.75 million in damages from former executives. 

Network

The firm has white-collar partners in London, Washington, DC, New York, Paris, Frankfurt, Lisbon, Brussels, Singapore and more.

Clients

Linklaters boasts a long list of well-known companies among its client repertoire, including Siemens, Air France Och-Ziff, and banks such as the Royal Bank of Scotland, UBS and Barclays.

Track record

Some of Linklaters’ most notable past achievements centre on allegations of bribery. It advised ICBC Standard Bank in connection with a foreign bribery investigation that resulted in the UK’s first-ever deferred prosecution with the SFO in November 2015. The bank was ordered to pay a $25 million fine to resolve allegations of bribery in Tanzania.

In another notable case, Lurie led the team advising the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) as it settled a bribery investigation with Brazilian engineering company Odebrecht and its subsidiary CNO in 2019. The IDB debarred CNO for six years and Odebrecht committed to donate $50 million to NGOs and charities as part of the September 2019 enforcement action.

Linklaters is a global law firm founded in 1838. We number over 500 partners and over 2370 qualified lawyers working out of 31 offices in 21 countries around the world. We have alliances with leading law firms Allens and Webber Wentzel in Australia and South Africa respectively and we pride ourselves on being able to meet our clients’ requirements in every corner of the world. Our people are our greatest asset and we believe that we recruit and develop an exceptional, diverse team which is empowered to deliver the very best service to our clients.  We are our clients’ trusted advisors and we pride ourselves on resolving our clients’ most challenging problems.

Linklaters has been at the forefront of investigations across a variety of sectors and legal specialisms. Our global business crime and investigations team delivers a seamless, “one-stop shop” service to our clients around the world, calling on experts in our ESG, Financial Regulatory, R&I, Competition, TMT (Technology, Media & Telecommunications), Corporate and Finance practices as required. Our knowledge and experience is underpinned by a number of former prosecutors on our team.  We have advised on the most high-profile investigations in legal history, including: acting for News Corporation’s Management and Standards Committee on the News of the World phone hacking case; and advising the administrators of Lehman Brothers on a range of matters arising from the collapse of the bank; and more recently advising a global financial institution in connection with criminal and regulatory investigations relating to the alleged misappropriation of funds raised by 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

Our awards and rankings include being a selected firm in the GIR top 30, 2020 and ranked Tier 1 in the Legal 500 Regulatory investigations and Corporate Crime category.

Website: www.linklaters.com

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