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ICC FraudNet members talk about working for victims in the world of complex fraud, asset tracing and asset recovery.
The biggest misconception people have about complex fraud is:
That the only or the most effective way of pursuing complex fraudsters is via the criminal justice system. There is an array of tools available in the civil arena, which I have deployed numerous times over the past 35 years and which can be equally and often more effective.
The biggest misconception government officials have about complex fraud is:
That using mutual legal assistance is the most appropriate method of seeking relief against fraudsters. This method can often be time-consuming and inflexible, whereas in contrast civil relief offers a dynamic and often quicker alternative. Putting together a dedicated team of specialists in the private sector frequently leads to successful outcomes.
The greatest challenges in asset tracing and recovery in my part of the world are:
Spreading the word about the breadth of tools available to assist the pursuit of overseas proceedings. For example, my firm PCB Litigation regularly works obtaining orders for interim relief in support of foreign proceedings on behalf of overseas lawyers and clients, notwithstanding that there are no ongoing proceedings in England. This can be an extremely effective tool, not least given some of the powers available to the English courts to seek to ensure compliance with court orders.
The greatest challenges worldwide are:
Staying one step ahead of fraudsters. Fraudsters are constantly evolving and using ever more sophisticated techniques to commit fraud and then conceal the proceeds. Fortunately, the legal system has been quick to recognize this and develop an arsenal of weaponry to tackle such persons.
What I tell victims of fraud about the process of asset tracing and recovery is:
There are three key words to successful asset tracing and recovery: strategy, strategy and strategy. It is important at the outset to build a coherent, consistent and co-ordinated strategy, often across multiple jurisdictions, using a skilled bespoke team of specialists in their respective fields. This is one of the prime benefits of Fraudnet, as its members are well versed in this approach.
The most challenging day I’ve faced on a case was:
Facing a strike out application for lack of evidence, I persuaded the Court to adjourn the application pending my inspection (limited to 24hours) in the Middle East of material documents belonging to a State Owned Company. Within that period the relevant documents were located which led to a substantial settlement.
The best day I’ve ever had working on a fraud case was:
Simultaneously recovering assets of a serial fraudster from proceedings in multiple jurisdictions.
I became a member of ICC FraudNet because:
Given the increasingly global nature of fraud and number of victims being targeted, I helped to launch Fraudnet in order to establish an unrivalled team of specialists in fraud, asset tracing, and recovery, money laundering and cybercrime that would be able to assist fraud victims in most jurisdictions throughout the world.
Asset tracing and recovery is a chosen part of my work because:
The cutting edge strategy that is available to fraud practitioners has enabled us to be constructive and successful in implementing methods that lead to recovery of monies wrongfully misappropriated.
Steven Philippsohn is a leading authority on complex international asset recovery. Over the last 30 years his firm has been retained by governmental, national and international organisations. A founding member of ICC FraudNet, he is listed by The Times of London as one of the 100 key influential legal professionals in the United Kingdom.” Among his firm's highlighted work is representation of the primary defendant to a $1 billion claim (one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 cases for 2014 and 2015).
ICC FraudNet is an international network of independent lawyers who are leading civil asset recovery specialists in each country. Recognized by Chambers Global as the world’s leading asset recovery legal network, our membership extends to every continent and the world’s major economies, as well as leading offshore wealth havens that have complex bank secrecy laws and institutions where the proceeds of fraud often are hidden. Founded in 2004 by the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the world’s business organization, FraudNet operates under the auspices of the ICC’s London-based Commercial Crime Services unit.