TEAM

A tight-knit and international team

« Our technical and international expertise-as-well-as our experience in the fields of fraud, asset recovery, corruption and economic crime-make us, within our speciality, the equal of much larger firms. »

Stéphane Bonifassi

Stéphane BONIFASSI

Lawyer

T: + 33 (0) 1.82.28.10.81

M: s.bonifassi@bonifassi-avocats.com

Admitted to the Paris Bar in 1991.

International litigator Stéphane Bonifassi directs actions in the areas of complex white-collar crime and asset recovery. Over nearly 30 years representing individuals, corporations and states victimized by economic crimes, he has often acted as a strategist behind the scenes in high-stakes litigation.

Who’s Who Legal: Asset Recovery 2019 recommends him as “one of the premier figures in the European asset recovery market, known for his remarkable ability when it comes to criminal investigations requiring asset recovery.”

Valued for his progressive and creative approach to international parties and complex, cross-border issues, Stéphane regularly assumes a leading role in cases of business crime and fraud, economic sanctions, corruption, forfeiture and confiscation, as well as transnational enforcement of judgments and internal investigations. The Best Lawyers in France© 2020, in partnership with Les Échos, highlights his criminal defense practice.

Who’s Who Legal: Asset Recovery 2015 described Stéphane as the “dean of the Parisian Bar.” He is also knowledgeable about the United States’ Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and similar laws of other nations. His peers described him as “experienced, pragmatic and responsive – a brilliant analyst,” in Chambers Europe (White-Collar Crime) 2019.

Demonstrating his commitment to the war against financial crime, Stéphane co-founded The International Academy of Financial Crime Litigators. The Academy is a collaboration of experienced litigation professionals and distinguished academics working to generate solutions in economic crime cases.

Stéphane received Plume D’Or awards from Les Plumes De L’Economie & Du Droit in 2015 and 2016 for his written contributions to Le Monde on international corruption and on the benefits of Deferred Prosecution Agreements to France’s legal system, respectively.

 

chambers litigation support ranking 2023

Work Highlights

  • Represented a French company whose US subsidiary is the target of a DOJ probe and is monitoring an internal investigation into the French entity.
  • Advised counsel to a deposed Eastern European president and marshaled court action to jettison an Interpol red notice.
  • Guided colleagues in the United States and Singapore to challenge criminal freeze orders within the context of the French mutual assistance system, in the defense of companies accused of carbon tax fraud schemes.
  • Collaborated with colleagues in France and four other nations to domesticate a $60 million judgment involving assets hidden in an opaque maze of shell companies.
  • Prevented the extradition and secured the freedom of a Chinese national who was caught up in the investigation of a €17 million impersonation fraud against a multinational.
  • Extricated directors of a $2 billion Bernard Madoff feeder fund from implication in his massive Ponzi scheme.

Publications

  • Marie Poirot and Stéphane Bonifassi, French Chapter: GIR Know-How Extradition, August 2019
  • Stéphane Bonifassi, Arbitration now requires knowledge of criminal law principles, Compliance and Enforcement Blog, July 2019
  • Stéphane Bonifassi, French Chapter: Global Legal Group’s Anti Money Laundering, June 2019
  • Thibault Stumm and Stéphane Bonifassi, Non Bis in Idem in the International Arena and Distinction between Corruption and Trading in Influence, International Review of Compliance and Business Ethics, June 2019

Honors

  • Premier Secrétaire de la Conférence du Barreau de Paris, 1994
  • Plume D’Or award recipient from Les Plumes De L’Economie & Du Droit, 2015 and 2016

Memberships

  • Co-Founder of the International Academy of Financial Crime Litigators
  • Former president of the criminal law commission and member of the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA)
  • Past co-chair of the Business Crime Committee and member of the International Bar Association

Education

  • Master’s degree in Law, Université Paris II Panthéon-Assas, 1989
  • Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, Sciences Po (Paris), 1984

Spoken Languages

French, English

Julie BASTIEN

Lawyer

T : + 33 (0)1.82.28.10.80

M : j.bastien@bonifassi-avocats.com

Admitted to the Paris Bar in 2023

Julie Bastien specializes in international and European law. She notably intervenes in litigation related to international sanctions and in proceedings concerning the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards and foreign judgments. Her experience also includes criminal law cases in cross-border contexts.

Prior to joining the BONIFASSI Avocats, Julie gained experience in public international law and in European law in several international organisations and in the legal service of the European Commission. She also worked on criminal law and international civil service law during internships as part of her Paris Bar School.

Julie enjoys working in multicultural environments; she has had the opportunity to work and live in Brussels and Geneva before settling in Paris. She took theatre lessons for eight years and practices indoor climbing.

Work Highlights

  • Contributed to contesting individual restrictive measures before the General Court of the European Union.
  • Worked on the recognition of foreign judgments and awards against sovereign States.

Education

  • CAPA, law, EFB (Paris Bar School), (Paris, France), 2022
  • Master’s degree with honours in International Public Law, Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris, France), 2019
  • Master’s degree with honours in Public International and European Law, Paris Saclay University (Sceaux, France), 2018
  • One semester exchange program at Lapland University (Rovaniemi, Finland), 2017
  • Double Bachelor’s Degree in Law and English, Versailles and Saint-Quentin en Yvelines University (Saint-Quentin en Yvelines, France), 2017

    Spoken languages

French, English

Victoire CHATELIN

Lawyer

T : + 33 (0)1.82.28.10.82

M : v.chatelin@bonifassi-avocats.com

Admitted to the Paris Bar in 2018.

Admitted to the New York Bar in 2017.

Victoire Chatelin advises global clients facing complex, multi-jurisdictional litigation, and reputation risk.

Her practice focuses on white-collar criminal defense with an international dimension and asset recovery including international cases where she works in coordination with a global team.

Victoire has developed the Internal Investigations practice of the firm. She acts as investigator or as coordinator of the investigation.

Victoire represents corporate entities, States, liquidators, and individuals, moving seamlessly between civil party and defense perspectives.

She is the social media coordinator of the French chapter of the Women’s White-Collar Defense Association, which aims to advance women in the legal profession around the world.

She is an officer of the IBA Asset Recovery Committee.

Victoire coordinates the working group of the French National Bar Association (CNB) on Internal Investigations.

Prior to joining BONIFASSI Avocats, Victoire served in the corporate and energy departments of a major English law firm, working on foreign investment issues, as well as on business and human rights-related matters. She also worked on general criminal law and white-collar criminal defense matters for a French boutique.

Victoire is a former competitive ice skater who spent her childhood in France and the U.S. She attributes her love for foods and wines from around the world to her sojourn in France and her passion for sports, running and dancing to her American upbringing. She also enjoys traveling.

 

Work Highlights

  • Represents the head of a company under criminal investigation in France for corruption and money laundering.
  • Working on issues related to fraud, enforcement of foreign decisions and recovering the property of a foreign company.
  • Advising the president of a sports committee who is undergoing a criminal investigation for corruption.
  • Representing a government, pursuing fraudsters in an asset-recovery case involving a state bank defrauded of millions of euros: by demonstrating the fraud, recovering assets, enforcing judgments, and dismantling the complex fraudulent arrangements.
  • Advised a company in the negotiations of a CJIP.
  • Represented a bank manager in an internal investigation related to a tax fraud case in Germany.
  • Assists a Russian citizen subject to a criminal investigation for money laundering following a cyberattack involving crypto assets.
  • Represents a lawyer prosecuted for tax fraud laundering.

Publications

Memberships

  • Women’s White-Collar Defense Association (WWCDA) – Chapter Social media coordinator for the Paris Chapter
  • American Bar Association
  • International Bar Association – Officer of the Asset Recovery Committee
  • European Criminal Bar Association

Education

  • Master of Laws (LL.M.) with distinctions, specializing in International Law with a certificate in Human Rights Law, from Georgetown University (Washington, D.C., U.S.A.), 2016
  • Master’s degree with honors in International Public Management from Sciences Po (Paris, France), 2016
  • Master’s degree with high honors in Business Law from University Paris-Est Créteil Val de Marne (Créteil, France), 2014
  • Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) with high honors in Common Law from Sheffield Hallam University (Sheffield, United Kingdom), 2014

Spoken Languages

French, English, German

Maria DERGACI

Lawyer

T: +33 (0)1.82.28.10.80

M: m.dergaci@bonifassi-avocats. com

Admitted to the Paris Bar in 2024.

Maria Dergaci specializes in white-collar and financial crime. She also is equipped to handle international enforcement and asset recovery cases.

During her formal training, Maria obtained a bi-license in French-Russian law, giving her a command of the legal vocabulary, as well as substantive law, in those jurisdictions. She is especially attuned to the intricacies of white collar criminal law.

Before joining BONIFASSI Avocats, Maria acquired experience in business litigation at a Parisian law firm. Her six months with the public prosecutor’s office of the Versailles judicial court sharpened her skills in preparation for a criminal law practice.

Maria played the violin for eight years and for five years she was a dedicated swimmer. Now she spends some of her off-hours in the theater world.

Work Highlights

  • Participated in counseling a bank in a multi-billion case involving embezzlement and money laundering.
  • Helped represent an individual who was under criminal investigation for organized money laundering; the funds came from a cyber fraud incident carried out via cryptocurrencies.
  • With others, advised and represented an individual in connection with an extradition request issued by the United Kingdom.

Education

  • CAPA, HEDAC (High school of legal advisors), (Versailles, France), 2023
  • Master 2 in business litigation (DACA), University of Paris Nanterre, 2021
  • Master 1 in business law, University of Paris Nanterre, 2020
  • Bi-license in Russian and French law, University of Paris Nanterre, 2019

Spoken Languages

French, Romanian, Russian, English

Elena FEDOROVA

Lawyer – Of Counsel

T : + 33 (0)1.82.28.10.83

M : e.fedorova@bonifassi-avocats.com

Admitted to the Paris Bar in 2018.

Admitted to the Russian Bar in 2017.

Elena Fedorova specializes in civil fraud, with an emphasis on asset recovery. She also practices in the area of private international law and handles issues concerning cross-border cooperation in civil matters. While practicing in Russia, Elena focused on international dispute resolution, including major public international law cases and commercial litigation with components of fraud. She also worked in-house and implemented compliance programs for a Russian construction company.

She joined BONIFASSI Avocats in 2014. At the firm, Elena has built a successful practice based on recognition and enforcement of complex foreign judgments and the annulment of arbitral awards. She assists clients with obtaining evidence in France for domestic and foreign proceedings. She is also active in criminal proceedings with an international reach, namely, those involving Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries. She intervenes in litigation related to international sanctions.

Elena teaches law at University Paris II Panthéon Assas and accomplished courses in art history and art sales, she has also been performing in theatre for more than 15 years.

Work Highlights

  • Assisting with the recognition and enforcement in France of a $200 million U.S. judgment involving a bad bank, and civil fraud litigation for asset recovery involving complex corporate structures in offshore jurisdictions.
  • Worked on the recognition and enforcement in France of  Russian insolvency judgments for the purpose of asset recovery, along with obtaining and enforcing  search orders.
  • Represents BTA Bank in criminal proceedings regarding transnational fraud and money-laundering, representing around 12 billion dollars, and including the challenge of a Red Notice and asset recovery.
  • Worked on an international mutual legal assistance in civil proceeding and obtaining evidence for them in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Successfully defended a $50 million arbitral award in the setting aside proceedings with fraud allegations.
  • Contributed to several complex cases in recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments, including many against sovereign entities, and related asset recovery.
  • Represents clients in contesting individual restrictive measures before the courts of the European Union.

Publications

  • Elena Fedorova, A Second Wind for the French Blocking Statute, Asset Recovery Magazine, 2019 n°3
  • Stéphane Bonifassi and Elena Fedorova, In France, Increasing Court Control Over Arbitral Awards, Law360, February 2019
  • Elena Fedorova, Frontière économique aujourd’hui: l’ordre public économique dans les contrats internationaux // Actes de la journée d’études doctorales IREDIES “Etat(s) des frontières” –Pedone éditions, Collection Perspectives internationales, 2017 n°37, pp.147-161 (Economic borders today: Economic Public Policy Exception in International Contracts – in French)
  • Elena Fedorova, La nouvelle loi russe sur l’arbitrage commercial international // Revue de l’arbitrage, 2017 n°4, pp.1271-1290 (New Russian Law on International Commercial Arbitration – in French)
  • Elena Fedorova, The amendments to the Commercial and Civil Procedure Codes of the Russian Federation, International Journal of Procedural Law, 2017 n°2
  • Elena Fedorova, Russian Federal Law on Arbitration, International Journal of Procedural Law, 2016 n°2
  • Elena Fedorova, Russian Federal Law on Jurisdictional Immunities and Federal Constitutional Law on the Priority of the Russian Constitution over Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies, International Journal of Procedural Law, 2016 n°1

Memberships

  • INSOL Europe

Distinctions

  • Women in Restructuring 2023
  • Who’s Who Legal: Asset Recovery 2022
  • Who’s Who Legal: Asset Recovery 2023

Education

  • Certificates in Private International Law from the Hague Academy of International Law (Netherlands, 2011) and Urbino University Carlo-Bo (Italy, 2013)
  • Master’s degree in Private International Law and International Trade Law from Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne University, 2011
  • Diploma in law with honors from the National Research University – Higher School of Economics (Moscow), 2010

Spoken Languages

French, Russian,  English

Pauline HOERNER

Lawyer

T : +33 (0)1.82.28.10.97

M : p.hoerner@bonifassi-avocats.com

Admitted to the Paris Bar in 2021.

Pauline Hoerner specializes in white collar and financial crime, with a focus on cross-border cases, advising global clients facing complex, reputational and multi-jurisdictional litigation risk. Her practice also includes international enforcement, asset recovery, anti-money laundering and tax fraud.

Prior to joining BONIFASSI Avocats, Pauline served in corporate, banking and litigation departments of major English and American law firms. She also worked on general criminal law and white-collar criminal defense matters for a British boutique. Finally, she specialized in business and human rights during her final internship at the Paris Bar School.

Pauline has also had various experiences outside of law firms. Pauline has worked several times in the legal departments of large French and Luxembourg companies. She has worked as an anti-corruption consultant in a consulting firm, for two NGOs and also in international organizations.

During her studies, Pauline devoted considerable time and energy to volunteering for good causes. She has helped refugees by giving them French lessons, administrative aid and assistance with exam preparation. She is also a coach for students from disadvantaged areas who wish to enter French universities.

Pauline is a former competitive swimmer and tap dancer. She also enjoys trekking. In fact, every year she independently organizes treks with groups of 5 to 10 people (GR20 in Corsica, Crossing of the Lofoten Islands, Crossing of the Massif des Fiz, Crossing of the Aiguilles Rouges).

Pauline has also been teaching the “Thinking like a lawyer” course at Sciences Po for 3 years.

Work Highlights

  • She worked for a year with two NGOs fighting against economic crime and in the field of business and human rights. In this context, she created a criteria grid to analyze a law that had just been published in order to help actors from civil society, the legal world and the business community master the law’s intricacies.
  • She conducted an analysis of the law on the duty of vigilance and analyzed about fifty vigilance plans formulated by French companies of the CAC 40 in order to assess the law’s implementation.
  • She assisted a major French electricity company upstream of a project in North Africa, writing a report on the project’s human, geopolitical, reputational, legal and financial risks.
  • She assisted the Tunisian State Litigation Department and GIZ with an audit and consultancy mission to identify, trace and recover assets belonging to former Tunisian leaders.

Publications

Memberships

  • Le Grand Continent, think tank
  • Les Vendredis de la Colline, think tank
  • Ambition Campus, association

Education

  • CAPA, Law, EFB (Paris Bar School), (Paris, France), 2020
  • Master’s degree with honors in International Public Law from Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris, France), 2019
  • One-Semester exchange program at New York University (French Campus, Paris, France), 2018
  • Master’s degree in Economic Law from Sciences Po (Paris, France), 2018
  • One-Semester exchange program at McGill University (Montreal, Canada), 2017
  • Bachelor’s degree in Law and Political Sciences from Sciences Po (Paris, France), 2015
  • One-Year exchange program at Bath University (Bath, United Kingdom), 2015

Spoken Languages
French, English, German

Sinem PAKSUT

Lawyer

T : +33 (0)1.82.28.10.91

M : s.paksut@bonifassi-avocats.com

Admitted to the Paris Bar in 2018

Sinem Paksut specializes in white-collar and financial crime, with a focus on cross-border cases. Her practice also includes international enforcement and asset recovery. She is currently preparing the equivalency diploma in Turkish Law to be admitted to the Istanbul Bar.

She gained experience at several international law firms and at a French boutique firm that specialized in criminal law. In those roles, she worked on major tax fraud cases, including the first French Deferred Prosecution Agreements rendered under Convention d’intérêt judiciaire public. She has also gained experience in civil and commercial litigation and joined BONIFASSI Avocats in 2019.

Sinem lived in many countries before starting her career as a lawyer in Paris. She enjoys traveling and experiencing different cultures. She is also passionate about the arts, literature and cinema.

Work Highlights

  • Advising the public official of a major French telecommunications firm facing psychological harassment accusations before French criminal courts.
  • Representing various banks and companies in fraud litigation.
  • Assisting various clients facing European and International arrest warrants.
  • Assisting various clients facing cross-border money laundering charges, misuse of corporate assets and fraud charges
  • Challenging criminal seizures and confiscation orders

Memberships

  • Association Des Avocats Pénalistes (ADAP)

Education

  • Certificates of Criminology and Criminal Sciences, Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas University, 2016
  • Master’s degree in Financial Law, Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University, 2015
  • Master of Laws (LL.M.), London School of Economics and Political Science, 2014
  • Master’s degree in Business Law, University of Cergy-Pontoise, 2013
  • Master’s degree in Business Law, University of Panthéon-Sorbonne, 2012
  • Bachelor’s degree, Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University, 2011

Spoken Languages

French, English, Turkish

Marie POIROT

Lawyer

T : + 33 (0)1.82.28.10.86

M : m.poirot@bonifassi-avocats.com

Admitted to the Paris Bar in 2018. 

Marie Poirot specializes in criminal law, international criminal law and white-collar crime, with a focus on cross-border cases. Her practice also includes international enforcement and asset recovery, especially in the context of complex fraud.

Marie has considerable experience in criminal proceedings involving multiple jurisdictions. She has particular expertise in international mutual legal assistance, European Arrest Warrants, extradition and transfer of convicted persons, as well as in confiscation, seizure and freezing of assets both in France and abroad. These cases involve working with teams of lawyers and experts from different jurisdictions.

She assists and represents her clients in France and before international bodies, including the European Court of Human Rights and the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files.

Before joining Bonifassi Avocats, she trained in several international and boutique law firms in Paris and Cape Town.

During her geopolitics and law studies, she volunteered for Amnesty International and led projects on extractive industries’ transparency and anti-corruption in Africa with the Legal Resources Centre in South Africa and the Sciences Po Law School Clinic. Also at the Clinic, she was a tutor for several years and worked in partnership with The Carter Center in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In her leisure time, Marie has been actively involved in theater for almost 15 years. She is also an avid ballroom dancer.

Work Highlights

  • Representing a foreign national facing cybercriminality and money-laundering charges in multiple jurisdictions and representing him before French criminal courts.
  • Successfully challenging national and European arrest warrants before French courts.
  • Advising foreign nationals on extradition and handling of red notices risks in France, including successfully obtaining the deletion of Interpol red notices.
  • Aiding a foreign-sentenced French national in his transfer to France.
  • Challenging confiscation orders of properties worth several million euros before French criminal courts.
  • Representing various creditors of a Middle Eastern country and assisting them with the recovery of a claim for more than 30 million euros by proceeding with various asset attachments and post-Loi Sapin 2 actions.

Publications

  • Stéphane Bonifassi and Marie Poirot, French Chapter: GIR Know-How Extradition, August 2019-2023

Memberships

  • European Criminal Bar Association (ECBA)
  • Defence Extradition Lawyers Forum (DELF)
  • Victims of Crime Association of Lawyers (VOCAL)
  • Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA)

Education

  • Master’s degree in White-Collar and International Criminal Law, University of Paris I: Panthéon-Sorbonne University, 2018
  • CAPA, Law, EFB (Paris Bar School), 2017
  • Master’s degree in Economic Law, Sciences Po Law School, 2015
  • Bachelor’s degree, Sciences Po (Paris), 2012

Spoken Languages

French, English, Spanish

Juliette VANDEST

Lawyer

T : + 33 (0)1.82.28.10.80

M : j.vandest@bonifassi-avocats.com

Admitted to the Paris Bar in 2022

Juliette Vandest specializes in criminal law and white-collar and financial crime, with a focus on cross-border cases. Her practice includes national and international enforcement and asset recovery. She has also developed expertise in international criminal law cases.

With a background in criminal law, Juliette gained experience at several criminal law firms. Before joining Bonifassi Avocats, she worked at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

She devoted one year to volunteering for an NGO fighting against international crimes, especially wartime rape crime. During that time, she worked on issues related to the prosecution of international crimes, a subject she addressed in her graduate thesis, questioning the capacity of international institutions and conventions to effectively prosecute war rape.

During her studies, she volunteered for an Eloquence association, which led her to participate in several moot court competitions. Particularly interested in culture, Juliette has studied violin at a conservatory for more than a decade and she is passionate about music, theatre and literature.

She was a lecturer in general criminal law at the University of Paris II Panthéon Assas and teaches corporate law at the University of Paris Nanterre.

Work highlights

  • Helped advise an individual and a company about international and European criminal proceedings.
  • Representation of corporate creditors and assistance in the recovery of their multi-million-euro claims
  • Participated in representing a company in a case involving European asset recovery proceedings.
  • Contributed to counseling a foreign national dealing with a red notice procedure abroad.

Publication

Education

  • CAPA, law, EFB (Paris Bar School), (Paris, France), 2021
  • Master’s degree in criminal law, University of Paris II Panthéon Assas, 2019
  • Master’s degree in criminal law, University of Paris X Nanterre, 2018

Spoken languages

French, English