Fraud and Asset Recovery in 2016 and Beyond

As part of the Who’s Who Legal: Asset Recovery 2016 guidebook, I was invited to participate in a roundtable discussion and give my insights about trends and issues facing asset-recovery lawyers and our clients today.

A couple of topics that I have been vocal about recently emerged from the roundtable that I know have deeply affected my practice and that I know my colleagues, especially those in the FraudNet network to which I belong, contend with on a regular basis.

Widening the Civil Route

I feel strongly that in France, we need to widen the path to try fraud cases following a civil route. France is still too restrictive in allowing victims to use civil proceedings to recover their assets. I’ve seen this in other jurisdictions as well.

There are too many hurdles facing victims. Of course, they can pursue the criminal route as French law allows them to be parties to criminal proceedings. But prosecutors often are too overwhelmed with cases and are not in a position to effectively deal with fraud cases, unless a major fraud case is at stake.

To be certain, we are seeing some progress in the frame of civil proceedings, but it is still a difficult battle. The partners in my firm and I will continue raising the awareness of the French judiciary on this topic through articles and conferences. –Read More.

Stéphane Bonifassi, Executive Director of FraudNet, specializes in white-collar crime litigation and complex commercial litigation involving criminal or quasi-criminal conduct. In recent years, he has regularly represented individuals as well as corporations, victims of fraud. His practice is international and often involves mutual legal assistance issues. He has also developed a strong practice in the field of confiscation and forfeiture, freezing orders, attachments and similar measures mostly involving international parties and raising issues such as transnational enforcement of judgments and orders, lifting the corporate veil or state immunities.

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.