Legal Business

Revolving doors: DWF and McGuireWoods hire in London as Jones Day, Hogan Lovells and BonelliErede expand worldwide

Firms have been busy recruiting in London and abroad, as McGuireWoods and DWF made key London appointments and Jones DayHogan Lovells and BonnelliErede bolstered their international practices.

In a real estate move, DWF hired Mark Shepherd to its London office as partner after two years at Paul Hastings. He previously worked at DLA Piper and legacy SJ Berwin.

Shepherd has over 15 years’ experience in commercial real estate transactional work. Major mandates include advising the Crown Estate on its Norges Bank Real Estate Management partnership for its £1bn Regent Street portfolio.

Toby Askin, DWF’s UK real estate head said: ‘This is a key appointment in our strategic plan to continue building upon the success of our real estate profile within London, the UK and internationally.’

Still in the City, McGuireWoods hired ex-King & Wood Mallesons partner Lorraine Vaz to its debt finance practice.

Vaz is experienced on both lender and borrower financings work, with banks, debt funds and financial institutional clients. Vaz’s appointment is the firm’s third lateral hire since February, following Jeremy Davis from K&L Gates and Jennifer Kafcas from O’Melveny & Myers.

McGuireWoods debt finance chair Raj Natarajan said Vaz’s experience ‘opens a world of opportunity for McGuireWoods to satisfy the continuing movement toward U.S.-style leveraged finance in the United Kingdom.’ ‘Institutionally, McGuireWoods is built to fill that void’, he added.

On the continent, Italian firm BonelliErede brought in two senior arbitration partners to its Milan office. Herbert Smith Freehills’ (HSF) head of public international law Laurence Shore and ICC International Court of Arbitration Secretary General in Paris Andrea Carlevaris will join the firm as partners on 1 September 2017.

Shore, who was based in HSF’s New York office, will co-lead BonelliErede’s international arbitration practice from Milan. Carlevaris is re-joining BonellieErede after being a partner at the firm between 2009 and 2012.

Elsewhere in Europe, Jones Day hired antitrust partner Jürgen Beninca to its Frankfurt office. Beninca has almost 20 years’ experience in antitrust law and is also versed in internal investigations and anticorruption matters.

In Asia, Hogan Lovells expanded in Beijing, appointing corporate partner Larry Sussman, who joined 13-years at Los Angeles firm O’Melveny & Myers.

Patrick Sherrington, Hogan Lovells’ Asia Pacific and Middle East regional managing partner commented: ‘Larry is a talented and well established partner in the market in China. He has a very respectable client base acting across financial services, private equity, and the entertainment sector. Larry will be a valuable member of our corporate team in China.’

Legal Business

Revolving doors: Hogan Lovells and Gibson Dunn expand on continent, McGuireWoods appoint to London, Winston to Dubai

Firms have strengthened their global practices, as Hogan Lovells appointed a key Paris partner, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher recruited in Munich, McGuireWoods hired in London and Winston & Strawn brought in a new Dubai managing partner.

Hogan Lovells have recruited heavyweight antitrust Francois Brunet in Paris, after a 26-year career building Cleary’s antitrust practice. His practice focuses on complex merger cases and cartel investigations.

Hogan Lovell’s global head of antitrust, competition and economic regulation Suyong Kim said Brunet ‘has won the loyalty of clients through his strategic acumen and his capacity to bring innovative solutions to the handling of their antitrust issues’.

Brunet chaired the Competition Commission of the French Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce since 2010, and has been a member of the board of the French Competition Lawyers Association since its creation.

McGuireWoods continued the expansion of its corporate practice in London with the addition of M&A partner Jeremy Davis from K&L Gates.

Davis’ M&A experience has involved US investments in Europe, amid the metals, packaging, manufacturing and information technology sectors. Last year, he advised Cyprus’ leading pharmaceutical company Remedica’s shareholders on their sale to South Africa-based Ascendis Health for €335m.

Chair of McGuireWoods M&A, corporate and technology department Scott Westwood said Davis’ ‘full-service M&A capabilities and extensive cross-border experience strengthen our corporate practice in London to the benefit of our U.S. and European clients’.

Gibson Dunn hired Sebastian Schoon from Ashurst as a financer partner in the firm’s Munich office. Schoon has been a partner at Ashurst since 2011, and his practice focuses on banking and finance law.

‘Following the recent opening of our Frankfurt office, Schoon’s addition will be a vital step in building our transactional practices in Germany,’ said Gibson Dunn’s chairman and managing partner Ken Doran.

Meanwhile over in Dubai, Winston & Strawn took on Eversheds’ UAE managing partner and head of dispute resolution Ben Bruton in the firm’s litigation department in the area.

During his tenure as UAE Managing Partner, Bruton led the development of Eversheds’ Dubai office over a three-year period. His practice involves high value arbitration and court proceedings in the UAE and internationally across sectors like financial services, engineering, energy and infrastructure, real estate, and construction.

Winston’s Middle East managing partner Campbell Steedman said his arrival ‘will add significant value as we continue to expand upon the strong business connections between Dubai and other global business hubs to better serve our clients.’

Legal Business

A £2.2bn claim: Stephenson Harwood and McGuireWoods act as Vincent Tchenguiz files against Grant Thornton and Kaupthing


Following on from the high profile Tchenguiz brothers’ lawsuit against the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in July this year, Vincent Tchenguiz has filed a further claim, this time for £2.2bn against five parties who allegedly conspired to instigate the failed investigation led by the SFO into the Tchenguiz brothers, Consensus Business Group (CBC) and the Tchenguiz Family Trust (TFT).

The five defendants are chartered accountants Grant Thornton and two of their partners Stephen John Akers (recovery and reorganisation practice) and Hossein Hamedani (forensic investigations), the winding down Kaupthing Bank, and former Kaupthing’s resolution committee member Johannes Runar Johannsson, currently partner at JP Attorneys, and a member of the bank’s winding up committee.

McGuireWoods litigator Hardeep Nahal is advising Vincent Tchenguiz, while Stephenson Harwood’s commercial litigation partner Sean Jeffrey is representing the trustees. Counsel being instructed are Romie Tager QC of Selborne Chambers, Jonathan Crystal of Goldsmith Chambers, Zacharias Miah at ASW6 Chambers and Harris Bor at Wilberforce Chambers.

The three individual defendants allegedly conspired to put Tchenguiz and the TFT companies under acute commercial and financial pressure to settle a £1.6bn Commercial Court claim brought against Kaupthing. They are also accused of effectively controlling the SFO investigation, which led to search warrants being issued on 7 March 2011 against Tchenguiz and his arrest. Grant Thornton and Kaupthing are accused of being liable for the individuals’ actions.

Tchenguiz is seeking damages estimated at £2.2bn, including aggravated and exemplary damages for claims including conspiracy by unlawful means and malicious prosecution. The case will take place in the Commercial Court

The claims come after the SFO’s initial investigation into the collapse of Icelandic bank Kaupthing led to warrants for a public raid on the Tchenguiz’ properties involving 135 police officers. The investigations were, however, dropped and in judicial review proceedings in June 2012, the High Court overturned the search warrants used by the SFO to seize documents and files, on the basis they were improperly obtained.

In July 2014, the SFO paid a total of £4.5m to both Vincent and Robert Tchenguiz – of which £3m was awarded to Vincent.

Tchenguiz said: ‘It is clear to me that the SFO was deliberately manipulated into investigating me by people who intended to cause me harm and were driven by commercial gain and self-interest. This was, I believe, quite simply, a conspiracy by the defendants to use a criminal investigative authority for their own personal ends and to cause irreparable harm to me and my business interests and I intend to see them held fully accountable.

Nahal, who issued the claim, added: ‘We are very pleased to be issuing this claim which is key to Vincent Tchenguiz’s efforts to achieve justice in relation to events going back many years which have caused him substantial damage. The claim brings into the light extremely serious allegations as to how private parties were able to manipulate regulatory and other procedures to cause damage to Vincent Tchenguiz and his interests and for their own commercial ends. These are issues which should be thoroughly examined through the court process.’

In response, a Grant Thornton spokesperson said, ‘Grant Thornton UK LLP, Steve Akers and Hossein Hamedani deny all of the claims made. We have all acted appropriately and in accordance with our professional responsibilities and legal obligations throughout. After years of speculation in the media, we will now have the opportunity to defend ourselves through the court process. Given that this is now a matter of legal proceedings, we will not be commenting further at this time.’