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Europe Guide
Firm Profile

MONFRINI BITTON KLEIN

Firm Profile

Geneva

  • Profile
  • 3 place du Molard
  • Geneva
  • Geneva
  • Switzerland
  • 1204

Firm profile submitted by MONFRINI BITTON KLEIN

Firm Overview: Founded in Geneva by Enrico Monfrini, the firm became renown in international business law, complex litigation and arbitration. Since the end of the 1990s, Monfrini and Yves Klein developed the asset recovery practice of the firm by representing foreign governments in grand corruption cases, shareholders involved in class actions, defrauded trans-national companies, bankrupt estates, victims of Ponzi schemes, and individuals defrauded by their portfolio managers. With the arrival of David Bitton in 2015, the firm strengthened its white-collar crime and high-stakes divorces practices. As the representative for Switzerland of ICC FraudNet, the leading global network of fraud and asset recovery lawyers, the firm benefits from correspondents in more than 70 jurisdic- tions and litigation support professionals, such as forensic accountants, insolvency practitioners, investigators and litigation funders. The asset-tracing skills and connections of the firm are also at the disposal of individual and corporate clients seeking to enforce commercial, matrimonial or estate claims in Switzerland or elsewhere.
Founder: Enrico Monfrini (of counsel)
Senior partners: Yves Klein & David Bitton
Number of partners: 7
Number of lawyers: 11
Languages: English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish.

MAIN ARE AS OF PRACTICE:  

Asset Recovery:
The firm is best known for being a global leader in conducting worldwide high-value recovery proceedings on behalf of foreign governments, victims of grand corruption and liquidators of insolvent banks. Over its history, the firm has developed innovative asset-recovery techniques, using a unique combination of criminal, mutual assistance, bankruptcy and civil proceedings to obtain compensation for its clients.
Contact: Yves Klein, senior partner (yklein@ mcswisslaw.com)

Federal Republic of Nigeria v Abacha & al. Since 1999, the firm has been litigating and coordinating the ground breaking case of Nigeria v Abacha, where US$2 billion worth of bribes and diverted public funds have been recovered in 10 jurisdictions. An additional US$500 million are frozen and have been forfeited in first instance.
Lead Partners: Enrico Monfrini and Yves Klein

Republic of Tunisia v Ben Ali & al. Since 2011, the firm has been litigating and coordinating the recovery proceedings of Tunisia v Ben Ali & al, in which more than US$100 million have been frozen in six jurisdictions. In 2015, criminal proceedings for money laundering against HSBC were initiated before the Attorney General’s Office of Geneva. This could lead to damages in excess of US$120 million.
Lead Partners: Enrico Monfrini, Yves Klein and James Bouzaglo

Federative Republic of Brazil v Nicolau dos Santos Neto Since 2000, the firm represents the Federative Republic of Brazil in mutual assistance and criminal proceedings in Switzerland, leading to the forfeiture of the Swiss assets of a former Brazilian judge who had assisted in the embezzlement of BRL 169,5 million (US$85 million) to build a new regional labor court in São Paulo. A total of US $6.9 million have been recovered in Switzerland.
Lead Partners: Enrico Monfrini, Yves Klein and James Bouzaglo

Stanford International Bank Ltd (in liquidation), Antigua & Barbuda Stanford International Bank Ltd (SIB) was an Antiguan bank owned and controlled by a US citizen, Robert Allen Stanford, who is responsible for operating the second largest Ponzi scheme in world’s history, leaving 25,000 creditors/ investors with claims totaling in excess of US$7 billion. The Antiguan insolvency proceedings were recognised in Switzerland, and the firm was retained to represent SIB as the plaintiff in the Swiss criminal proceedings for fraud and money laundering that were pending before the Attorney General of Switzerland. It was also retained to bring torts claims against banks liable for money laundering before Swiss civil courts. In 2014, US$10 million were recovered through a criminal forfeiture order. Claims, including claw-back claims, in excess of US$400 million are being litigated in Switzerland before bankruptcy courts.
Lead Partner: Yves Klein

Banca Turco Romana SA, in liquidation, Romania Banca Turco Romana SA (BTR) became insolvent in 2002 following acts of fraud and embezzlement by its directors and shareholders. In 2014, the firm obtained recognition of the Romanian bankruptcy judgment by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA and was authorised to lodge a criminal complaint for money laundering against BTR’s past owners, to bring torts claims against the Swiss banks that facilitated the crimes, and to seek recognition in Switzerland of a US$190 million damages judgment.
Lead Partner: Yves Klein

White-Collar Crime:
The firm represents domestic and foreign clients in complex, trans-national litigation involving civil, criminal and mutual assistance proceedings.
Contact: David Bitton, senior partner (dbitton@ mcswisslaw.com)

Yves Bouvier v Dmitry Rybolovlev & al The firm coordinates the worldwide civil and criminal defence of Yves Bouvier, a prominent art dealer and the owner of the world’s largest art shipping and storage business, in the context of criminal and civil proceedings brought against him in 2015 by Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev in connection with 37 works of art purchased for more than US$2 billion over 10 years. In August 2015, the Court of Appeal of Singapore lifted a US$500 million Mareva Injunction that had been issued in March 2015 against Yves Bouvier. Hong Kong freeze orders were lifted as well. Proceedings are still underway in a number of jurisdictions.
Lead Partners: David Bitton and Yves Klein

Key Clients:
Federal Republic of Nigeria
Federative Republic of Brazil
Republic of Tunisia
Republic of Guinea
Stanford International Bank Ltd, in liquidation
(Antigua and Barbuda)
Banca Turco Romana SA, in liquidation
(Romania)
Banco Santos SA, in liquidation
(Brazil) Bilta (UK)
Limited, in liquidation
(England)
Yves Bouvier

Asset Recovery

White-Collar Crime

Anti-Corruption

Mutual Assistance in Criminal & Civil Matters

Complex Litigation

Domestic and International Arbitration

Bankruptcy

Enforcement of Foreign Judgments & Awards

International Business

Divorce

Sports

Art

Branches

  • 3 place du Molard ,
  • Geneva,
  • Switzerland
  • 1204
  • Tel +41 22 310 2266