Strategic Research Sponsor of the American Bar Association's Section of International Law
Stéphane Bonifassi
Office:
34, boulevard Haussmann
75009
City:
Paris
Country:
France
Tel:
+33 1 84 79 41 85
Fax:
+33 1 55 32 91 98

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders: Business Crime Defence

Stéphane Bonifassi concentrates his practice on complex, international financial crimes. Over more than 26 years in the criminal courts he has honed an approach that combines targeted investigative and litigation tactics to locate and recover stolen or hidden assets. Bonifassi has been recognised as a “dean of the Parisian Bar” for his mastery of all aspects of the French legal system, paired with his ability to manage corresponding proceedings abroad.

WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO PURSUE A PRACTICE THAT ENCOMPASSES ASSET RECOVERY, BUSINESS CRIME DEFENCE AND INSOLVENCY MATTERS?

I am a litigator. I like a good fight. To me financial crime is immensely interesting and probably one of the most challenging fields in litigation. Financial crime is a by-product of globalisation, its dark side. These disputes are central to our global financial world.

WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT OF OPENING YOUR OWN FIRM?

You need to market your firm, run an efficient team and maintain a functional office – all while delivering the best possible service to your clients.

HOW DO YOU ENSURE THAT YOUR FIRM STANDS OUT AMONG COMPETITORS IN THE MARKET?
My firm is at the crossroads of asset recovery, business crime defence and insolvency matters. This makes it unique for a boutique in the French market. I believe our practice areas cross-fertilise, improving our understanding of and approach to financial crime in a global arena.

TO WHAT EXTENT ARE LEGAL NETWORK INITIATIVES IMPORTANT FOR BOUTIQUE FIRMS IN THE FRENCH MARKET?

International practices such as mine need such networks, formal or informal, to service clients and compete with big law.

SOURCES HAVE RECENTLY WITNESSED THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEW TECHNIQUES SUCH AS DEFERRED PROSECUTION AGREEMENTS (DPAS) ON THE PART OF THE ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES. HOW HAS THIS IMPACTED YOUR BUSINESS CRIME DEFENCE PRACTICE?

France has only just recently introduced legislation for DPAs and none have been effectuated. But the trend is there. Internal investigations are on the rise and so is the demand for compliance programmes.

THE FRENCH MARKET HAS IN RECENT TIMES SEEN AN INCREASING AWARENESS OF THE NEED FOR SPECIALIST EXPERTISE WHEN IT COMES TO HANDLING ASSET RECOVERY MATTERS. HOW DO YOU SEE THE PRACTICE AREA DEVELOPING OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS?

It is up to the victims of large frauds to be active and claim redress. So far, I see foreign victims as being more aggressive, but as you say, there is increased awareness in France. Now the judiciary must take up the challenge and respond to that demand from fraud victims. And it is up to my firm and to the others active in this field to help the judiciary grapple with the situation.

HOW HAS THE ROLE OF THIRD-PARTY FUNDERS DEVELOPED IN FRANCE OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS?

I regularly handle cases involving third-party funders. They are worried when it comes to litigating in France because of the delays, because of privacy laws, because of endless appeals. Still we have often obtained good results for them. I hope to spread the word!

MANY SOURCES HAVE NOTED DIVERGING TRENDS WHEN IT COMES TO LITIGATION WORK IN THE BUSINESS CRIME AND ASSET RECOVERY SPACES. HOW HAS THIS DEVELOPED IN YOUR OWN PRACTICE?

My assessment is that combining these practices makes for a better understanding of financial crime and helps us improve at both recovering assets for victims and defending those accused of these crimes.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE TO YOUNGER PRACTITIONERS WHO ONE DAY HOPE TO BE IN YOUR POSITION?

Think globally and take a holistic and creative approach.

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders: Asset Recovery

Stéphane Bonifassi concentrates his practice on complex, international financial crimes. Over more than 26 years in the criminal courts he has honed an approach that combines targeted investigative and litigation tactics to locate and recover stolen or hidden assets. Bonifassi has been recognised as a “dean of the Parisian Bar” for his mastery of all aspects of the French legal system, paired with his ability to manage corresponding proceedings abroad.

WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO PURSUE A PRACTICE THAT ENCOMPASSES ASSET RECOVERY, BUSINESS CRIME DEFENCE AND INSOLVENCY MATTERS?

I am a litigator. I like a good fight. To me financial crime is immensely interesting and probably one of the most challenging fields in litigation. Financial crime is a by-product of globalisation, its dark side. These disputes are central to our global financial world.

WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT OF OPENING YOUR OWN FIRM?

You need to market your firm, run an efficient team and maintain a functional office – all while delivering the best possible service to your clients.

HOW DO YOU ENSURE THAT YOUR FIRM STANDS OUT AMONG COMPETITORS IN THE MARKET?
My firm is at the crossroads of asset recovery, business crime defence and insolvency matters. This makes it unique for a boutique in the French market. I believe our practice areas cross-fertilise, improving our understanding of and approach to financial crime in a global arena.

TO WHAT EXTENT ARE LEGAL NETWORK INITIATIVES IMPORTANT FOR BOUTIQUE FIRMS IN THE FRENCH MARKET?

International practices such as mine need such networks, formal or informal, to service clients and compete with big law.

SOURCES HAVE RECENTLY WITNESSED THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEW TECHNIQUES SUCH AS DEFERRED PROSECUTION AGREEMENTS (DPAS) ON THE PART OF THE ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES. HOW HAS THIS IMPACTED YOUR BUSINESS CRIME DEFENCE PRACTICE?

France has only just recently introduced legislation for DPAs and none have been effectuated. But the trend is there. Internal investigations are on the rise and so is the demand for compliance programmes.

THE FRENCH MARKET HAS IN RECENT TIMES SEEN AN INCREASING AWARENESS OF THE NEED FOR SPECIALIST EXPERTISE WHEN IT COMES TO HANDLING ASSET RECOVERY MATTERS. HOW DO YOU SEE THE PRACTICE AREA DEVELOPING OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS?

It is up to the victims of large frauds to be active and claim redress. So far, I see foreign victims as being more aggressive, but as you say, there is increased awareness in France. Now the judiciary must take up the challenge and respond to that demand from fraud victims. And it is up to my firm and to the others active in this field to help the judiciary grapple with the situation.

HOW HAS THE ROLE OF THIRD-PARTY FUNDERS DEVELOPED IN FRANCE OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS?

I regularly handle cases involving third-party funders. They are worried when it comes to litigating in France because of the delays, because of privacy laws, because of endless appeals. Still we have often obtained good results for them. I hope to spread the word!

MANY SOURCES HAVE NOTED DIVERGING TRENDS WHEN IT COMES TO LITIGATION WORK IN THE BUSINESS CRIME AND ASSET RECOVERY SPACES. HOW HAS THIS DEVELOPED IN YOUR OWN PRACTICE?

My assessment is that combining these practices makes for a better understanding of financial crime and helps us improve at both recovering assets for victims and defending those accused of these crimes.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE TO YOUNGER PRACTITIONERS WHO ONE DAY HOPE TO BE IN YOUR POSITION?

Think globally and take a holistic and creative approach.

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Asset Recovery: Lawyers

Over his career, Bonifassi has accrued more than 26 years of criminal court experience. As a result of that experience, he has developed unmatched investigative tactics that he uses with litigation tools to strategically track, locate and recover misappropriated or hidden assets. This unique approach has garnered him respect from his peers and led to his requested involvement in recovering monies belonging to CDR Creances, and linked to a global-reaching multimillion-dollar offshore tax evasion scheme. Following the release of the “Panama Papers” in 2016, Bonifassi provided analysis in English and French about their imminent effect on global regulation of offshore corporations.

In addition to his specialisation in asset recovery, Bonifassi’s experience in the areas of business crime and fraud, corruption, forfeiture and confiscation cases, transnational enforcement of judgments and internal investigations, earned him the title of executive director and exclusive French member of ICC FraudNet.

Bonifassi was ranked by Chambers Europe 2017 for his work in the area of white-collar crime. He also received Plume D’Or awards from Les Plumes De L’Economie et Du Droit in 2015 and 2016 for articles he penned in Le Monde on international corruption and the benefits of deferred prosecution agreements to France’s legal system, respectively. He served as president of the criminal law commission of the International Association of Lawyers (UIA) and past co-chair of the business crime committee of the International Bar Association.

Formerly with Lebray & Associés in Paris, Bonifassi began Bonifassi Avocats in 2016 as a boutique law firm serving local and international clients who seek help with complex business crimes and fraud, as well as regulatory and international litigation.

WWL says: Stéphane Bonifassi is identified as France’s foremost specialist thanks to his extensive experience handling cross-border matters and his “client-friendly, sensible manner”.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Asset Recovery which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Business Crime Defence: Corporates

Lauded by Who’s Who Legal as an “internationally renowned practitioner” and considered by peers as a “corporate crime specialist,” Stéphane Bonifassi handles litigation involving complex financial crimes on an international stage. He specialises in business crime and fraud, corruption, asset recovery, forfeiture and confiscation cases, as well as transnational enforcement of judgments and internal investigations.

He draws from more than 26 years of criminal court experience to expertly interpret the civil and criminal nature of cases. He also uses litigation tools to strategically track, locate and recover misappropriated or hidden assets, which has led to his recognition as a “Most Highly Regarded Individual” and a “Thought Leader” in the areas of asset recovery and business crime defence.

Bonifassi was ranked by Chambers Europe 2017 for his work in white-collar crime. He also received Plume D’Or awards from Les Plumes De L’Economie & Du Droit in 2015 and 2016 for articles he wrote in Le Monde on international corruption and the benefits of deferred prosecution agreements to France’s legal system, respectively. He served as president of the Criminal Law Commission of the International Association of Lawyers (UIA) and is a past co-chair of the business crime committee of the International Bar Association.

Bonifassi serves as executive director and the exclusive French member of ICC FraudNet, the world's leading asset recovery legal network. Formerly of Lebray & Associés in Paris, he founded his firm, Bonifassi Avocats, in 2016 as a boutique law firm to serve local and international clients.

Bonifassi Avocats specialises in international litigation involving complex business crimes, with a focus on fraud, corruption and asset recovery. 

WWL says: Stéphane Bonifassi is “a fantastic lawyer” recognised for his exceptional work handling both domestic and international corporate crime litigation.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Business Crime Defence which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Business Crime Defence: Individuals

Noted by Who’s Who Legal: Business Crime Defence 2017 as “a fantastic lawyer” recognised for his exceptional work handling both domestic and international corporate crime litigation, Stéphane Bonifassi specialises in business crime and fraud, corruption, asset recovery, forfeiture and confiscation cases, as well as transnational enforcement of judgments and internal investigations.

He draws from more than 26 years of criminal court experience to expertly interpret the civil and criminal nature of cases. He also uses litigation tools to strategically track, locate and recover misappropriated or hidden assets, which has led to his recognition as a “Most Highly Regarded Individual” and a “Thought Leader” in the areas of asset recovery and business crime defence.

Bonifassi was ranked by Chambers Europe 2017 for his work in white-collar crime. He also received Plume D’Or awards from Les Plumes De L’Economie & Du Droit in 2015 and 2016 for articles he wrote in Le Monde on international corruption and the benefits of deferred prosecution agreements to France’s legal system, respectively. He served as president of the Criminal Law Commission of the International Association of Lawyers (UIA) and is a past co-chair of the business crime committee of the International Bar Association.

Bonifassi serves as executive director and the exclusive French member of ICC FraudNet, the world's leading asset recovery legal network. Formerly of Lebray & Associés in Paris, he founded his firm, Bonifassi Avocats, in 2016 as a boutique law firm to serve local and international clients.

Bonifassi Avocats specialises in international litigation involving complex business crimes, with a focus on fraud, corruption and asset recovery. 

WWL says: Stéphane Bonifassi is an internationally renowned practitioner, considered among peers to be a true corporate crime specialist.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Business Crime Defence which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Litigation: Lawyers

Noted by Who’s Who Legal: Business Crime Defence 2017 as “a fantastic lawyer” recognised for his exceptional work handling both domestic and international corporate crime litigation, Stéphane Bonifassi specialises in business crime and fraud, corruption, asset recovery, forfeiture and confiscation cases, as well as transnational enforcement of judgments and internal investigations.

He draws from more than 26 years of criminal court experience to expertly interpret the civil and criminal nature of cases. He also uses litigation tools to strategically track, locate and recover misappropriated or hidden assets, which has led to his recognition as a “Most Highly Regarded Individual” and a “Thought Leader” in the areas of asset recovery and business crime defence.

Bonifassi was ranked by Chambers Europe 2017 for his work in white-collar crime. He also received Plume D’Or awards from Les Plumes De L’Economie & Du Droit in 2015 and 2016 for articles he wrote in Le Monde on international corruption and the benefits of deferred prosecution agreements to France’s legal system, respectively. He served as president of the Criminal Law Commission of the International Association of Lawyers (UIA) and is a past co-chair of the business crime committee of the International Bar Association.

Bonifassi serves as executive director and the exclusive French member of ICC FraudNet, the world's leading asset recovery legal network. Formerly of Lebray & Associés in Paris, he founded his firm, Bonifassi Avocats, in 2016 as a boutique law firm to serve local and international clients.

Bonifassi Avocats specialises in international litigation involving complex business crimes, with a focus on fraud, corruption and asset recovery. 

WWL says: Stéphane Bonifassi is a star in the white-collar crime space where he has built up an unrivalled practice.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Litigation which can be purchased from our Shop.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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