Strategic Research Sponsor of the American Bar Association's Section of International Law
Yves Klein
Office:
Place du Molard 3
CH-1204
City:
Geneva
State:
Geneva
Country:
Switzerland
Tel:
+41 22 310 22 66
Fax:
+41 22 310 24 86

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders: Asset Recovery

Yves Klein is a Swiss international asset recovery lawyer and a senior partner at Monfrini Bitton Klein, Geneva. His main activity for the past 20 years has consisted of litigating and coordinating transnational asset recovery proceedings before civil, criminal and bankruptcy courts on behalf of victims of economic crimes. Yves Klein is chair of the IBA asset recovery subcommittee (anti-corruption committee) and is representative for Switzerland of ICC FraudNet, the world’s leading asset recovery network.

DESCRIBE YOUR CAREER TO DATE.

After gaining experience abroad, I started my career as an international transactions and litigation lawyer in Geneva.

From the end of the 1990s, my practice became increasingly focused on asset recovery, as our firm represented the interests of Nigeria in the Abacha case, the success of which led us to represent other governments in grand corruption cases. In parallel, I developed the commercial, investment and bankruptcy fraud practices of the firm, notably by joining ICC FraudNet as its representative for Switzerland.

The successful development of those practices over twenty years allowed us to become a conflict-free litigation boutique focusing on asset recovery, business crime, anti-corruption investigations and offshore litigation in June 2017.

WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO A CAREER SPECIALISING IN ASSET RECOVERY WORK?

The creativity that asset recovery litigation requires in order to develop new tools to beat new money laundering techniques. Every case is different. I also like the international character of the cases, and the teamwork with other lawyers, forensic accountants, insolvency practitioners, investigators and litigation funders around the world.

WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT OF TRANSFORMING YOUR FIRM INTO A LITIGATION BOUTIQUE?

Litigation boutiques are rare in Switzerland, and we had to find the right team dedicated to our complementary practices.

HOW DOES YOUR FIRM STAND OUT FROM ITS COMPETITORS IN THE SWISS MARKET?

We are conflict-free. Our practice is focused on asset recovery, business crime, anticorruption and offshore litigation, for which we have a track record and international reputation of over 20 years. We enjoy an international network and exposure that only much larger firms have.

THE NUMBER OF HIGH-VALUE CASES HAS INCREASED DRAMATICALLY OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS, WITH MANY NOW EXCEEDING $100 MILLION. TO WHAT EXTENT WOULD YOU SAY THE GROWTH OF LITIGATION FUNDING IS DRIVING THIS TREND?

For the past five years, third-party funding has allowed large cases to be litigated in a much more thorough manner, as litigation funders tend to be better prepared to assess the cost-benefit aspect of asset recovery proceedings.

THE ISSUE OF LIABILITY ON THE PART OF FACILITATORS SUCH AS BANKS IS A TREND THAT MANY SAY IS NOW REACHING MATURITY. HOW DO YOU SEE THIS AFFECTING THE PRACTICE AREA?

We have several proceedings pending against banks in grand corruption and Ponzi schemes cases. While the principle of liability of the money launderer for damages has been recognised for a long time, we expect to develop case law on causation and quantification.

AS NAME PARTNER, WHAT WILL BE YOUR MAIN PRIORITIES OVER THE COMING YEAR REGARDING THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE FIRM?

We will continue to integrate our practices and develop our domestic and international market bases.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING ASSET RECOVERY LAWYERS WHO ONE DAY HOPE TO BE IN YOUR POSITION?

Gain international experience, as all significant asset recovery cases are cross-border.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST SUCCESS IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

To establish in Switzerland a practice where 90 per cent of my cases are asset recovery proceedings brought on behalf of victims of economic crime.

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Asset Recovery: Lawyers

Yves Klein is a founding partner of Monfrini Bitton Klein, a conflict-free litigation boutique based in Geneva. The firm focuses on asset recovery, business crime defence, anti-corruption investigations, offshore disputes, international judicial assistance, cross-border insolvency, enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitration awards, and the tracing of matrimonial and estate assets.

Mr Klein’s main activity is litigating and coordinating transnational asset recovery proceedings on behalf of victims of economic crimes, or parties seeking to enforce their claims against assets concealed in Switzerland or abroad.

He develops strategies for the international search for and recovery of assets, and coordinates cross-border proceedings. He represents his clients, be they states, liquidators of foreign bankruptcy estates, corporations or individuals, before civil, criminal and bankruptcy courts, in order to recover the proceeds of crimes and to obtain damages from perpetrators and facilitators.

Since 1999, Mr Klein has, together with his partner Enrico Monfrini, conducted groundbreaking corruption recovery proceedings in the case of Nigeria v Abacha, where more than US$2 billion has been recovered in 10 jurisdictions. For the past 20 years, Mr Klein has also been retained as Swiss counsel in several other corruption recovery cases, notably Brazil v Dos Santos Netto, Haiti v Duvalier, Tunisia v Ben Ali and Guinea v Steinmetz.

As chair of the International Bar Association’s asset recovery subcommittee (anti-corruption committee), Mr Klein has established institutional relationships with the World Bank, the OECD Working Group on Bribery, and anti-corruption law enforcement officials in view of developing best practices regarding the use of civil asset recovery tools in parallel with criminal proceedings.

Mr Klein has also been active in representing bankruptcy estates of foreign banks or publicly traded companies. He has recovered tens of millions of dollars for their depositors, investors and creditors, prominently in the context of Ponzi schemes. He notably represents in Switzerland the bank insolvencies of Stanford International Bank Ltd (Antigua), Banco Santos SA (Brazil) and Banco Turco Romana SA (Romania).

He has obtained the recognition of foreign judgments and arbitral awards for amounts in excess of US$100 million and has successfully recovered the assets that defendants concealed in Switzerland or abroad.

Mr Klein is the Swiss representative of ICC FraudNet, the leading global legal network for asset recovery, present in more than 70 countries. He has been recognised by Who’s Who Legal as one of the world’s "most highly regarded individuals" in asset recovery since 2013 and is recognised by Chambers for his asset recovery activity.

He has published on asset tracing and recovery, anti-corruption, and recognition of foreign judgments and arbitral awards since 1996, and regularly presents on these matters at international conferences.

Admitted to the Geneva Bar in 1995, Mr Klein holds a law degree from the University of Geneva (1989) and a diploma of higher studies in international law from the Graduate Institute of International Studies of Geneva (1993).

He speaks fluent French, English, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian, and some German.

WWL says: Yves Klein is one of the most highly regarded practitioners in our research this year and “clearly a leader in the field”.

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

Who's Who Legal Litigation: Lawyers

Yves Klein is a founding partner of Monfrini Bitton Klein, a conflict-free litigation boutique based in Geneva. The firm focuses on asset recovery, business crime defence, anti-corruption investigations, offshore disputes, international judicial assistance, cross-border insolvency, enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitration awards, and the tracing of matrimonial and estate assets.

Mr Klein’s main activity is litigating and coordinating transnational asset recovery proceedings on behalf of victims of economic crimes, or parties seeking to enforce their claims against assets concealed in Switzerland or abroad.

He develops strategies for the international search for and recovery of assets, and coordinates cross-border proceedings. He represents his clients, be they states, liquidators of foreign bankruptcy estates, corporations or individuals, before civil, criminal and bankruptcy courts, in order to recover the proceeds of crimes and to obtain damages from perpetrators and facilitators.

Since 1999, Mr Klein has, together with his partner Enrico Monfrini, conducted groundbreaking corruption recovery proceedings in the case of Nigeria v Abacha, where more than US$2 billion has been recovered in 10 jurisdictions. For the past 20 years, Mr Klein has also been retained as Swiss counsel in several other corruption recovery cases, notably Brazil v Dos Santos NettoHaiti v DuvalierTunisia v Ben Ali and Guinea v Steinmetz.

As chair of the International Bar Association’s asset recovery subcommittee (anti-corruption committee), Mr Klein has established institutional relationships with the World Bank, the OECD Working Group on Bribery, and anti-corruption law enforcement officials in view of developing best practices regarding the use of civil asset recovery tools in parallel with criminal proceedings.

Mr Klein has also been active in representing bankruptcy estates of foreign banks or publicly traded companies. He has recovered tens of millions of dollars for their depositors, investors and creditors, prominently in the context of Ponzi schemes. He notably represents in Switzerland the bank insolvencies of Stanford International Bank Ltd (Antigua), Banco Santos SA (Brazil) and Banco Turco Romana SA (Romania).

He has obtained the recognition of foreign judgments and arbitral awards for amounts in excess of US$100 million and has successfully recovered the assets that defendants concealed in Switzerland or abroad.

Mr Klein is the Swiss representative of ICC FraudNet, the leading global legal network for asset recovery, present in more than 70 countries. He has been recognised by Who’s Who Legal as one of the world’s "most highly regarded individuals" in asset recovery since 2013 and is recognised by Chambers for his asset recovery activity.

He has published on asset tracing and recovery, anti-corruption, and recognition of foreign judgments and arbitral awards since 1996, and regularly presents on these matters at international conferences.

Admitted to the Geneva Bar in 1995, Mr Klein holds a law degree from the University of Geneva (1989) and a diploma of higher studies in international law from the Graduate Institute of International Studies of Geneva (1993).

He speaks fluent French, English, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian, and some German.

WWL says: Yves Klein is one of the leading financial and business crime litigation lawyers working the market today.

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

Other Practice Areas:

Follow us on LinkedIn

Practice Areas

Firms

Browse Firms

Search Firms

The Who's Who Legal 100

Awards

News & Features

Special Reports

Events

Shop

About Us

It is not possible to buy entry into any Who's Who Legal publication

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.

Copyright © 2017 Law Business Research Ltd. All rights reserved. | http://www.lbresearch.com

87 Lancaster Road, London, W11 1QQ, UK | Tel: +44 20 7908 1180 / Fax: +44 207 229 6910

http://www.whoswholegal.com | editorial@whoswholegal.com

Law Business Research Ltd

87 Lancaster Road, London
W11 1QQ, UK