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Alejandro Pignataro

Alejandro Pignataro

Pignataro AbogadosPlaza Tempo Corporate CenterLobby B, 4th floorSan Rafael of EscazuSan JoséCosta Rica

Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Alejandro Pignataro is a fixture of the Costa Rican asset recovery market, with over 20 years of experience advising foreign receiverships on asset tracing and recovery.

Questions & Answers

Alejandro Pignataro (LLM in American law with a concentration in international business practice from Boston University, 2003) is a partner at Pignataro Abogados (Costa Rica), a boutique corporate law firm committed to providing top-level legal advice to a select group of corporate and individual clients. Alejandro has over 20 years of experience advising foreign and national corporations, financial institutions and individuals with their business dealings in Costa Rica. Alejandro’s practice focuses mainly on corporate M&A and asset tracing and recovery.

What do you enjoy most about your work as a commercial fraud and asset tracing specialist?

Helping victims of fraud, insolvency or corruption is one of the most rewarding parts of asset recovery work. 

I also enjoy working with interdisciplinary teams of experts (fellow counsel, private investigators, forensic accountants, etc) in different parts of the world. 

Strategy plays a crucial role in this field of work, which implies navigating different legal systems, including civil and common law countries, and using the remedies available in each. This is where being a member of ICC FraudNet comes in extremely handy, as time is typically of the essence in these matters – and it provides a network of previously vetted, well-versed experts globally, who are ready to act 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

In what ways is technology disrupting corruption and money laundering efforts? 

Technology is both an ally and an enemy in the fight against corruption and money laundering. It is an ally as it serves to process large amounts of data swiftly, identify patterns through artificial intelligence and provide great tools for data mining. On the other hand, it also enables criminals via blockchain and cryptocurrencies, for example, to hide their ill-gotten proceeds, thus making it harder to trace and go after them.

How has covid-19 impacted asset recovery practice so far, and what do you think the long term ramifications of it will be? 

The sanitary crisis and the state of emergency declared by many countries worldwide has had an impact on court systems – ranging from their suspension for days and weeks, to the evolution in the use of technology (videoconference hearings, for example) as a means to continue advancing court proceedings. 

The downturn in the economy will certainly lead to a rise in the number of insolvency and bankruptcy litigation, corruption and fraud cases. 

Looking ahead, given the boost that the pandemic is having on advancing the fourth industrial revolution towards a more virtual dynamic in most activities, it seems technology will have an even more important role in investigative and tracing efforts, as more online transactions will inevitably lead to more frequent and complex internet frauds. 

What has been your most interesting case to date and why? 

All cases in asset recovery are exciting, different and interesting in their own way. 

One that I recall particularly well had to do with a fraudster who raised investor money to acquire certain assets, subsequently simulated giving them as collateral to a financial entity (with which it colluded), and had the financial entity foreclose on them for the fraudster to repurchase them thereafter, having ripped off the investors completely.

For this purpose, the fraudster put together a multilevel, multi-jurisdictional corporate structure that ended in Costa Rica. 

Our work on the matter was limited to proving that the nominee shareholders were nothing more than that, yet it led to us revealing crucial information to the overall investigation. 

What role do development agencies have in the improvement of asset recovery processes? 

The role of development agencies is very important in, among other things, advancing transparency policies for legal vehicles via each country’s implementation of ultimate beneficial-owner registries (for example, in deterring money laundering); promoting uniform insolvency and bankruptcy legislation that allows businesses to turn around or wind up quicker, and thus protect value for their creditors; and sharing best practices among nations, as well as funding training programmes for their enforcement agencies.

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Alejandro Pignataro is a fixture of the Costa Rican asset recovery market, with over 20 years of experience advising foreign receiverships on asset tracing and recovery.

Questions & Answers

Alejandro Pignataro (LLM, Boston University, 2003), a partner at Lawgical, leads the asset tracing and recovery practice at the firm. He frequently serves as local counsel to receiverships and private counsel in multi-jurisdictional fraud cases. He is the local representative for ICC FraudNet.

What do you enjoy most about your work as a commercial fraud and asset tracing specialist?

Helping victims of fraud, insolvency or corruption is one of the most rewarding parts of asset recovery work. 

I also enjoy working with interdisciplinary teams of experts (fellow counsel, private investigators, forensic accountants, etc) in different parts of the world. 

Strategy plays a crucial role in this field of work, which implies navigating different legal systems, including civil and common law countries, and using the remedies available in each. This is where being a member of ICC FraudNet comes in extremely handy, as time is typically of the essence in these matters – and it provides a network of previously vetted, well-versed experts globally, who are ready to act 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

In what ways is technology disrupting corruption and money laundering efforts? 

Technology is both an ally and an enemy in the fight against corruption and money laundering. It is an ally as it serves to process large amounts of data swiftly, identify patterns through artificial intelligence and provide great tools for data mining. On the other hand, it also enables criminals via blockchain and cryptocurrencies, for example, to hide their ill-gotten proceeds, thus making it harder to trace and go after them.

How has covid-19 impacted asset recovery practice so far, and what do you think the long term ramifications of it will be? 

The sanitary crisis and the state of emergency declared by many countries worldwide has had an impact on court systems – ranging from their suspension for days and weeks, to the evolution in the use of technology (videoconference hearings, for example) as a means to continue advancing court proceedings. 

The downturn in the economy will certainly lead to a rise in the number of insolvency and bankruptcy litigation, corruption and fraud cases. 

Looking ahead, given the boost that the pandemic is having on advancing the fourth industrial revolution towards a more virtual dynamic in most activities, it seems technology will have an even more important role in investigative and tracing efforts, as more online transactions will inevitably lead to more frequent and complex internet frauds. 

What has been your most interesting case to date and why? 

All cases in asset recovery are exciting, different and interesting in their own way. 

One that I recall particularly well had to do with a fraudster who raised investor money to acquire certain assets, subsequently simulated giving them as collateral to a financial entity (with which it colluded), and had the financial entity foreclose on them for the fraudster to repurchase them thereafter, having ripped off the investors completely.

For this purpose, the fraudster put together a multilevel, multi-jurisdictional corporate structure that ended in Costa Rica. 

Our work on the matter was limited to proving that the nominee shareholders were nothing more than that, yet it led to us revealing crucial information to the overall investigation. 

How does Lawgical distinguish itself form competitors in the market? 

At Lawgical, we take pride in three main traits that define and distinguish us from our competitors in the market: a personalised boutique-style service provided by senior counsel; specialisation in areas critical to our clients’ day-to day needs; and a level of independence that allows us to be well aligned with our clients’ interests and free from conflict.

What role do development agencies have in the improvement of asset recovery processes? 

The role of development agencies is very important in, among other things, advancing transparency policies for legal vehicles via each country’s implementation of ultimate beneficial-owner registries (for example, in deterring money laundering); promoting uniform insolvency and bankruptcy legislation that allows businesses to turn around or wind up quicker, and thus protect value for their creditors; and sharing best practices among nations, as well as funding training programmes for their enforcement agencies.

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

Global Leader

Asset Recovery 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Alejandro Pignataro is a fixture of the Costa Rican asset recovery market, with over 20 years of experience advising foreign receiverships on asset tracing and recovery.

Biography

Alejandro Pignataro (LLM, Boston University, 2003), partner at Lawgical, leads the asset tracing and recovery practice at the firm. He frequently serves as local counsel to receiverships and private counsel in multi-jurisdictional fraud cases. He is the local representative for ICC FraudNet.
Litigation 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Alejandro Pignataro is a well-established figure in the market who is regularly engaged to represent clients in complex or high-profile corporate and financial disputes.

Biography

Alejandro Pignataro (LLM in American law with a concentration in international business practice from Boston University, 2003) is a partner at Pignataro Abogados (Costa Rica), a boutique corporate law firm committed to providing top-level legal advice to a select group of corporate and individual clients.

Alejandro has over 20 years of experience advising foreign and national corporations, financial institutions and individuals with their business dealings in Costa Rica.

Alejandro’s practice focuses mainly on corporate M&A and asset tracing and recovery.

As a corporate M&A lawyer, Alejandro advises mainly multinational corporations doing business in the Latin America and Caribbean Basin region, serving as their lead counsel, coordinating with their local counsel in each jurisdiction where they do business, via a strong network of law firms.

Mr Pignataro also frequently serves as local counsel to foreign receiverships, liquidators, government agencies and private victims, in asset tracing and recovery cases in several jurisdictions. In such matters, Alejandro directs the domestic legal proceedings, interfacing with the enforcement agencies involved. Among the most commonly executed tasks in these matters, Mr Pignataro leads local investigative efforts, gathers and secures evidence, and locates and seizes assets.

Alejandro has been the Costa Rican member for ICC Fraudnet, the world’s leading asset tracing and recovery network as per Chambers and Partners, for 10 years, and he has participated as a host and a panelist on International asset tracing and recovery conferences and events. Mr Pignataro has also been recognised by Who’s Who Legal in asset recovery and litigation for several consecutive years.

National Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended
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