Bloomberg News

McGuireWoods, Goodwin Procter, Duane Morris: Business of Law (1)

September 23, 2013

David Kirk, chief criminal counsel at the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, will join McGuireWoods LLP’s London government, regulatory and criminal-investigations practice as a partner in January.

Kirk will advise clients on regulation, compliance and criminal investigation matters across the financial spectrum.

“I have had the pleasure of working with David in the past and I have enormous respect for him both professionally and personally,” said Vivian Robinson, a former general counsel at the Serious Fraud Office who joined McGuireWoods’ London office in 2011.

McGuireWoods has more than 900 lawyers at 19 offices in the U.S. and Europe.

Amazon Senior Corporate Counsel Joins Goodwin Procter

Goodwin Procter LLP announced that Jared G. Jensen has joined the firm’s San Francisco office as a partner in its private equity practice. He was previously senior corporate counsel at Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN:US)

At Goodwin, Jensen will represent private-equity firms, companies and management teams in leveraged buyout, growth-equity and merger-and-acquisition transactions, the firm said.

“Jared’s private-equity market knowledge and insight, coupled with his experience in taking technology companies private, make him an exceptional addition to our team,” John LeClaire, chairman of Goodwin’s private-equity practice, said in a statement.

Goodwin Procter has lawyers at offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Duane Morris’s Philadelphia Office Adds Trial Partner

Duane Morris LLP announced that former partner John C. Ryan has rejoined the firm’s trial practice group as a partner in Philadelphia. He was most recently senior vice president and deputy general counsel at Aramark Corp.

He focuses his practice on white-collar criminal defense and internal corporate investigations for public and private companies, corporate governance and commercial litigation.

Ryan led the legal teams for Philadelphia-based Aramark’s sports, leisure and corrections, and business and industry operating groups, and also led the food concessionaire’s intellectual-property and supply-chain legal support. He served as counsel to Aramark’s chief compliance officer.

Before that, he oversaw Aramark’s litigation and government investigations and led the legal teams for the health-care and education operating groups.

He was a partner at Duane Morris from 2004 to 2005.

The firm has more than 700 attorneys in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

K&L Gates Adds to Energy Practice With San Francisco Hire

The San Francisco office of K&L Gates LLP added Paul C. Lacourciere as a partner in the energy and infrastructure projects practice. Lacourciere joins from Greenbridge Corporate Counsel.

Lacourciere has experience as a transactional and regulatory lawyer in the energy sector, particularly in wind and solar.

As counsel to both suppliers and purchasers, he has negotiated equipment supply, installation and service agreements for numerous wind energy projects throughout the U.S. and Canada. He also focuses on the solar electricity industry, structuring power-purchase agreements and advising on compliance with regulations governing the sale of electricity in California.

K&L Gates has 48 offices in the U.S., Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and South America.

Fees

Qatari Sheikh Must Pay $419,400 in Fees to U.K. Law Firm

A member of the Qatari royal family must pay a London-based law firm 261,279 pounds ($419,400) in fees for advice given when his assets were frozen after he failed to pay auction houses for bids he won.

Sheikh Saud Bin Mohammed Bin Ali Al-Thani was ordered to turn over the unpaid fees because he never responded to the lawsuit by SJ Berwin LLP, according to the default judgment given at London’s High Court in April and made public this week.

Al-Thani was sued for 4.1 million pounds in the U.K. by London auction house Bonhams 1793 Ltd. and for $22 million in the U.S. by rare coin specialists A.H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd. because he didn’t pay for items, SJ Berwin said in court documents filed Feb. 20.

A London judge froze Al-Thani’s global assets on Oct. 2, SJ Berwin said in the court documents, without saying how much the freezing order was for.

Al-Thani last year successfully bid on coins including a $3.25 million single gold piece from the ancient Greek city of Pantikapaion that bears the head of a bearded satyr, according to the Oct. 9 lawsuit filed in Washington by A.H. Baldwin, M&M Numismatics LLC of Washington and Dmitry Markov Coins & Medals of New York.

Charlotte Ward, a spokeswoman for SJ Berwin in London, declined to comment on the ruling. A London number for Al-Thani was disconnected and the spokeswoman for the law firm named on court documents as representing Al-Thani said they weren’t involved.

Al-Thani was head of Qatar’s National Council for Culture, Arts and Heritage and is a “significant collector of valuable antiques and fine art,” SJ Berwin said.

Al-Thani pledged the world’s most expensive watch and other collectibles valued at almost $83 million to Sotheby’s in November to cover debts owed to the auction house, according to court documents filed at the New York Department of State in October.

Litigation

Madoff Money on Way to Victims ‘Fast as Possible,’ DOJ Fund Says

The Madoff Victim Fund controlled by the U.S. Justice Department said it will distribute $2.4 billion in forfeitures from the Jeffry Picower estate “as fast as possible” once all eligible recipients are known.

The statement came in answer to calls for an update from victims of the fraud, according to the Madoff Victim Fund’s four-month-old website. The money is part of a $7.2 billion settlement by the widow of Picower, one of Bernard Madoff’s largest individual investors, of a lawsuit accusing Picower of having known of the fraud, which robbed customers of about $17 billion in principal.

A federal judge approved the settlement in March 2012 and the trustee liquidating Madoff’s bankrupt brokerage distributed his $5 billion share of the Picower money a year ago, when a former Madoff customer lost her legal bid to challenge her exclusion from the payout.

Any perceived delay by the government in distributing its share of the money relates to definitions of who is eligible, according to the Justice Department’s fund. While the trustee for the Madoff firm’s estate uses bankruptcy law to decide which customers should be compensated, the fund must screen the conman’s investors for victims, according to its website.

“The legal definition of ‘victim’ is different,” the fund said. “The MVF must analyze carefully the circumstances under which eligible customers are also ‘victims,’ as well as whether there are ‘victims’ who were not recognized as ‘customers’ in the bankruptcy proceedings.”

While the fund said it can’t yet set a date for the payout, “the process is moving forward toward necessary decisions in the relatively near term.” Madoff customers can look for updates on the site “approximately every 45 days, or as the MVF has news to report.”

The Madoff brokerage liquidation case is Securities Investor Protection Corp. v. Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, 08-bk-01789, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

News

Vilar’s Lawyer Has Relationship With Co-Defendant, U.S. Says

The lawyer representing technology investor Alberto Vilar, who faces resentencing for his 2008 conviction for stealing from clients, is in a romantic relationship with his co-defendant, prosecutors said.

Vivian Shevitz’s relationship with Gary Tanaka, “by all appearances, would impair Ms. Shevitz’s duty of loyalty to Vilar and cloud her judgment with respect to Tanaka,” Justice Department lawyers said in a letter Sept. 20 to U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan in Manhattan.

The U.S. lawyers submitted a proposed list of questions for the two former Amerindo Investment Advisors Inc. partners to make sure that they understood the potential conflict of interest of the lawyer, who represents them both in the case, and that they knowingly and voluntarily waive the possible conflict.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in New York last month reversed the sentences of the two men and sent the case back to Sullivan. The 2008 jury convictions weren’t overturned on appeal.

Shevitz didn’t immediately return a phone message after regular business hours seeking comment on the letter.

The case is U.S. v. Vilar, 05-00621, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Amon in Brooklyn, New York, at eamon2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


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