Mr. Morillo is Co-Chair of the White Collar and Corporate Investigations Practice in Washington, D.C. His practice focuses on criminal defense and civil litigation for major financial institutions, Fortune 500 companies, large international companies, international professional services firms and senior executives, as well as matters on behalf of foreign governments.
Mr. Morillo represents clients in federal, state and congressional investigations involving accounting, financial, securities and tax fraud; bribery; antitrust, environmental, immigration, Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) and False Claims Act (“FCA”) violations; and health care fraud and abuse. He frequently advises clients in connection with international extradition matters. In addition, he advises clients in internal investigations and audits involving alleged bribery, fraud and other corporate misconduct; and he advises some of the largest public companies and financial services firms on the development, implementation and testing of their Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), anti-money laundering and economic sanctions compliance programs. Mr. Morillo also represents clients in class actions and other civil litigation involving the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), the FCPA, the FCA, fraud, tort, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and other civil claims.
Mr. Morillo further assists clients in developing and implementing crisis management and public relations strategies. He has served as the spokesperson for clients in high-profile matters and has appeared on CNBC, CNN, Fox, NPR and Univision and been quoted in Bloomberg, Business Week, Forbes, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, among other publications.
Mr. Morillo’s practice has been repeatedly recognized as one of the best. In 2015, the Global Investigations Review (“GIR”), one of the world’s leading industry publications, named Quinn Emanuel’s White Collar Practice the “Most Impressive Investigations Practice of the Year” in the world in recognition of its “stellar year.” GIR highlighted the representation of BSI SA, one of the world’s largest private banks, in the unprecedented Department of Justice program for Swiss banks to resolve their criminal exposure for helping U.S. taxpayers evade taxes. Law360, another leading industry publication, named the practice one of the 2015 “White Collar Practices of the Year.”
Also in 2015, The National Law Journal selected Mr. Morillo as a “Trailblazer” in recognition of his “precedent-setting” cross-border experience and victories, and The American Lawyer has twice (in 2015 and 2016) selected him as one of the finalists for its Transatlantic Legal Awards in recognition of his U.S.-European practice. Similarly, Latino Leaders Magazine named Mr. Morillo one of the “25 Most Influential Hispanic Lawyers” in the United States in 2015 and in 2016 and 2017, Latinvex named him one of the top five attorneys in the world for white collar cases involving Latin America. The Financial Times awarded Mr. Morillo an “Innovative Lawyer” award in recognition of his “landmark” representation of the Federative Republic of Brazil in the prosecution of senior tax officials for corruption.
Mr. Morillo is recognized as one of the leading white collar practitioners by Chambers (highlighting his clients’ praise for Mr. Morillo’s “excellent judgment and ability to handle investigations of any level of complexity”); Legal 500 (quoting clients stating that Mr. Morillo is a “super star”); Benchmark Litigation (identifying Mr. Morillo as a “litigation star” in white collar); and Super Lawyers (Washington, D.C.) (identifying Mr. Morillo as a leading white collar specialist). At the age of 37, The American Lawyer named Mr. Morillo as one of the country’s “Top 50 Litigators Under 45.”
Mr. Morillo has an active pro bono practice, including having advised the Colombian government on matters related to the victims of violence resulting from the long war involving the government, FARC and paramilitaries.
Mr. Morillo received a J.D. degree from the Georgetown University Law Center and an undergraduate degree in history, philosophy, psychology and French from the University of Miami. He served as law clerk to the Honorable Ricardo M. Urbina of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Mr. Morillo is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and Florida. Mr. Morillo is fluent in Spanish.
Mr. Morillo’s clients have included AT&T Inc.; Axis Capital Management; Bank Julius Baer & Co. Ltd.; Baxter International Inc.; Bilfinger SE; BSI SA; Coöperatieve Rabobank U.A.; Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited; DIRECTV; Dubai Islamic Bank; the Federative Republic of Brazil; EIG Global Energy Partners; Fernando and Leopoldo Espinosa Abdalá; Grupo Empresarial Ángeles; Grupo Salinas; ING Group; InnerWorkings, Inc.; Mohawk Industries Inc.; Nordic Trustee ASA; PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP; the Republic of Colombia; the Republic of Equatorial Guinea; R.R. Donnelley; Sharp Corporation; Sorrento Lactalis Inc.; Televisa S.A. de C.V.; Tyson Foods, Inc.; the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and Watanmal Group.
Selected criminal experience includes acting as counsel to:
- Bank Julius Baer & Co. Ltd. (“BJB”), a Swiss publicly traded bank and the world’s largest pure private bank, in a DOJ criminal investigation into whether it assisted U.S. taxpayers to avoid paying taxes by holding their assets in secret accounts at BJB in Switzerland. BJB avoided prosecution by entering into a deferred prosecution agreement pursuant to which it paid a total of $547.25 million, including an $81 million penalty. This reflected an approximately 85 percent reduction from the low-end of the range for the penalty, which could have ranged from approximately $540 million to over $1 billion. The 85 percent reduction is the largest reduction ever publicly reported by the DOJ in any criminal context and was predicated on what the DOJ termed as “gold standard” cooperation by BJB. This included being the only Swiss bank to make a voluntary disclosure to DOJ out of the nearly 100 banks that engaged in similar conduct. BJB’s cooperation also included conducting a comprehensive internal investigation, implementing a wide-ranging remediation plan and providing information and documents to the DOJ earlier than other Swiss banks while complying with Swiss law. BJB also avoided the prosecution of its senior executives.
- BSI SA (“BSI”), one of the world’s largest private banks, in the investigations involving Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (“1MDB”). This is one of the largest money laundering and corruption investigations in history involving authorities in the United States, Switzerland, Singapore, Malaysia and Luxembourg. It involves the theft of over $7 billion from 1MDB, several billion of which was allegedly laundered through BSI, including to finance the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street” and to purchase real estate and art, such as works by Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh, worth hundreds of millions of dollars. We represent BSI in connection with the U.S. criminal and civil investigations and with Swiss co-counsel in the Swiss criminal and regulatory proceedings.
- BSI, in the unprecedented programbetween the United States and Switzerland to resolve the criminal liability of Swiss banksthat helped Americans evade taxes (“Swiss Bank Program”) by concealing assets in Swiss accounts. BSI was the first, out ofapproximately 80 banks participating in the Swiss Bank Program, to obtain a non-prosecutionagreement and set forth the standards that helped govern the resolutions of the subsequent 79 participating banks.
- Two international banks in the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (“FIFA”) global criminal investigations. Specifically, we represent the banks in U.S. and Swiss (with Swiss co-counsel) criminal investigations focused on whether accounts at the banks were used to pay bribes to FIFA officials and, if so, whether bank employees were involved in or knew that the accounts were being used to pay bribes.
- The Rosenthal family, one of the wealthiest and most prominent families in Central America, in connection with a high-profile criminal prosecution against several family members and OFAC investigation targeting family-owned companies alleging that family members and companies laundered funds for some of the largest narcotics traffickers in Latin America. We represent the family before the DOJ and OFAC and with Honduran co-counsel in Honduras. These government investigations resulted in the U.S. indictments of two family members – a former Honduran Vice President and a former Chief of Staff to a former Honduran President – and the seizure in the United States and Honduras of family assets worth over $1.5 billion. We conducted a wide-ranging investigation involving dozens of companies and individuals into the allegations raised by the U.S. and Honduran governments and are vigorously representing the family against the criminal indictments and asset seizures.
- Joseph Sigelman, the co-founder and former co-CEO of a Colombian oil services company, in one of the most closely watched FCPA prosecutions in several years. After less than six trial days, the Government offered Mr. Sigelman a plea agreement for one half of one count (out of six in the indictment) resulting in three years of probation with no jail time and a fine just a fraction of the millions the Government originally sought. Bloomberg called this a “striking victory” for Mr. Sigelman.
- Multiple international banks in the global Panama Papers investigations focused on whether accounts linked to Mossack Fonseca & Co., the Panamanian law firm at the center of the investigations, held at the banks were used to pay bribes to government officials, evade taxes, launder funds or engage in transactions with sanctioned individuals or countries, and whether the banks were involved in or knew of such conduct.
- Two international banks in the Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (“PdVSA”) global criminal investigations. Specifically, we represent the banks in U.S. and Swiss (with Swiss co-counsel) criminal investigations focused on whether accounts at the banks were used to pay bribes to PdVSA officials and, if so, whether bank employees were involved in or knew that the accounts were being used to pay bribes.
- Several major Swiss banks and a leading international professional services firm in the multi-year, high-visibility DOJ and Internal Revenue Service criminal investigations into whether these banks and firm aided and abetted tax evasion by U.S. taxpayers. Extricated these banks and firm without any consequences.
- Martin Diaz-Alvarez, one of Mexico’s most prominent bankers, who the Mexican government falsely accused of a USD 500 million fraud involving the collapse of Oceanografía S.A. de C.V. (“OSA”), Mexico’s largest oil services company. This is the largest financial fraud case in the history of Latin America. Successfully extricated Mr. Diaz from parallel DOJ and Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) investigations.
- The Federative Republic of Brazil in a precedent-setting prosecution of senior Brazilian tax officials for bribery and Swiss bankers for money laundering. The Financial Times called this a “landmark” cross-border case.
- One of Africa’s largest food distribution companies in a DOJ criminal investigation into whether the company and its employees did business with individuals and companies designated by the U.S. as being financiers of Hezbollah. As part of our representation, we conducted an investigation in the United States, Dubai (where the company is headquartered) and several African countries. We successfully persuaded the DOJ not to prosecute the company or its employees.
- One of the world’s four largest accounting firms in a high-profile grand jury investigation involving allegations of accounting, securities and tax fraud. Extricated the firm and its employees.
- Erick Estuardo Archila-Dehesa (“Mr. Archila”), the owner of Grupo A, one of Guatemala’s largest media conglomerates, and former Minister of Mines and Energy of Guatemala, in connection with a money laundering prosecution by the Guatemalan government. Specifically, we represent Mr. Archila in potential U.S. extradition and asylum proceedings, and before Interpol and the Inter American Commission of Human Rights. This is one of the largest, high-profile criminal prosecutions launched by the Guatemalan government in recent history.
- A Wal-Mart senior executive in connection with the high-profile DOJ and SEC FCPA investigations.
- A high-ranking Mexican judicial officer in connection with an ongoing multibillion dollar lawsuit alleging bribery.
- A company in a high-profile environmental matter, including criminal and civil federal, state and local enforcement proceedings, as well as a class-action lawsuit and over 1,000 individual private civil lawsuits alleging personal injury and property damage. Resolved criminal investigation without charges and obtained denial of class certification without discovery.
- One of Latin America’s leading businessmen in connection with the expropriation of USD 2 billion in assets and related criminal, including extradition, proceedings.
- A senior executive of a major Asian manufacturer in a criminal economic espionage investigation.
Selected civil experience includes acting as counsel to:
- The prior owners of Representaciones e Investigaciones Médicas, S.A. de C.V. (“Rimsa”), a leading pharmaceutical company in Mexico, who sold Rimsa to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited (“Teva”), one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, for $2.3 billion. Teva sued the prior owners seeking to rescind the transaction, a return of the entire purchase price and punitive damages. Teva alleges that the prior owners defrauded it by failing to disclose that Rimsa’s products violated Mexican federal health care standards. We represent the prior owners with Mexican co-counsel in the Mexican regulatory proceedings and in the $2.3 billion rescission lawsuit in the United States. This is the largest such case in Mexican history and one of the largest failed transaction litigations in U.S. history. As part of our representation, we are conducting an investigation in all of the jurisdictions involved in the transaction, including the United States, Mexico, Israel and Luxembourg.
- A consortium of investment funds, a major international bank and shipping companies from over a dozen countries in the United States, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East in the largest financial fraud in Latin American history. Specifically, the largest oil services firm in Latin American, Oceanografía, S.A. de C.V. (“OSA”), and largest vendor of Petroleos Mexicanos (“Pemex”) in conjunction with Citigroup, Inc. (“Citi”), falsified invoices purportedly representing services OSA did not provide to obtain hundreds of millions of dollars in cash advances from Citi. When Pemex learned of the fraud, OSA collapsed, resulting in over $1 billion in losses to the funds, bank and shipping companies that purchased OSA’s bonds, lent it money and leased it ships. We represent the consortium before the SEC and in a large civil lawsuit in federal court against Citi.
- Dubai Islamic Bank, the world’s largest Islamic bank, in MDL proceedings involving claims arising from the September 11 terrorist attacks, including class actions filed against the Bank on behalf of victims and the owners and insurers of property destroyed or damaged in the attacks.
- One of the largest Mexican asset management firms and its owners in connection with a billion-dollar dispute with its international partners in a Mexican oil services company.
- The Vice President of Equatorial Guinea, in a precedent-setting civil forfeiture proceeding brought by the DOJ that raised novel issues regarding the role of foreign law under the U.S. money laundering statutes. Successfully resolved the case.
- Mohawk Industries Inc. in a civil RICO class action brought by employees alleging that the company depressed their wages by employing undocumented workers. The case received widespread national media attention. Persuaded court not to certify a class action and successfully resolved the case.
- Sorrento Lactalis Inc. in a RICO lawsuit by a municipality seeking recovery for the cost of providing health care and law enforcement services to undocumented workers allegedly employed by the company. Obtained dismissal of lawsuit. The dismissal was affirmed on appeal. The appellate argument was featured on C-SPAN’s “America and the Courts.”
- An offshore investment company and its trustees in a high-profile SEC insider trading action. Successfully reached favorable settlement with the SEC.
- A global print management company in a large-scale accounting fraud internal investigation and SEC inquiry.
- A major electronics manufacturer in a complex civil fraud action against its former senior executives.
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce in its successful constitutional challenge of Hazelton, Pennsylvania’s immigration law.
Selected trial experience includes acting as counsel to:
- A sitting judge in a case brought by the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission (“JQC”) in which the JQC alleged that the judge, a West Point graduate, plagiarized a paper he submitted to the Air War College as part of his duties as an Air Force Reserve officer. The JQC sought the judge’s removal. Prevailed at trial. This was the first time in dozens of cases since 1987 in which the JQC lost at trial. This result received an honorable mention in The American Lawyer’s “2005 Litigation Department of the Year” feature.
- Tyson Foods, Inc., as a member of trial team in United States v. Tyson Foods, Inc. in a case involving a 36-count indictment charging the company with conspiracy to violate federal immigration laws. The Government sought a fine in excess of USD 130 million. The court dismissed several counts and the jury acquitted the company on all remaining counts. The National Law Journal named this result the top defense verdict of 2003.
- Georgetown University Law Center
- University of Miami
(B.A., History, Philosophy, Psychology and French, 1992)
- The District of Columbia Bar
- The State Bar of Florida
- United States District Court:
- Southern District of Florida
- United States Court of Appeals:
- Eleventh Circuit
- Cleary Gottlieb:
- Partner, 2011-2013
- Partner, 2011-2013
- Clifford Chance:
- Partner, 2007-2011
- Head of U.S. Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group
- Head of U.S. Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group
- Partner, 2007-2011
- Law Clerk to the Hon. Ricardo M. Urbina:
- U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
- Chambers Latin America 2019-2020 – Latin America Wide: Corporate Crime & Investigations
- Chambers USA 2014-2021 – Litigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations and quoted as having “a spectacular practice and handles very sophisticated cross-border work."
- Law 360 2019 – White Collar Group Of The Year
- Latinvex 2016-2019 – “Latin America’s Top 100 Lawyers for FCPA & Fraud”
- National Law Journal 2018 – White Collar, Regulatory and Compliance “Trailblazer
- Benchmark Litigation: The Definitive Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys – White Collar Crime
- National Law Journal 2015 – Trailblazer: White Collar Crime
- The Legal 500 U.S. 2014-2017 – White Collar Criminal Defense
- The Legal 500 Latin America – International Arbitration
- Super Lawyers 2013-2018 – Washington, D.C. Super Lawyer
- Global Investigation Review’s “Most Impressive Investigations Practice of the Year” for 2015
- Law360’s 2015 “White Collar Practices of the Year”
- The American Lawyer 2015 – Transatlantic Legal Awards: Shortlist – Transatlantic Litigation
- The American Lawyer 2016 – Transatlantic Legal Awards: Shortlist – Transatlantic Litigation
- Latino Leaders Magazine – “25 Most Influential Hispanic Lawyers” in the United States
- The American Lawyer – “Top 50 Litigators Under 45”
- Financial Times – “Innovative Lawyers 2009”
- Firm Memorandum: DOJ Announces Change to Guidelines Regarding Corporate Cooperation, (December 2018).
- “Arbitration Advocacy and Criminal Matters: The Arbitration Advocate as Master of Strategy,” The Guide to Advocacy - Third Edition, Global Arbitration Review (2018)
- "Trends in International White Collar Crime Enforcement,” International White Collar Enforcement: Leading Lawyers on Preventative Measures, Regulatory Compliance, and Litigation, Thomson Reuters (2013 edition)