Margarita R. Sánchez is civil and common law trial lawyer with more than twenty years of experience representing public and private sector clients worldwide in international law. Ms. Sánchez focuses her practice on white-collar, corporate investigations, and cross-border disputes.
She has served as counsel in numerous high-profile investigations and multi-million dollar disputes, including international arbitrations under most major rules arising out of projects and transactions in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Ms. Sánchez has particular experience in investment arbitration under investment treaties, as well as complex multi-jurisdictional disputes involving parties from Latin America and The Caribbean.
Her white-collar experience includes matters involving the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and other anti-corruption laws. She has particular experience in international procurement, and international development institutions’ procurement and sanctions proceedings, including the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank, United Nations’ UNESCO and UNOPS.
As a native Spanish speaker, born and raised in Latin America, Ms. Sánchez has worked in nearly every country in the region. Prior to joining the firm, she head a leading boutique law practice in Washington DC specializing in international law with a regional focus on Latin American and Caribbean matters. Previously, she practiced law at an international law firm based in Washington D.C., specializing in anticorruption, white-collar matters and global disputes.
Prior to join private practice, Ms. Sánchez worked for the Inter-American Development Bank’s Office of Institutional Integrity (IDB-OII) in investigations of allegations of fraud and corruption occurring in activities financed by the IDB Group. Ms. Sánchez was one of the first members of IDB-OII, participating in the drafting of the first sanctions proceedings, and assisted with the foundation of the Uniform Framework for Preventing and Combating Fraud and Corruption signed by the major Multilateral Development Banks and the International Monetary Fund in 2006, delving into the policies of the multilateral debarment from its inception.
Prior to joining the IDB in Washington DC, she was in-House Counsel for Monómeros Colombo Venezolanos, S.A. a fertilizer and chemicals company located in , Colombia, where she led the anti-narcotics and anti-money laundering compliance program.
Since 2017 Ms. Sánchez has been listed in Who’s Who and GAR Future Leaders Legal Guide. In 2015, she was shortlisted for the Chambers Women in Law Awards in the category of Lawyer of the Year and her practice received the Chambers & Partners award for Outstanding Firm for Furthering Women’s Advancement. She has also been recognized by HNBA’s Top Lawyers under 40 list. More recently, Entrepreneur Magazine included her practice in its annual list of America’s most successful entrepreneurial ventures (“Entrepreneur360”).
Ms. Sánchez combines her work as counsel in international arbitrations with arbitral appointments. She is a member of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) Panel of Conciliators and is listed on the Panel of International Arbitrators of the Bogota and El Salvador Chambers of Commerce.
A former Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University, Ms. Sánchez is a frequent guest speaker and has published articles on topics related to international arbitration and global corruption in well-known publications including The Energy Advisor – Inter-American Dialogue, and is the author of the corruption chapter in a book of international arbitration published by Editorial Ibañez in 2019. In 2021 she was featured in the July/August Edition of Forbes Colombia for “La Corrupción No Se Combate Con Discuros”.
Investor- State Arbitration
- Karkey Karadeniz Elektrik Uretim A.S. v. Islamic Republic of Pakistan. ICSID. Represented the
- Claimant in a USD2 billion claim related to an electricity power generation project.
- Nations Energy, Inc. et al v. Republic of Panama. ICSID. Represented Panama in a USD62
- million claim related to an electricity power generation project.
- RDC v. Republic of Guatemala. ICSID. Represented Guatemala in its first ICSID case under CAFTA-DR, in a US$65 million claim by a US investor.
- Vannessa Ventures Ltd. v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. ICSID. Represented Venezuela in a US$1 billion claim for an alleged expropriation of a gold and copper mine.
- Victor Pey Casado et al v. Republic of Chile. ICSID. Represented Chile in a US$515 million claim related to an alleged investment in the media sector.
- I&I Beheer B.V. v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. ICSID. Represented Venezuela in an arbitration initiated by a Dutch company regarding a claim related to promissory notes.
- Compañía General de Electricidad (CGE) v. Argentine Republic. ICSID. Successfully represented a Chilean company in a US$125 million case against Argentina.
- Advised the Dominican Republic on three investment arbitrations related to a highway concession.
- Advised a German company in the healthcare sector on potential investor-state arbitration against Mexico.
International Commercial Arbitration
- Represented a South American company in a ICC dispute seated in Panama, against a Central American company
- Advised a European entity and its Peruvian subsidiary in a potential ICC arbitration seated in London.
- Represented the Dominican Republic in a high-profile ICC arbitration involving a toll highway concession contract.
- Represented a Chilean sports company, lead by award-winning tennis stars and philanthropists in an ICC arbitration brought by a US sports management company related to the Association of Tennis Professionals (“ATP”) tennis tournament in Latin America.
- Advised a CARICOM Conglomerate in an international litigation against a sovereign state.
- Advised a Colombian businessman in a U.S. litigation related to a failed arbitration clause.
- Sea Search Armada v. Republic of Colombia; U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Represented the Republic of Colombia in a USD$17Billion federal court litigation involving the San José, a Spanish Galleon that sank off the coast in Colombia in 1708. All claims were dismissed.
- Republic of Panama v. Jaime Jurado; U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida. Represented Panama in the enforcement of an ICSI D arbitration award.
- Railroad Development Corporation v. Republic of Guatemala; U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Represented Guatemala in a litigation related to the enforcement of an ICSID award.
- Skye Ventures v. Republic of Venezuela; U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio; Represented the Republic of Venezuela in a US$100M US federal litigation involving forged notes.
Anti-corruption & White Collar
- Represented a Latin American businessman in a money laundering and drug trafficking
- investigation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
- Advised a U.S. Artificial Intelligence company regarding the application of the FCPA andmultilateral debarment in connection with its operations in Latin America.
- Represented a Fortune 500 consumer products company in an FCPA investigation in Latin America and China. Ms. Sánchez directed a team of more than 20 lawyers engaged in the internal investigation, coordinated forensic professionals, and prepared presentations for SEC and DOJ meetings.
- Represented a large European civil engineering firm in connection with a World Bank investigation related to allegations of corruption involving a road concession in Latin America.
- Advised an international organization in connection with a corruption investigation involving a Spanish company executing a public health program in Latin America, financed by the IDB.
- Advised an international organization in connection with a corruption investigation involving a Spanish consortium executing a water supply and sewerage project in an Andean country financed by the IDB.
- Advised an international organization in connection with a corruption investigation involving a Central America company executing a water supply and rural project in Central America, financed by the IDB.
- Advised an international organization in connection with a corruption investigation involving a Central America consortium executing a storm water drainage project in Central America, financed by the IDB.
- Advised a sovereign Latin American country in connection with a World Bank corruption investigation involving a Spanish consortium executing a road concession project financed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
- Advised a large Latin American company regarding an FCPA investigation and the whistleblower provisions.
- Counseled a multinational company in relation to the Colombian anti-drug trafficking and money laundry laws.
- Represented a Multi-Latin company before the Colombian National Antinarcotics Department (Dirección Nacional de Estupefacientes).
Latin America & The Caribbean
- Advised a conglomerate of Trinidad & Tobago in relation to a potential M&A transaction
- Advised a company of Trinidad & Tobago in a project finance operation in St. Lucia
- Advised a Latin American company in connection with its operations in Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname
- Advised the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on its draft model investment chapter for free trade agreements.
- Advised a European consumer products company in structuring its investments and expansion in Latin America
- Advised a European engineering company in connection with the construction and supervision of a Metro and two additional massive transportation projects in a major Latin American city.
- Advised the Republic of South Korea in the negotiation of a free trade agreement with a South American sovereign state.
- Advised the Republic of South Korea’s Custom Agency (CUPIA) in the implementation of a Single Window Project in Argentina, financed by the IADB and KEXIM.
- Advised a U.S. company in connection with a public bidding process in Colombia under Colombian Constitutional and Administrative Law.
- Assisted a U.S. Energy company in structuring renewable projects in Colombia and Mexico.
- American University, U.S.
- Universidad del Norte, Colombia
(Graduate Program on Political and Economic Studies, 2007)
- The District of Columbia Bar
- United States Court of Appeals:
- District of Columbia Circuit
- Republic of Colombia
- Disan LLP:
- Founder, 2014-2020
- Founder, 2014-2020
- Arnold & Porter LLP:
- Associate, 2007-2014
- Associate, 2007-2014
- Inter-American Development Bank:
- Consultant 2004-2006
- Consultant 2004-2006
- Monómeros Colombo Venezolanos S.A.:
- In House Counsel, 2000 - 2002
- Who’s Who Legal GAR Arbitration – Future Leaders, 2017- 2021
- Top Latino Lawyers 2020, Latino Leaders Magazine
- Shortlisted for the 2015 Chambers Women in Law
- Awards in the category of “Lawyer of the Year”, Chamber & Partners, 2015
- 25 Most Influential Lawyers in the United States, Latino Leaders, 2016, 2017
- Top Female Lawyers for Latam, 2015-2019, Latinvex
- Chambers Global, 2013-2015
- Top Lawyer under 40 –HNBA, 2013
- Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Fellow, 2014-2015
- Georgetown University, Adjunct Professor of Law (2014 - 2016) Washington DC
- International Law Institute, Investment Arbitration Lecturer (2013 - 2015) Washington DC
- “Impacto de la lucha global contra la corrupción en el arbitraje internacional bajo el CIADI: el estándar probatorio y las facultades de los árbitros” in Tratados Internacionales y el Arbitraje de Inversión: Experiencias de Colombia y del Derecho Comparado, Editorial IBAÑEZ, 2019.
- “The Full Measure of Full Protection and Security” in Investment Treaty Arbitration and International Law – V. 8. Huntington N.Y. Juris Net. Contributing Author.
- "The Andean Community of Nations and Latin American Integration: Balance and Perspectives for the New Century" Morelia, Mexico: Regional Integration Network, 2001.
- Featured, “La Corrupción No Se Combate Con Discuros”, Forbes Columbia, 2021 July/August Edition.
- Honduran Efforts Toward Transparency in Renewable Energy Transactions, The Latin America
- Energy Advisor - Inter-American Dialogue, October 2016.
- Anticorrupción y financiamiento internacional en América Latina, Lex Latin, June 2016
- Schein c. Archer & White Sales: una supuesta conspiración antimonopolio que llegó a la corte
- suprema de justicia de los estados unidos para debatir el umbral de la arbitrabilidad, Revista
- Arbitrio No. 2, Cámara de Comercio de Bogotá, July 2019.
- Respeto por los derechos humanos, sector privador: al banquillo, Revista Lex Latin, June 2017.
- El vínculo entre la demanda reconvencional y el objeto de la diferencia en procesos arbitrales
- Costa Rican YAR Review, 2014.
- Present and Future of International Arbitration in Colombia, Bogota Chamber of Commerce (virtual) April, 29, 2021
- Judicial Review and International Arbitration, Madrid International Arbitration Center (CIAM) and IPA (virtual), July 29, 2020
- VIII Seminar on Investor-State Arbitration, Instituto Peruano de Arbitraje (virtual), July 2020
- Georgetown International Arbitration Month, Inaugural Conference. “Hot Issues in International Commercial Arbitration”, February 4, 2020.
- XI Congreso de Arbitraje Inversionista-Estado, Instituto Peruano de Arbitraje. Lima, April 2019
- I Summit Women in Arbitration, Instituto Peruano de Arbitraje. Lima, January 2019
- II Annual Arbitration Summit, Latin Lawyer – GAR. Miami, April 2018.
- II Congreso de Arbitraje Internacional, Cámara de Comercio de Bogotá. Cartagena, April 2018
- II Central American Investment Arbitration Summit, San Salvador, January 2016
- Public Private Partnerships and the Post-2015 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Washington DC, November 2015
- Mega-Regional Trade Agreements: The Impact of the TPP and TTIP on Latin America’s Economic Competitiveness and Regional Integration Architecture, La Habana. September 2015
- 8th Annual Investment Arbitration Conference, Juris, Washington, D.C., March 2014
- International Investment Arbitration Simulation. International Law Institute in cooperation with Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., December 2013.
- VI Seminar on International Investment Arbitration, CCB and Univ. Externado de Colombia, Bogotá, September 2012
- Public Official's Workshop on Arbitration, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Bogota, May 2010
- Seminar on International Arbitration, Bogota Chamber of Commerce, May 2010
- International Investment Treaties and Investor-State Arbitration, ILI, Washington, DC., October 2009
- IV Seminar on International Investment Arbitration, Bogota CCB and Universidad Externado, Bogotá, September 2009
- Officer of Diversity & Inclusion of the International Bar Association’s (IBA) Access to Justice and Legal Aid Committee.
- Co-Chair of the Inter-American Legal Affairs Sub-Committee of the DC Bar (2019- 2020).