Quinn Emanuel’s investigations, government enforcement, and white collar criminal defense practice is second to none. Leading publications repeatedly have recognized our practice as a market leader: Law360 named it a “White Collar Practice Group of the Year” an unprecedented four years in a row; Global Investigation Review named it “Most Impressive Practice of the Year” in its inaugural rankings in 2015; The American Lawyer and Legal Week named it “Transatlantic Investigation Team of the Year” in 2017; and Chambers USA, Chambers UK, Chambers Europe, The National Law Journal, The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers, Legal 500, The Expert's Guide to the World's Leading Lawyers, Best Lawyers, and others routinely identify our group among the elite white collar practices in the world.
We focus on getting the best resolutions as quickly as possible. The mere filing of a criminal charge can ruin a client’s reputation and trigger catastrophic financial losses. While Quinn Emanuel regularly represents clients in high-profile matters covered on the front pages of The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and other publications, we often achieve our best results quietly, outside the public glare, by persuading government lawyers to refrain from filing charges. Sometimes that happens because a successful internal investigation provided the basis for a negotiated resolution or because we presented an early vigorous defense that convinced the government its time was better spent pursuing someone else. And, of course, when an indictment is inevitable or already has been returned, we bring to bear the trial chops that only the world’s leading disputes firm has.
Our experience in corporate investigations, government enforcement and white collar defense is wide-ranging and diverse. We have conducted sensitive internal investigations at the direction of corporate general counsel, board of directors, audit committees, special committees, and just about every other corporate stakeholder. We have represented corporations and individuals in congressional investigations, regulatory investigations, administrative proceedings, grand jury investigations, at trial, and on appeal. We have conducted internal investigations regarding, and defended clients against, allegations of healthcare, securities, and government contract fraud; domestic and foreign corruption (including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or FCPA); money laundering; sanctions evasion; economic espionage and trade secrets theft, tax evasion; asset forfeiture; criminal environmental violations; the Anti-Kickback Statute and False Claims Act; and cartel, bid-rigging, market allocation, and other antitrust violations. We have litigated against virtually every U.S. enforcement agency and Attorneys General and District Attorneys in numerous states. There is virtually no white collar or business crime matter that our partners have not faced.
We have an international practice with partners located in 32 global offices, and have represented clients and conducted investigations in the United States, Latin America, Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Much of our work has been done on behalf of foreign companies and individuals whose activities have drawn the attention of U.S. regulators and prosecutors. Our global resources, combined with our unique cross-border experience, allow us seamlessly to navigate related criminal investigations in multiple jurisdictions.
SELECTED PUBLIC REPRESENTATIONS
I. Bribery and Corruption
- FIFA-Related Matters:
- We represented FIFA and CONMEBOL in what the New York Times described as “one of the most complicated international white collar cases in recent memory,” specifically, the global criminal investigations involving, amongst others, allegations that international media companies bribed FIFA officials to obtain sponsorship and broadcasting contracts. Through our advocacy, we persuaded U.S. prosecutors to identify FIFA and CONMEBOL as victims, which enabled them to receive restitution payments award from the defendants convicted at trial as well as those who pled guilty prior to trial.
- We represent Julius Baer in connection with parallel investigations by the DOJ and Swiss authorities involving allegations that FIFA officials and sports media and marketing officials engaged in money laundering, racketeering, and wire fraud in connection with awards of global and regional soccer tournament media and marketing rights.
- JBS, J&F, Batista Representation. We were lead counsel to the largest meat producer in the world, JBS S.A., its controlling shareholder J&F Investimentos S.A., and J&F’s individual owners, Joesley and Wesley Batista in connection with a historic bribery settlement. Prior to the companies’ engagement of Quinn Emanuel, Brazilian prosecutors, acting unilaterally, imposed a fine of more than BRL 10.3 billion (approximately USD 3.2 billion), the largest corporate fine for corrupt activity in history. We led the efforts on behalf of the companies and the individuals to secure a resolution in the United States with the Department of Justice and the SEC, who ultimately settled with our clients for a small fraction of what Brazilian prosecutors demanded and obtained.
- McDonnell Corruption Trial. We represented former First Lady of Virginia Maureen McDonnell in connection with federal bribery and obstruction charges brought against her and her husband, former Governor of Virginia Bob McDonnell. McDonnell was convicted of obstruction of justice and certain corruption charges after a six-week trial in 2014. After convincing the trial court to vacate the obstruction conviction because it was unsupported by the evidence, we pursued on appeal our arguments that the court incorrectly defined bribery and effectively directed the jury to convict. The Supreme Court of the United States agreed with our position and vacated all remaining convictions in a unanimous opinion that resoundingly rejected the government's and lower courts' conception of federal bribery laws.
- Odebrecht Global Resolution. We represented Odebrecht S.A. in connection with civil and criminal investigations flowing from the Lava Jato scandal, the largest corruption scandal in the history of Latin America and what the DOJ has described as “the largest-ever global foreign bribery resolution.” We helped secure a global resolution of Odebrecht’s criminal liability in the United States, Brazil, and Switzerland that allowed the company to continue operating despite allegations which constituted an existential threat.
- College Admissions Investigation. We obtained a complete trial acquittal—not guilty on all charges—on behalf of Jie “Jack” Zhao, the CEO of iTalk Global, who was accused to bribing Harvard University’s fencing coach to recruit his two sons to Harvard’s fencing team and assist in obtaining admission to Harvard. Following a three-week trial in federal court in Boston, a jury found Mr. Zhao not guilty of bribery, conspiracy, and honest-services wire fraud.
- Sigelman FCPA Trial. We convinced the Department of Justice to drop a high-profile FCPA prosecution mid-trial, resulting in the client receiving a sentence of probation and no jail time. In one of only a few FCPA cases ever to be tried, the government dropped five-and-a-half of six charges against Mr. Sigelman after an admission by the government’s star witness that he made false statements to the jury on direct examination. The judge referred to the firm’s cross examination of the government’s star witness as “bloodletting.” Sigelman had been facing a possible sentence of 20 years in prison.
- Vitol Trader FCPA Trial. We represent Javier Aguilar, a former shareholder of global commodities giant Vitol Inc., in connection with allegations that he paid bribes in multiple countries in Latin America. Four separate components of the Justice Department are prosecuting Mr. Aguilar, who is scheduled to face trial in January 2024 in federal court in New York and in April 2024 in federal court in Texas.
- Privinvest. We represented Privinvest, one of the world’s leading shipbuilding firms, and its CEO and majority shareholder, Iskandar Safa, in connection with criminal proceedings and investigations into contracts that Privinvest executed in Mozambique. DOJ indicted two Privinvest employees, alleging they were part of a scheme to make unlawful payments to Mozambican officials, and Credit Suisse bankers in connection with the contracts.
- Miami Dolphins. We represented Stephen Ross and the Miami Dolphins in connection with the NFL’s investigation into allegations of tampering and tanking by former head coach Brian Flores. Among other things, Mr. Flores alleged that the Dolphins intentionally lost games during the 2019 season and that Mr. Ross offered payments of $100,000 as an incentive to lose games. The NFL’s investigation concluded that each of these serious allegations was unfounded. We handled all aspects of Mr. Ross’s and the Dolphins’ defense in this investigation, and engaged extensively with the League and its investigators to minimize penalties to the Club.
- BTG Internal Investigation. We represent a special committee formed by the Boards of Directors of Banco BTG Pactual S.A., the largest investment bank in Latin America, in an internal investigation regarding money laundering and bribery allegations against its former CEO André dos Santos Esteves. We found no basis to support the allegations against the Bank and its employees.
II. Fraud and Money Laundering
- Boeing 737 Max. We represent a number of current and former Boeing employees and executives in connection with the U.S. government’s investigation of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft – the model involved in the fatal accidents of Lion Air Flight 610 in October 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in March 2019.
- Platinum Partners. We represented Mark Nordlicht, founder of the Platinum Partners hedge fund, in obtaining a new trial after his conviction on securities fraud charges.
- Theranos. We represented Dr. Adam Rosendorff, who served as the laboratory director of Theranos during the company’s commercial launch. Rosendorff, who spent more than a week on the witness stand at the trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, and was described by reporters as “one of the most important witnesses to testify,” received no criminal sanction whatsoever.
- FTX. We represent the “new” FTX, which was established in bankruptcy proceedings in Delaware to assist in the recovery of assets for potential victims following revelations of the alleged multi-billion dollar frauds committed by its founder Sam Bankman-Fried and other insiders. We represent the new FTX in various litigations to recover assets and in a number of investigations by multiple government agencies relating to the underlying allegations of fraud.
- PrivatBank. We represent Ukraine’s largest and most systemically important commercial bank, Joint Stock Company Commerical Bank PrivatBank, in a number of proceedings against PrivatBank’s former owners, who systematically looted the bank of hundreds of millions of dollars. In the United States, we filed a lawsuit in Delaware Chancery Court seeking $600 million in damages, which one observer, described as “probably the most detailed study of large-scale money laundering into the United States.” The case is ongoing.
- NXIVM. We represent Clare Bronfman, a prominent supporter of the NXIVM self-improvement courses and daughter of former Seagram’s Beverage Company owner Edgar Bronfman, Sr., in appealing the nearly seven-year prison sentence she received following her guilty plea to immigration fraud and identity theft offenses.
- Swedbank. We represent Swedbank in ongoing U.S. investigations relating to anti-money laundering, sanctions, and other controls issues that became a focus of regulators following the Panama Papers leak in April 2016 and, more recently, Swedish media reports highlighting connections between Swedbank and the Danske Bank money laundering and “Magnitsky Affair” scandals.
- “Meme” Stock Investigation. We represent Citadel LLC and certain of its subsidiaries in connection with investigations and litigation arising from the trading restrictions imposed on Gamestop and other “meme” stocks by various broker-dealers in late January 2021.
- FBME Preliminary Injunction. We obtained an unprecedented preliminary injunction that prevented the U.S. Treasury Department and its Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or “FinCEN,” bureau from enforcing a rule targeting our client, FBME Bank, to cut it off from U.S. dollars (and thus from the global financial system). This is the only successful stand a bank has made against FinCEN’s implementation of this sanction, which FinCEN may impose following a determination that a foreign bank is an institution of “primary money laundering concern” and should be cut off from the U.S. financial system.
- 1MDB Matters.
- We represent BSI, a Switzerland-based, international private bank, in connection with the global criminal investigations involving 1MDB, Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund. Based on the internal investigations we conducted in the bank’s Swiss, Luxembourg, and Singaporean operations, and the company’s extensive cooperation with U.S. authorities, the U.S. Justice Department declined any prosecution at all of BSI or its employees. By contrast, other entities involved in the investigation reached a resolution with the DOJ requiring payment of more than $2.9 billion.
- We also represent Mubadala Investment Company PJSC, the Abu Dhabi sovereign investor, in connection with asset forfeiture proceedings in U.S. courts relating to the government’s efforts to forfeit assets involved in Mubadala’s transactions 1MDB.
- MiMedx. We were trial counsel to Bill Taylor, the former President and COO of biologics company MiMedx in a securities and accounting fraud case.
- Eaze. We were trial counsel to a key consultant to the cannabis delivery service Eaze in a bank fraud case arising out of the company’s characterization of cannabis sales that were legal under state law.
- David Demos. We were trial counsel to David Demos, a former trader and managing director at Cantor Fitzgerald & Co., who was indicted on five counts of securities fraud. Mr. Demos was acquitted of all charges.
- AIG False Claims Act Matters. We obtained a complete dismissal, with prejudice, of a major False Claims Act case against AIG that alleged AIG defrauded the Federal Reserve Bank of New York of hundreds of millions of dollars during the financial crisis. The case, brought by a former AIG human resources executive-turned-whistleblower, alleged that two insurance subsidiaries that AIG sold to the Federal Reserve in exchange for $25 billion in debt reduction had, for decades, engaged in unlicensed insurance business in New York. The plaintiff alleged that AIG was complicit in the illegal insurance activity, concealed it from regulators, and deliberately misled the Fed during the negotiations in order to consummate the transaction. This case posed a potential $2.5 billion liability for AIG under the False Claims Act’s treble damages provision.
- Oceanografia. We represent Martin Diaz-Alvarez, one of Mexico’s most prominent bankers, who was accused of a $500 million fraud involving the collapse of Oceanografia S.A. de C.V., Mexico’s largest oil services company. This is the largest financial fraud case in the history of Latin America. We successfully extricated Mr. Diaz from parallel DOJ and SEC investigations.
- Archila. We represented Erick 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 high-profile money laundering investigation by the Guatemalan government involving allegations that he provided hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of gifts to the former President and Vice-President of Guatemala.
- Bittrex. We represented Bittrex in connection with an investigation and litigation by the SEC’s Division of Enforcement into allegations that Bittrex operates as an unregistered securities exchange in violation of federal securities law. The SEC filed an action against Bittrex, Inc. on April 17, 2023, seeking $1.3 billion in potential damages. After we appeared and began to litigate the case, the SEC agreed to settle it for less than 2% of what it sought in its complaint.
III. Economic Espionage and Trade Secrets
- Pangang. We represent the Pangang Group and three of its subsidiaries. These Chinese companies—large metal manufacturers—were indicted in a closely watched criminal case brought under the Economic Espionage Act. The government attempted to serve the indictment on our clients by delivery and mailing of a summons on an uncharged U.S. corporation that it alleged acted as an “agent” of the defendants. Our motion to quash the government’s attempted service was granted.
- Chen Espionage Investigation. We represented Dr. Qun Chen, a senior executive of Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare Co. Ltd., a leading Chinese medical imaging company, in a criminal economic espionage investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York that resulted in the indictment of three NYU scientists. We successfully extricated Dr. Chen from the Southern District’s investigation.
IV. Constitutional and Civil Rights
- Robert Kraft. We represented Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, in connection with solicitation of prostitution charges brought against him by the State of Florida. We persuaded the court in Florida to suppress video evidence of Mr. Kraft’s alleged crime by showing that local law enforcement violated Mr. Kraft’s and others’ Fourth Amendment rights. The suppression of this evidence resulted in dismissal of charges against Mr. Kraft and helped to ensure the videos never became public.
V. Tax Evasion
- Panama Papers. We represented Johan von der Goltz, who was charged in the only U.S. prosecution arising out of the disclosure of information from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. Known as the “Panama Papers,” the disclosures were dramatized in The Laundromat, starring Meryl Streep. von der Goltz was one of Mossack Fonseca’s first clients.
- Swiss Bank Program.
- We represented Bank Julius Baer & Co. Ltd. in connection with the DOJ’s crackdown on the Swiss banking industry and alleged facilitation of tax evasion. We obtained a deferred prosecution agreement that involved a penalty that was approximately 85% below the bottom end of the recommended sentence range under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
- We represented BSI SA, one of the world’s largest private banks, which was the first out of approximately 100 banks participating in the Swiss Bank Program to obtain a non-prosecution agreement.
- We also represented EFG Bank, one of the largest banks in Switzerland, and obtained a non-prosecution agreement that included a penalty that was just 1.9% of the bank’s peak U.S. assets under management, which is less than half the penalty that other banks in the Program have had to pay.
VI. Economic Sanctions, Export Controls, and Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA)
- Halkbank Case. We represented Reza Zarrab, a Turkish gold trader charged in the Southern District of New York with engaging in hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of transactions that constituted money laundering, Iran Trade sanctions violations, and bank fraud.
- Elliott Broidy. We represented Elliott Broidy, a well-known Los Angeles-based businessman and former Finance Chairman of the Republican National Committee, in a federal criminal investigation of his failure to register as an alleged foreign agent of a Malaysian billionaire and the Chinese Government in violation of the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA). Broidy received a presidential pardon.
- DigitalBridge. We represent a special committee of the board of directors of DigitalBridge Group, Inc., in connection with allegations that Tom Barrack, who led DigitalBridge’s predecessor company Colony Capital, violated FARA by acting as an agent of the United Arab Emirates without registering as a foreign agent. On behalf of the Special Committee, we conducted an investigation to assess whether the company itself is exposed to any criminal liability.
VII. Campaign Finance
- Bonner. We represented Steve Bonner, the former CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America, in an internal investigation regarding campaign finance law violations that had occurred at the company over a decade. We secured a favorable conciliation agreement for our client with the Federal Election Commission, which declined a referral of the matter to the DOJ.
- De Blasio Investigation. We represented a two million-member national labor union and its largest local affiliate in state and federal bribery and campaign finance investigations regarding contributions to the Mayor of New York City and other New York Democrats. The investigations resulted in no charges against our clients or any of their executives.
VIII. Data Privacy
- X Corp. We represent X Corp. (formerly Twitter Inc.) in connection with ongoing investigations regarding the company’s privacy, data protection, and information security practices. In July 2023, we filed a motion to terminate a 20-year consent order that the company entered into with the Federal Trade Commission prior to our representation of the company. The basis for the motion was misconduct by FTC staff attorneys that we discovered in the course of witness testimony during the FTC’s investigation.
Our White Collar Partners Around The World
- William Burck, Global Co-Managing Partner of the firm, Co-Chair of the firm’s Investigations, Government Enforcement and White Collar Criminal Defense Practice Group, former federal prosecutor, Southern District of New York, former Special Counsel and Deputy Counsel to the President of the United States, former U.S. Supreme Court clerk, and perennial award winner from publications such as Chambers, Benchmark Litigation, Law360, and others.
- Juan Morillo, Co-Chair of the D.C. Office’s Investigations, Government Enforcement and White Collar Criminal Defense Practice Group, and a prominent criminal defense lawyer as ranked by numerous legal publications, including Benchmark Litigation, Financial Times, and Legal 500.
- Robert Zink, former Chief of the U.S. Justice Department’s Criminal Division Fraud Section and former Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Department’s Criminal Division.
- Michael Liftik, former Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Enforcement Advisor to the Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, with nearly 10 years of SEC enforcement experience.
- Avi Perry, former Chief of the Market Integrity and Major Frauds Unit, U.S. Justice Department’s Criminal Division Fraud Section.
- John Bash, former United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas, former Special Assistant to the President and Associate Counsel to the President, and former Assistant to the Solicitor General.
- Christopher Michel, former Assistant to the Solicitor General, former Counselor and Chief of Staff to the Attorney General, and former Special Adviser to the White House Counsel.
- Stephen Hauss, former prosecutor in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, his work has been recognized by Law360, The American Lawyer, Global Investigations Review, and Who’s Who Legal Investigations.
- Mike Lyle, former Director of the White House Office of Administration in the Clinton Administration, and former General Counsel for the White House Office of Administration.
- AJ Merton, former trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, Tax Division, where he began through the Attorney General’s Honors Program.
- Sarah Heaton Concannon, former Senior Trial Counsel int the SEC Division of Enforcement.
- Samuel Nitze, former federal prosecutor, Eastern District of New York, where he was the Chief of the Public Integrity Section and Director of the FIFA Task Force.
- Daniel Koffmann, career defense lawyer recognized as a white collar “Rising Star” by publications such as Law360 and Lawdragon.
- Katherine Lemire, former Executive Deputy Superintendent at the New York State Department of Financial Services, former federal prosecutor, Southern District of New York, former Assistant District Attorney, New York County.
- Marc Greenwald, former federal prosecutor, Southern District of New York, and former policy adviser at the U.S. Treasury Department.
- Manisha M. Sheth, Co-Chair of the Firm’s Government and Regulatory Litigation Practice Group, former Executive Deputy Attorney General of the Economic Justice Division at the Office of the New York Attorney General, and former federal prosecutor, Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
- William Weinreb, former Acting United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.
- Steve Madison, Co-Chair of the Firm, Investigations, Government Enforcement and White Collar Criminal Defense Practice Group, former federal prosecutor Chief of the General Crimes Section, Central District of California, and Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
- Jim Asperger, Co-Chair of the Firm’s Investigations, Government Enforcement and White Collar Criminal Defense Practice Group, former federal prosecutor and Chief of the Major Frauds Section, Central District of California, former Supreme Court clerk, and Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
- Christopher Tayback, former federal prosecutor, Central District of California, former prosecutor in the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, and Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
- Daniel Koffmann, career defense lawyer recognized as a white collar “Rising Star” by publications such as Law360 and Lawdragon.
- Kristin Tahler, represented individuals and corporations in some of the highest profile white collar matters of the last decade.
- Dave Grable, former federal prosecutor, Northern District of New York.
- Bill Price, former federal prosecutor, Central District of California, and Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
- Duane Lyons, former federal prosecutor and Chief of the Criminal Complaints Section, Central District of California.
San Francisco and Silicon Valley
- John Potter, Co-Chair of the Firm’s Investigations, Government Enforcement and White Collar Criminal Defense Practice Group, and former federal prosecutor and Deputy Chief, Government Fraud Section, Central District of California.
- Diane Doolittle, Co-Chair of the Firm’s National Trial Practice Group, and former prosecutor in Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
- Bob Feldman, former federal prosecutor, Northern District of California, and Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
- Jonathan Bunge, former federal prosecutor and Deputy Chief of the General Crimes Section, Northern District of Illinois, and Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
- Andrew Schapiro, former Ambassador to the Czech Republic, former Assistant Federal Public Defender, Southern District of New York
- Leonid Feller, former federal prosecutor, Eastern District of Michigan, and faculty at the University of Michigan Law School.
- Alex Spiro, former Manhattan prosecutor and faculty at Harvard Law School.
- Sam Williamson, former federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York and the Middle District of Tennessee, and former Chair of Kirkland & Ellis’ Asia-based Government Enforcement and Investigations Practice.
- Kami Haeri, former member of the Paris Bar Council and renowned white collar practitioner in France.
- Eric Russo, former prosecutor at the court of appeals of Paris and at the National Financial Prosecutor’s office (PNF).
- Michelle Fox, repeatedly identified as one of the leading lawyers in Australia by Chambers, Who's Who Legal, and Legal 500 Asia Pacific.
- Thomas Werlen, Managing Partner of the Swiss Office and former General Counsel of a listed multinational pharmaceutical company, recognized as a leading Swiss lawyer by Handelszeitung and Bilanz, has been heavily involved as lead counsel in bribery investigations in international sports and in investigations of Swiss banks in connection with the US-Swiss Tax Program.
- Xiao Liu, recognized in Chambers Global 2018 and Chambers Asia Pacific 2018 as a “rising star” in the China market with expertise in FCPA investigations and enforcement matters, and has vast experience representing Chinese companies and individuals in investigations by the U.S. government authorities such as the SEC, DOJ, FINRA, and Federal Reserve, and in federal and state courts in the United States.
- Haiyan Tang, co-managing partner of Quinn Emanuel’s Shanghai Office, whose practice focuses on advising multinational companies in their global government enforcement, investigation, and compliance matters and advising China-based companies in sensitive cross-border litigation and arbitration.