Quinn emanuel trial lawyers

Brazil Practice
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Introduction Print

The firm’s Brazil practice represents clients in disputes around the world involving Brazilian parties and investments in Brazil.  We have represented individuals and companies in some of the most complex and important recent Brazilian disputes, including:

  • Cross-Border Litigation: We represented multiple plaintiffs in federal securities claims arising from the multi-billion dollar kickback and bribery scandal involving Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras) and its affiliates, alleged to have caused over $30 billion in damage to Petrobras and its securities holders.  The scandal, known as the “Lava Jato,” is the largest of its kind in Brazilian history.
  • Cross-Border Internal Investigations: We represent Odebrecht – one of the largest construction companies in Brazil – in potential civil and criminal investigations and litigation involving the Lava Jato scandal.
  • International Arbitration: We represent Sete Brasil Participações S.A., Brazil’s largest maker of ultra-deep drilling rigs, in a number of disputes.
  • Cross-Border Bankruptcy: We represent OAS – a Brazilian company involved in engineering, construction, and infrastructure – in three parallel cases in New York federal courts.  While OAS was in the midst of a judicial restructuring in Brazil, certain U.S. creditors sued over allegedly fraudulent transfers in an effort to circumvent the consolidated Brazilian restructuring proceedings. 

Cultural Competency

Our Brazil practice brings a unique, well-informed perspective to cases.

The practice is led by New York-based partner, Michael Carlinsky, and Washington, D.C.-based partner, William Burck. Mr. Carlinsky, founder of the New York office, Chair of Complex Litigation, and Co-Chair of Insurance Litigation at the firm, has consistently been ranked among the top litigators in the country by multiple leading global publications. Mr. Burck is Co-Managing Partner of the firm’s Washington, D.C. office and Co-Chair of the firm’s D.C. Investigations, Government Enforcement and White Collar Criminal Defense Practice. He is a former Special Counsel and Deputy Counsel to President George W. Bush in Washington, D.C., and a former federal prosecutor in New York City.

Fully bi-cultural and bi-lingual, our Brazil practice team is well positioned to advise on issues involving Brazilian cases or clients.  We have significant experience in representing Brazilian clients in cross-border disputes that require sophisticated knowledge of the language, culture, and commercial customs. The practice’s associates, which include the President of the Brazilian-American Lawyers Association, are fluent in Portuguese and include lawyers licensed to practice Brazilian law. Our team has an advantage where understanding subtle cultural differences and nuances is important. Team members also have experience working in Brazil as lawyers and business executives and are well positioned to offer valuable cross-jurisdictional insights.

Working as part of the firm’s Latin America practice group, our Brazil practice is able to capitalize on our deep connections in the region to help our clients achieve their business objectives in a cost effective way. The Latin American practice group is led by Washington, D.C.-based partners Juan P. Morillo, a Colombian-American, David M. Orta, a Cuban-American, and Daniel Salinas-Serrano, a native of Puerto Rico.

Breadth of Practice

We have represented clients in Brazil-related disputes in many industries, including construction, infrastructure, project finance, energy sector, agribusiness, real estate, healthcare, intellectual property, transportation, technology, and financial and banking matters.

Although the practice has represented clients successfully in dozens of arbitrations, civil litigations, investigations and criminal matters that are not public, the following are some of the firm’s notable public representations related to Brazil.

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Recent Representations Print

Anti-corruption

  • We represented the Odebrecht Group in connection with what the U.S. DOJ has described as “the largest-ever global foreign bribery resolution.”  The criminal resolution resulted from a multi-jurisdictional investigation (Brazil, U.S., Switzerland) arising out of the Lava Jato Operation and involved $788 million in illicit payments to Petrobras officials, Brazilian politicians, and public officials in 12 countries on three continents.  We helped Odebrecht obtain a global fine of less than half of the minimum provided for under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and later negotiated a 20% reduction in the amount owed to the U.S.  Our efforts provided the company with much-needed additional liquidity, staving off financial collapse and bolstering the chances of a return to prosperity.
  • We represent the CONMEBOL in connection with U.S. criminal investigations and prosecutions into allegations of bribery and corruption in the international soccer world.  On May 27, 2015, the U.S. unsealed a 47-count criminal indictment in the Eastern District of New York, charging 14 defendants with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies in connection with the defendants’ alleged participation in a long running scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer.  The criminal indictment alleges that high-level soccer officials abused their positions to solicit bribes from sports marketing companies.  The DOJ announced a superseding indictment on December 3, 2015, which charged 16 additional defendants, including several past and current CONMEBOL officials.  Among the additional charges in the superseding indictment are a bribery scheme implicating many top CONMEBOL officials relating to the sale of broadcasting rights to the CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores and a scheme by an Argentinian sports marketing company to obtain various rights properties by paying bribes to three Central American soccer officials to cause them to exert their influence in favor of the company. 
  • We were counsel to the Special Committee of the Board of Directors of BTG Pactual S.A. – one of Latin America’s largest investment banks – in connection with an internal investigation regarding alleged bribery of Brazilian government officials.
  • We are counsel to FIFA in connection with U.S. and Swiss criminal investigations into allegations of bribery and corruption in the international football world.  As noted in the New York Times, U.S. law enforcement authorities have described the investigation as “one of the most complicated international white-collar cases in recent memory.”
  • One of our partners represented the Government of Brazil in a corruption matter involving former senior government officials and multiple jurisdictions.  The Legal 500 highlighted the case, and the Financial Times called it a “landmark” multi-jurisdictional representation.

Cross-Border Civil Litigation

  • We represented multiple plaintiffs including PIMCO Funds, Western Asset Management, Boeing, Roche, Guardian Life, and Kuwaiti Investment Authority in essential federal securities claims concerning the multi-billion dollar kickback and bribery scandal involving Petrobras and its affiliates, alleged to have caused $30 billion in damage to Petrobras and its securities holders.  After less than a year of litigation, we achieved successful settlements for each our clients as part of $353 million in matters and settlements announced by Petrobras.
  • We have represented Odebrecht in connection with civil litigation flowing from its criminal exposure.  We recently won a complete dismissal of all claims against Odebrecht in a civil suit in Washington, D.C. seeking over $200 million in damages stemming from Odebrecht’s participation in the massive Petrobras bribery scheme that has sent shockwaves through Brazil.  In a second civil matter, we obtained a complete dismissal of securities fraud claims against Odebrecht for lack of personal jurisdiction and inadequate control person allegations.
  • We represented Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (“CSN”), a large Brazilian steel company, in a lawsuit against its former Chief Financial Officer in the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York for conversion and declaratory judgment relating to CSN’s ownership interest in International Investment Fund (“IIF”).  After a two-week trial, and after deliberating for just three hours, the jury awarded CSN a complete victory.  The verdict brought CSN’s three-year dispute with the former executive to a conclusion and affirmed that the approximately $500 million of assets at the center of the dispute belong to CSN.

Bankruptcy and Restructuring

  • We represent OAS – a Brazilian company involved in engineering, construction, and infrastructure – in three parallel cases in New York federal courts.  OAS is in the midst of a judicial restructuring in Brazil, and certain U.S. creditors sued over allegedly fraudulent transfers (among other things) in U.S. courts in an attempt to circumvent the consolidated Brazilian restructuring proceedings.

International Arbitration

  • We represent Sete Brasil Participações S.A., Brazil’s largest maker of ultra-deep drilling rigs, in a number of disputes arising out of Brazil’s largest corruption scandal in history.
  • We represent a Brazilian holding company part of a large Brazilian conglomerate in recognition and enforcement proceedings of a Brazilian Award under the Federal Arbitration Act.  The action in the United States is coupled with a pre-judgment writ of attachment due to the debtor’s continued attempts to hide his assets in Brazil and the United States.
  • We represented a prominent Brazilian businessman in a dispute against a major U.S. healthcare company over breaches of a Share Purchase Agreement subject to an ICC arbitration clause.  We were able to help our client leverage discovery pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782 (which allows U.S. discovery in aid of foreign proceedings) as part of an overall international litigation and arbitration strategy.
  • We represent one of Brazil’s wealthiest businessmen in a dispute against a major Brazilian telecommunications company in proceedings related to an ICC arbitration in Paris.
  • We represented the controlling shareholders of a consortium responsible for building one of Brazil’s largest thermoelectric power plants in an ICC arbitration against a European manufacturer.
  • We represented Renova Energia S.A., a major Brazilian renewable energy company, in a CCBC arbitration against a U.S. energy company over misrepresentation, breach of express warranties, and violations of federal and state securities laws. 

Deep Commitment to Clients and the Region

Quinn Emanuel consistently demonstrates its commitment to its Brazilian clients.  Our attorneys visit Brazil regularly to meet with Brazilian companies, business leaders, and lawyers.  We have held many events in Brazil, including our popular “Demystifying the U.S. Jury Trial” Program in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, which demonstrates U.S. litigation procedures through a U.S.-style mock jury trial.

Given our ongoing relationships with Brazilian clients, we know what matters most to them and consistently exceed their expectations.

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