Gowling WLG and the Municipality of Sao Paolo take a stand against corruption

10 August 2015

In August 2015, Gowling WLG, the Municipality of Sao Paolo and the Federal Republic of Brazil (Sao Paolo), won the latest in a long line of corruption proceedings against Paulo Maluf, former mayor of Sao Paolo, and his son.

The case, which began in 2005, has been through three courts, and Gowling WLG and Sao Paolo won in all three. Because the defendants were known to hold bank accounts in Jersey, to which the money - the result of bribes - was sent, the case went all the way to the Privy Council of Jersey, via the Royal Court of Jersey in 2012 and the Court of Appeal in 2013.

The case concerns funds of more than $US28 million, and in August 2015 the Privy Council of Jersey's judgment in The Federal Republic of Brazil and another v Durant International Corporation and another [2015] UKPC 35 dismissed the defendants' appeal on the technical question of backwards tracing, and held that the practice is allowed in circumstances where a claimant can establish a close causal link between relevant payments.

Gowling WLG's team consisted of partner James Sidwell, chairman Andrew Witts and senior associate Jennifer Iglesias.

James said: "This judgment of the Privy Council, which makes new law in both England and Jersey in respect of the concept of 'backward tracing', represents the culmination of a decade of hard work.

"This matter is an example of the high stakes, multi-jurisdictional dispute and asset recovery work that forms a core part of Gowling WLG's offering. From the moment that the firm was first engaged, we have had to fight for our clients every step of the way. Throughout, our clients have benefited from the technical expertise and utter commitment of a very able team of lawyers and support staff - all of whom have contributed to this result."


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