Webinar Replay: Attacking Trusts

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How to Break Through an 
Asset Protection Plan 
Presented by: 
Paul Brown, Karr TuDle Campbell

Common Misconceptions
• Victim should rush to file suit/obtain judgment
• Pre-judgment discovery is unlikely/unavailable
• Focus should be on tracing assets
• Can only freeze and seize assets aOer judgment
• Judgments easily cross borders
• Laws of each country offer the same amount of protection
• Criminal proceedings and restitution orders will help a victim to
recover its loss
• Bankruptcy will enable a victim to more efficiently recover its loss
• RICO claims are a forceful way to achieve a recovery

Legal – procedural obstacle: Asset recovery involves working across borders, which is 
tough at best of times. Legal disharmony and restrictions can make accessing 
documents difficult. Individuals have rights and amongst them, in most societies, are 
rights to privacy, due process, protection of private property and equal and fair 
treatment under the law. 
The informal and financial obstacle: Investigators are trying to find money that has 
been deliberately concealed by a disciplined, well-funded, well-informed individual with 
access to state power, global banks and smart lawyers. And money can be moved very 
rapidly. It is becoming harder to hide money because of changes in the way secrecy 
jurisdictions are regarded, because of the spread of due diligence, and because of the 
trend towards greater transparency, but many challenges still remain. The vast majority 
of asset recoveries involve overseas accounts, trusts and companies. In particular, 
offshore jurisdictions frequently have regulatory set-ups that are perfect to obscure 
links to money, with shell companies, nominee directors, and secrecy. 
The political obstacle: In countries where assets have been transferred, there will also 
be politics. Some country’s governments are more supportive of private action than 
others. Depending upon the targets of the investigation, the political process could be a 
difficult barrier to overcome.

• Thorough understanding of asset protection schemes 
• Appreciation of legal restrictions 
• Judicial and investigative devices available in relevant 
• Time, experience, and flexibility to handle changing facts
• Well-conceived plan including asset freeze/asset recovery, 
carried out in three phases 
Recovery Requires

The Approach 
Phase I: Investigating 
Phase II: Discovery - 
Starting the Process 
and Locating the Assets 
Phase III: 
Freezing the Assets 
Seizing the Assets 
Repatriating the Assets 
Determine who, where, jurisdictions and amount. 
Inves,gators trace assets via documents, electronic data, 
informants, accounting, and information from banks and other third 
parties. Some may be available locally or via open sources; much will 
require help from foreign courts. 
Once the assets have been located, they must be frozen in place by a 
court. Different jurisdictions have different rules. Again, it will be 
critical to maintain confidentiality until the freeze is in place.

The assets must now be taken through a confiscation or seizure
order. There are different routes depending on jurisdiction and
circumstance which requires working with other jurisdictions to get
orders and to enforce them.
Assets must be transferred back to where they came from. This
raises a number of issues like: costs to other jurisdictions,
compensating those who may have lost out in other ways, and
ensuring that the proceeds go to the right place (and don’t get
embezzled again).

Phase I – Investigation and Scheme 
1. Evaluate strengths/weaknesses of case for damages and misappropriated 
2. Develop profile of fraudsters 
3. Analyze jurisdictions involved. Determine if they are favorable for recovery. 
4. Evaluate issues of legal reciprocity and mutual assistance between 
jurisdictions. Decide most suitable forum(s) for recovery. 
5. Identify location of accessible assets. Determine what evidence will be 
necessary for access and seizure. 
6. Identify concealment techniques utilized 
• Laundering money through local and international banks 
• Transfers to corporations, family members or friendly nominees 
• Transfers to discretionary trusts guarded by protectors 
• Payments into insurance policies held by captive insurance companies 
• Mortgage pay downs on assets held by family members 
• Purchases of cashiers or travelers checks 
• Purchases of art or jewelry

Phase I – Investigation and Scheme 
Development (cont'd)

7. Multiple related parties – individuals and entities
8. Multiple accounts and financial instruments to hold and move assets
9. Variety of asset holdings, both as to the kind of assets and where and
how held
10. Understand tiered holdings
11. Understand the function of knowing parties-facilitators
12. To constitute fraudulent transfer, many bank secrecy and tax havens
require that you must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:
– Trust was established with principal intent to defraud
– SeDler insolvent or without assets to satisfy creditor’s claim

Where does the money go? 
• Belize: Caribbean nation; eight banks, one insurance company, 23 trust 
companies and 38,741 registered offshore corporations 
• British Virgin Islands: United Kingdom territory; 500,000+ registered 
offshore corporations 
• Cayman Islands: United Kingdom territory; 500+ banks and trust 
companies, 7,100 mutual and hedge funds 
• Isle of Man: Crown dependency of U.K.; 171 offshore service providers 
• Switzerland: Bank secrecy, stable currency and political system, recipient 
of most flight assets
• Panama: Central American nation; 34 offshore banks, 350,000+ offshore 
These jurisdictions require a high 
burden of proof to establish fraudulent intent.

United States 
• Discovery Action 
- Used to iden,fy poten,al defendants and theories of liability 
- Cannot be a fishing expedition 
• LeTers Rogatory
- 28 USC §1782(a), allows interested persons access to discovery orders to 
obtain evidence in the U.S. for use in foreign litigation 
- Party must be physically present in jurisdiction 
- Does not require pending proceeding 
- Judicial request to foreign tribunal, narrow in scope, cumbersome and slow
English Common Law 
• Norwich Pharmacal: Seeks informa,on from innocent third party holding 
information to assist victim to identify wrongdoers 
• Mareva Injunction: Allows complimentary discovery and enables seizure of 
assets to preserve for benefit of creditor until subsequent adjudication. 
• Anton Piller: Preserves evidence that could be destroyed. Needs to show 
strong prima facie case and that respondent is in possession or control of 
Phase II – Discovery (cont’d) 
• Hague Convention 
- Request to Central Authority that is transmiDed to foreign tribunal 
- Court conducts evidentiary proceeding, sends results back to U.S. court 
- Most member nations limit scope and extent of discovery 
• Compelled Consent Directives 
- Compel defendant to authorize third party to turn over documents and 
financial informa,on that might exist 
• Federal Rules 
- Compel one in possession, custody or control of documents to produce 
- Control means has legal right, authority and prac,cal ability to obtain 

Statutory Freezing Orders
• France 
- Existence of threat to ability to recover 
- Bailiff executes order 
- Must bring action against debtor within one month of order 
• Panama 
- Need proof of assets transferred to Panamanian party 
- Requires lawsuit to recover filed within six days of freeze 
• Switzerland 
- Criminal proceeding by public prosecutor 
- Seizure of assets is immediate 
Phase III – Freezing the Assets 
Phase III – Freezing the Assets (cont’d) 
U.S. Asset Seizure Devices 
• Prejudgment ATachment 
- Legal right where assets are conveyed, concealed or removed 
to hinder, delay or defraud creditors 
- Assets present in jurisdiction if jurisdiction over defendant, 
can prohibit defendant from disposing of foreign assets and 
for unconscionable conduct, order repatria,on of foreign 
• Prejudgment Injunction 
- Only applicable when asserting equitable claims
Posted in Asset Protection Training.