Global Restructuring Review - Cross-border restructuring and insolvency legal news, features and events

GRR 100 2018

Sequor Law

04 May 2018

This Miami asset recovery boutique is counsel to the Chilean liquidator of what is alleged to be Latin America's first Ponzi scheme

Global head of restructuring and insolvency Gregory Grossman
Partners in restructuring team 4
Active cross-border restructuring and insolvency matters 28

History of the practice

Shareholders Edward Davis and Gregory Grossman launched boutique Sequor Law in April 2017, in what was effectively a rebrand of Miami firm Astigarraga Davis' cross-border insolvency, international asset recovery and financial fraud team. Davis and Grossman, two of the founders of Astigarraga Davis, decided to establish the new outfit when their former firm's international arbitration practice left to join global law firm Reed Smith.

In addition to keeping all of the cross-border insolvency attorneys from Astigarraga Davis, Sequor Law hired attorney John Silbermann from the enforcements division of the US Securities & Exchange Commission.

The firm holds a niche spot in the cross-border insolvency market, applying a multi-disciplinary approach to use cross-border insolvencies as an asset recovery tool. Who's Who Legal lists Davis and partners Annette Escobar and Arnoldo Lacayo as experts in asset tracing.

Network

Grossman heads up the firm's international insolvency and financial litigation practice, which operates out of a solitary office in Miami.

Who uses it?

It primarily represents liquidators, insolvency practitioners and victims of fraud, including international banks, sovereign governments and government institutions, lenders and multinational corporations, as well as individuals.

Some notable clients include Big Four professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, Grant Thornton and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Historic track record

The practice, under Astigarraga Davis and Sequor Law, has made over 20 Chapter 15 filings in the US to recognise insolvency proceedings in diverse jurisdictions including Antigua, Austria, Barbados, Brazil, the BVI, the Cayman Islands, Chile, Mexico, Romania and the UK. Indeed, Grossman says the firm has filed more Chapter 15s in Florida – and likely in the whole United States – than any other single law firm in the US.

Notably, Davis and Grossman filed the first Chapter 15 bankruptcy petition in the state of Florida, on behalf of PricewaterhouseCoopers as the custodian of failed financial institution Bancafe International Barbados.

Davis also served as lead civil counsel for the government of Antigua and Barbuda in relation to an alleged fraud in the payment of debt owed to a Japanese lender, which sponsored the building of the Crabbs Desalination and Power Plant in northeast Antigua.

Elsewhere, the team has been instructed to represent the joint liquidators of Stanford International Bank in efforts to recover assets relating to a US$7 billion Ponzi scheme – the second largest Ponzi scheme in US history, which has components in Switzerland, Peru, Antigua, the UK, the US, Canada and various other jurisdictions.

Recent events

Sequor Law continues to advise the court-appointed liquidator and foreign representative of bankrupt Chilean investment firm Onix Capital in Chapter 15 proceedings in Florida. The liquidator is seeking to recover assets relating to an alleged Ponzi scheme valued at over US$100 million operated by the group's CEO, Chilean businessman Alberto Chang-Rajii. In 2017, the team was also instructed to deal with the Chapter 15 recognition of the Chilean liquidation of Chang-Rajii himself, which has also been recognised in the UK, Switzerland, Isle of Man and Australia.

Elsewhere, Grossman has been advising BVI-incorporated World Financial Group on its Chapter 15 action in Florida, recognising its BVI winding-up and protecting assets held by its Florida subsidiary, in the face of claims lodged by its Peru-based shareholders.

Escobar and Grossman have also been providing counsel to bankrupt Brazilian mining company MMX Sudeste Mineração in Chapter 15 proceedings in Florida, and successfully defended a motion to dismiss the Chapter 15 case.

In the case of Brazilian bank Massa Falida Do Banco Cruzeiro Do Sul, Sequor defeated a motion to dismiss a complaint by a foreign representative asserting state-law avoidance remedies in Chapter 15 adversary proceedings – the first opinion of its kind saying a foreign liquidator can use US state-law to claw back fraudulent transfers.

As well as Silberman, Sequor hired attorneys Juan Mendoza from Texas bankruptcy boutique Forshey Prostok in April 2017 and Amanda Finley, former law clerk to Judge Raymond Ray in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida in October.