International Asset Forfeiture and Cross-Border Asset Recovery

Our firm has a wealth of experience in international asset forfeiture defense. As we often remark, a strong defense translates into a strong offense. Our expertise in asset forfeiture defense qualifies us to prosecute similar cases in that we are knowledgeable about the defense strategies and leverage such knowledge and capabilities to successfully represent our clients on the victim-owner side of forfeiture proceedings. Below are a few of the international asset forfeiture cases we have successfully defended in the past:

  • The United States filed a criminal case in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Sacramento California. Our firm was appointed counsel by the District Court judge. While the case ultimately resulted in a conviction, our firm successfully defended the Defendant against the United States’ attempt to proceed against the Defendant’s assets located in Nigeria.
  • In a case (filed in the United States Central District Court, Riverside California), we successfully represented the respondent in an investigation by the US government and the corresponding forfeiture proceeding following the seizure of over a quarter million dollars in funds and real properties.
  • We successfully represented the potential defendant in negotiating and reaching a non-prosecution agreement with the United States which ensured that the United States would not proceed against our client’s assets in Nigeria.
  • We successfully represented the defendant in an asset forfeiture proceedings brought by the United States involving the planned forfeiture of our client’s funds exceeding half a million dollars.

In addition, our firm is a full service general practice with a broad range of practice areas including bankruptcy and civil litigation. Our firm’s veritable experience in bankruptcy proceedings gives us an added and unique capability to represent our clients in forfeiture litigation and asset recovery matters. The practice of bankruptcy law requires in-depth knowledge of asset tracing as well as an understanding of the different forms of asset manipulation and concealment that are often perpetrated by debtors in an effort to prevent recourse to such assets by creditors. Just like debtors, looters of public funds adopt similar asset hiding structures to avoid detection. We are however able to seamlessly transfer and apply our wealth of knowledge and skills in regard to asset recovery matters. Thus, our firm’s extensive experience in the area of asset identification and tracing is significant added advantage to clients seeking to recover corruptly or fraudulently obtained assets.

Beside our bankruptcy law qualifications, our firm also has a vibrant civil litigation practice group. We have successfully litigated a broad range of civil and criminal cases including obtaining multiple rare unanimous jury verdicts in the States Courts and Federal Courts. In 1998, our Principal Counsel (Anthony Egbase) litigated and obtained the first judicial determination on the California Landmark voters adopted Proposition 213. At the Los Angeles, Superior Court, Norwalk, California, Mr. Egbase successfully litigated and obtained a unanimous jury verdict with a finding that California voters Adopted Proposition 213, is unconstitutional. In 1998, Anthony Egbase was specially appointed Counsel for the U.S District Court Sacramento.

Additionally, several of the associates at AOE Law are licensed to practice law in both Nigeria and the United States. This strongly positions our firm to effectively represent clients in forfeiture and asset recovery matters which tend to be multi-jurisdictional in nature; and require in-depth understanding of different national legal systems.

We are also familiar with banking and financial institutions law and practices. In 2004, our principal associate, Mr. Egbase, assisted various Nigerian law firms in navigating the complex issues and legal aspects of mergers & acquisitions in the banking industry following the recapitalization of banks in Nigeria. In that same year, he organized and led delegates of the Nigerian Bankers Association, including the then Chairman of the Nigerian Bankers Association (Eniola Fadeyemi), to the American Law Institute –American Bar Association Conference on Corporate Mergers and Acquisitions in New York. Mr. Egbase also authored a seminal article on mergers and acquisitions, titled “The Case for Mergers and Acquisition in the Banking Sector in Nigeria” which continues to be cited by bankers today.

Finally, our firm successfully represented a major Nigerian bank in a case filed against it in the District Court in New York. Deploying our civil litigation acumen, we successfully filed a motion to dismiss resulting in the claimant’s withdrawal and discontinuation of the lawsuit.