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Blackstone has developed a strong practice in tax advocacy and litigation, with expertise spanning all kinds of direct and indirect tax

Our members act in tax disputes at all levels including the Court of Justice of the European Union and European Court of Human Rights.

Members also conduct varied and wide-ranging work to tackle corruption and cross-border crime. They advise and represent foreign government bodies in cross border civil proceedings to recover bribes and other illegally obtained assets from corrupt officials and their accomplices. And co-ordinate multi-national civil actions and asset freezing procedures to secure the recovery of illegally obtained assets which have been subject to cross border laundering. They advise and represent victims of foreign regimes whose assets have been misappropriated through corruption or the abuse of judicial process — such as illegal corporate "raiding" in the former Soviet states — and who seek remedies through western civil courts. Our members also act in sanctions disputes on behalf of individuals and entities whose assets have been frozen and provide advice to companies on compliance issues relating to different sanctions regimes, including those for the Ukraine, Russia, Iran, Syria, Egypt and Zimbabwe.

Case Study:

Brazilian corruption investigation — opinion on international and comparative law standards for criminal justice

Members of Blackstone Chambers were retained by a corporate entity involved in the Lava Jato – or “Car Wash” – corruption investigation currently underway in Brazil to provide an independent opinion on international and comparative law standards governing preventative pre-trial detention, applications for habeas corpus and adverse media coverage of detainees (as it relates to the presumption of innocence).

The final opinion set out the relevant legal principles as articulated in international treaty law, including the prohibition of arbitrary detention and deprivation of liberty, and requirement for a fair trial within a ‘reasonable time’. Additionally, that exceptions to these general principles should be based on legitimate aims related to the administration of justice or the prevention of crime or disorder, and exercised in a proportionate and fair manner. The opinion indicates that several serious issues pertaining to individuals currently detained in the Lava Jato investigation arise, including inadequate justifications for detention (such as generalised assertions of a risk of criminal repetition or references to plea bargains), delays in the provision of habeas corpus relief, and adverse and unregulated press coverage of the ongoing investigation. (Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC, Tim Otty QC and Naina Patel)

Cases:

Topa v Tomdal  (Commercial Court) (2012)

Multi-jurisdictional US$70m fraud case against the Deputy Speaker of the Moldovan Parliament and alleged associates of the Moldovan Mafia. This included obtaining “doorstep raiding” orders to assist civil and criminal proceedings in Moldova, Germany and Scotland, as well as human rights proceedings in the ECHR, Strasbourg. (Anthony Peto QC)

T-207/15 R National Iranian Tanker Company v Council (2015, pending)

Application for interim relief and annulment in relation to the re-listing the National Iranian Tanker Company under Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/236. (Tom de la Mare QC and Jason Pobjoy)

T-256/11 Ezz v Council (2014)

Appeal to the Court of Justice challenging a decision of the General Court refusing to annul restrictive measures freezing funds in the EU because of an alleged misappropriation of Egyptian State funds in connection with the Mubarak regime. (Brian Kennelly and Jason Pobjoy)

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