Kobre & Kim See Opportunity In Hong Kong

Bloomberg report…….


Kobre & Kim LLP, a law firm that secured an acquittal for one of the defendants in the U.S.’s first foreign bribery sting operation, added a local legal practice to its Hong Kong office this month.

The New York-based firm hired insolvency lawyer Randall Arthur from Hong Kong litigation firm Gall, where he worked with liquidators and receivers on asset recovery and enforcing foreign judgments in the Chinese city. It also hired Gabrielle Liu, who did similar work at Mayer Brown JSM.

Kobre & Kim’s expansion to nine lawyers in Hong Kong will allow it to better tap work in worldwide asset tracing and cross-border disputes, according to William McGovern, who opened the Hong Kong office in 2010. The additions in Hong Kong come after Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, a larger New York firm, announced similar changes last week.

Now “we can follow the money to virtually any corner of the world,” said McGovern, who had previously worked for Morgan Stanley and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Eighty-lawyer Kobre & Kim opened British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands offices in 2012. It represented one of 22 individuals in the failed U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act case where a federal agent posed as a representative of a West African nation in an arms deal. The case was dropped in 2012 after a mistrial.

The firm also represented the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in enforcing civil rulings against ComputerLand Corp. founder William H. Millard and his wife.

“Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center means that even without the more aggressive enforcement of authorities here, actions across the world have consequences here,” said Christopher Morley, one of three lawyers who formed Hong Kong criminal and regulatory defense firm Morley Chow Seto in August.

The firm is handling cases including violations of currency controls in Africa and Asia and acting for individuals whose employers are being investigated by overseas authorities for alleged corrupt practices, Morley said