International Litigation

Representing its clients before national courts and banking and financial market regulatory authorities, AFFAKI’s expertise positions it to confront any type of business dispute. The Firm leads cross-border and complex claims, defences, and enforcement proceedings involving issues such as conflicts of laws, jurisdictional challenges, parallel proceedings, asset tracing, and enforcement actions.

AFFAKI also specialises in providing legal and strategic advice to international corporations in the context of crisis management, international litigation, regulatory actions, and the taking of evidence in cross-border disputes. Numerous senior directors and board members of major corporations have sought AFFAKI’s counsel in relation to both corporate and personal liability arising in the course of their employment and the exercise of their fiduciary duties.

The Firm’s litigation successes have been recognised by Legal 500, which recommends AFFAKI for Commercial Litigation in France, while Chambers and Partners lists AFFAKI as a leading French firm in Dispute Resolution: Litigation.

Significant Representations
  • Leading an international counsel team composed of three law firms in the PRC and France in the retrial of an international precedent-setting banking case before the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China under Article 200 of the Civil Procedure Law [(2020) Zui Gao Fa Min Shen No. 6932 and (2020) Zui Gao Fa Min Shen No. 6923].
  • Leading an international counsel team composed of three law firms in France, Italy, and the U.K. in successfully arguing the lack of jurisdiction of local courts in Italy regarding a provisional injunction over high value counter-guarantees, while simultaneously asserting lis pendens before English courts on the merits under article 29 of the Brussels 1 Regulation (recast). The dismissal of an injunction with prejudice and an award of costs were obtained [Tribunale Civile, N.R.G. 2016/39181].
  • Acting as French law Counsel on French and European financial regulation on behalf of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) in relation to a US$ 2.1 billion claim [High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, Commercial Court, Claim No. 2014 Folio 260] (listed in The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases in 2017)
  • Successfully arguing a motion to dismiss before French courts in relation to a bank fraud case, on the basis of the E.U. Regulation on Jurisdiction and obtaining damages for abusive proceedings [Tribunal de Commerce de Nanterre, Aff. 2015F00183].
  • Representing an international bank against a French bank before the Paris Court of Appeal in relation to a liability claim under financial instruments impacted by E.U. Sanctions Regulations [Appeal No. 17/26558].
  • Acting as lead counsel, devising the strategy and coordinating the work of local counsel in Ukraine, Austria, the U.S., and Belgium in relation to the recovery of a monetary debt arising in the matter of a fraudulent transaction, involving conflicting arbitration and litigation jurisdictions, regulatory, criminal, and civil proceedings before multiple jurisdictions, both ex parte and on the merits [Antwerp Court, A/14/11063].
  • Acting as lead counsel in the matter of a wrongful dishonour of an interbank reimbursement agreement in relation to a multi-million-euro documentary credit subject to UCP 600, involving multiple summary judgement, trial, and regulatory proceedings in Algeria [KBC v/ Natixis, Algiers (Harrache), 15/06766].
  • Acting as international banking law and practice expert in support of counsel work in the matter of the global enforcement of multiple bank guarantees and counter-guarantees before various jurisdictions in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • Directing the strategy of and leading enforcement actions for an investment arbitral award in an Arab country, as well as resisting a demand for the payment of bank guarantees before a European court and brokering a global settlement.
  • Advising in the matter of an arbitral claim involving non-signatory parties in relation to the recovery of a monetary debt arising from a sale of goods contract backed by an Islamic finance musharakah.
  • Acting as Shari’a expert in support of counsel work in the matter of an alleged non-conformity to Shari’a of a complex murabaha real estate investment.
Crisis Management and Coordination of Global Litigation
  • As in-house counsel, overseeing and coordinating over a period of five years a major international bank’s response to multiple investigations commenced by national regulators, law enforcement authorities and congressional committees in the United States and Europe in relation to the bank’s compliance with economic sanctions regulations. The case involved the coordination of simultaneous investigations and enforcement actions in the U.S., France, Italy, the U.K., Switzerland, Singapore, and Dubai and the management of a global budget of over EUR 150 million. The case ended with a settlement of US$ 9 billion and no indictment.
  • As in-house counsel, overseeing and coordinating over a period of seven years a major international bank’s response to multiple alleged bribery investigations by regulators, law enforcement authorities and congressional committees in the United States, France, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland in relation to United Nations Oil-for-Food Programme. The matter involved multiple diplomatic contacts with specialist legal and diplomatic units within the United Nations Secretariat and permanent member States of the United Nations Security Council, leading to the issue of S/RES/1950 (2010).
  • As in-house counsel, organising the defence of a major international bank in multiple RICO and tortious liability proceedings filed by a vulture fund against an African State and its creditor bank before courts in the United States and France. Leading the negotiation of a global settlement in the case [Kensington International Limited v BNP Paribas, 05 Civ. 5101, SDNY 5 Feb. 2008].
  • As in-house counsel, leading a legal team involving French and English counsel successfully defending an issuing bank against a wrongful reimbursement claim by the confirming bank in the precedent-setting matter Banco Santander SA v Banque Paribas [2000] EWCA Civ 57.
  • As in-house counsel, leading a claim against a State-owned export credit agency of an Eastern European country in relation to the wrongful dishonour of an independent guarantee. The case involved the assessment of UN and EU sanction regulations against Libya and their impact on contracts, as well as multiple contacts with national government agencies and supranational bodies.
  • As in-house counsel, managing complex liability and debt recovery proceedings relating to multi-million-dollar financings before the courts in England, Singapore, Switzerland, the United States, and France. Devising strategy with external counsel, coordinating the bank’s position on the production of evidence, including assessing the impact of any statutory hindrances to the transmission of protected data, briefing senior management, and developing the appropriate public relations strategy.
Other Litigation-Related Activities
  • Acting as Rapporteur on International Law Association Resolution No. 3/2012 on “Principles of Jurisdiction over Foreign Bank Branches in the Matter of Extraterritorial Attachment and Turnover.” The resolution was sponsored by the Committee on International Monetary Law (Mocomila) and unanimously adopted at the 75th Conference of the International Law Association held in Sofia, Bulgaria.
    ILA Resolution
    Explanatory Note
    Commentary (in French)
  • Consulting with the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) in relation to the implementation of the Provisional Rules for Claims Procedure and the processing of individual claims for damages arising out of the First Gulf War.
  • See also experience in arbitration and corporate investigations.
Books, Articles, Case Notes
  • Jurisdictional Choices” (with Horacio Grigera Naon), ICC Publishing, publ. 755E, 2015.
  • “Cross-border Insolvency and Conflict of Jurisdictions”, Bruylant, 2007.
  • “Revisiting the Pari Passu clause”, in Sovereign Debt Management, R. Lastra and L. Buchheit (Eds.), OUP, 2014, pp. 39-49.
  • “A financing is a financing is a financing …”, in Third Party Funding in International Arbitration, Cremades and A. Dimolitsa (Eds.), ICC Publ. 2013.
  • “Du bon sens et du sens des mots: de la bonne interprétation de la clause pari passu”, in Essays in Honour of Philippe Letourneau, Dalloz, 2007.
  • “ La Commission d’indemnisation des Nations Unies: trois ans d’épreuve au service du règlement des différends internationaux ”, Droit et pratique du commerce international, Vol. 20, No.3, 1994, pp.471-517.
  • “The United Nations Compensation Commission: a new era in claims settlement”, Journal of International Arbitration, [1993], Vol.10–No.3, pp.21-57.

Download a complete list of publications in pdf.

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Significant Representations

  • Leading an international counsel team composed of three law firms in the PRC and France in the retrial of an international precedent-setting banking case before the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China under Article 200 of the Civil Procedure Law [(2020) Zui Gao Fa Min Shen No. 6932 and (2020) Zui Gao Fa Min Shen No. 6923].
  • Leading an international counsel team composed of three law firms in France, Italy, and the U.K. in successfully arguing the lack of jurisdiction of local courts in Italy regarding a provisional injunction over high value counter-guarantees, while simultaneously asserting lis pendens before English courts on the merits under article 29 of the Brussels 1 Regulation (recast). The dismissal of an injunction with prejudice and an award of costs were obtained [Tribunale Civile, N.R.G. 2016/39181].
  • Acting as French law Counsel on French and European financial regulation on behalf of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) in relation to a US$ 2.1 billion claim [High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, Commercial Court, Claim No. 2014 Folio 260] (listed in The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases in 2017)
  • Successfully arguing a motion to dismiss before French courts in relation to a bank fraud case, on the basis of the E.U. Regulation on Jurisdiction and obtaining damages for abusive proceedings [Tribunal de Commerce de Nanterre, Aff. 2015F00183].
  • Representing an international bank against a French bank before the Paris Court of Appeal in relation to a liability claim under financial instruments impacted by E.U. Sanctions Regulations [Appeal No. 17/26558].
  • Acting as lead counsel, devising the strategy and coordinating the work of local counsel in Ukraine, Austria, the U.S., and Belgium in relation to the recovery of a monetary debt arising in the matter of a fraudulent transaction, involving conflicting arbitration and litigation jurisdictions, regulatory, criminal, and civil proceedings before multiple jurisdictions, both ex parte and on the merits [Antwerp Court, A/14/11063].
  • Acting as lead counsel in the matter of a wrongful dishonour of an interbank reimbursement agreement in relation to a multi-million-euro documentary credit subject to UCP 600, involving multiple summary judgement, trial, and regulatory proceedings in Algeria [KBC v/ Natixis, Algiers (Harrache), 15/06766].
  • Acting as international banking law and practice expert in support of counsel work in the matter of the global enforcement of multiple bank guarantees and counter-guarantees before various jurisdictions in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • Directing the strategy of and leading enforcement actions for an investment arbitral award in an Arab country, as well as resisting a demand for the payment of bank guarantees before a European court and brokering a global settlement.
  • Advising in the matter of an arbitral claim involving non-signatory parties in relation to the recovery of a monetary debt arising from a sale of goods contract backed by an Islamic finance musharakah.
  • Acting as Shari’a expert in support of counsel work in the matter of an alleged non-conformity to Shari’a of a complex murabaha real estate investment.

Crisis Management and Coordination of Global Litigation

  • As in-house counsel, overseeing and coordinating over a period of five years a major international bank’s response to multiple investigations commenced by national regulators, law enforcement authorities and congressional committees in the United States and Europe in relation to the bank’s compliance with economic sanctions regulations. The case involved the coordination of simultaneous investigations and enforcement actions in the U.S., France, Italy, the U.K., Switzerland, Singapore, and Dubai and the management of a global budget of over EUR 150 million. The case ended with a settlement of US$ 9 billion and no indictment.
  • As in-house counsel, overseeing and coordinating over a period of seven years a major international bank’s response to multiple alleged bribery investigations by regulators, law enforcement authorities and congressional committees in the United States, France, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland in relation to United Nations Oil-for-Food Programme. The matter involved multiple diplomatic contacts with specialist legal and diplomatic units within the United Nations Secretariat and permanent member States of the United Nations Security Council, leading to the issue of S/RES/1950 (2010).
  • As in-house counsel, organising the defence of a major international bank in multiple RICO and tortious liability proceedings filed by a vulture fund against an African State and its creditor bank before courts in the United States and France. Leading the negotiation of a global settlement in the case [Kensington International Limited v BNP Paribas, 05 Civ. 5101, SDNY 5 Feb. 2008].
  • As in-house counsel, leading a legal team involving French and English counsel successfully defending an issuing bank against a wrongful reimbursement claim by the confirming bank in the precedent-setting matter Banco Santander SA v Banque Paribas [2000] EWCA Civ 57.
  • As in-house counsel, leading a claim against a State-owned export credit agency of an Eastern European country in relation to the wrongful dishonour of an independent guarantee. The case involved the assessment of UN and EU sanction regulations against Libya and their impact on contracts, as well as multiple contacts with national government agencies and supranational bodies.
  • As in-house counsel, managing complex liability and debt recovery proceedings relating to multi-million-dollar financings before the courts in England, Singapore, Switzerland, the United States, and France. Devising strategy with external counsel, coordinating the bank’s position on the production of evidence, including assessing the impact of any statutory hindrances to the transmission of protected data, briefing senior management, and developing the appropriate public relations strategy.

Other Litigation-Related Activities

  • Acting as Rapporteur on International Law Association Resolution No. 3/2012 on “Principles of Jurisdiction over Foreign Bank Branches in the Matter of Extraterritorial Attachment and Turnover.” The resolution was sponsored by the Committee on International Monetary Law (Mocomila) and unanimously adopted at the 75th Conference of the International Law Association held in Sofia, Bulgaria.
    ILA Resolution
    Explanatory Note
    Commentary (in French)
  • Consulting with the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) in relation to the implementation of the Provisional Rules for Claims Procedure and the processing of individual claims for damages arising out of the First Gulf War.
  • See also experience in arbitration and corporate investigations.

Books, Articles, Case notes

  • Jurisdictional Choices” (with Horacio Grigera Naon), ICC Publishing, publ. 755E, 2015.
  • “Cross-border Insolvency and Conflict of Jurisdictions”, Bruylant, 2007.
  • “Revisiting the Pari Passu clause”, in Sovereign Debt Management, R. Lastra and L. Buchheit (Eds.), OUP, 2014, pp. 39-49.
  • “A financing is a financing is a financing …”, in Third Party Funding in International Arbitration, Cremades and A. Dimolitsa (Eds.), ICC Publ. 2013.
  • “Du bon sens et du sens des mots: de la bonne interprétation de la clause pari passu”, in Essays in Honour of Philippe Letourneau, Dalloz, 2007.
  • “La Commission d’indemnisation des Nations Unies: trois ans d’épreuve au service du règlement des différends internationaux”, Droit et pratique du commerce international, Vol. 20, No.3, 1994, pp.471-517.
  • “The United Nations Compensation Commission: a new era in claims settlement”, Journal of International Arbitration, [1993], Vol.10–No.3, pp.21-57.

Download a complete list of publications in pdf.