Dispute resolution: white-collar crime in Chile

Bofill Escobar Silva Abogados

Focused exclusively on dispute resolution, Bofill Escobar Silva Abogados' 24-strong team handles a wide variety of cases, from complex white-collar and financial crimes, to high-profile investigations involving corruption allegations and other penal matters. Headline mandates include representing major SQM shareholder, Julio Ponce, in relation to the Cascadas case, one of the landmark criminal securities cases of the last decade; and assisting Compañía Contractual Minera Candelaria and Miguel Troncoso with their defence in a bribery investigation. Commercial litigation, international arbitration and white-collar crime specialist Jorge Bofill (whose experience includes being part of the Criminal Procedure Reform Drafting Committee) leads the practice, which hired senior associate Andrea Lema from the public criminal defender’s office in October 2020; Lema is experienced in acting before both the criminal trial courts and the Santiago Court of Appeals.

Practice head(s):

Jorge Bofill

Testimonials

Strong criminal and commercial dispute resolution offering. Jorge Bofill offers years of criminal and commercial dispute resolution experience, particularly in complex and high-profile disputes.

Key clients

Empresa de Transporte de Pasajeros Metro

Compañía Contractual Minera Candelaria

Miguel Troncoso

José Bartolo (Mayor of Huara)

High-ranking officers of Empresas Penta

Julio Ponce

Carlos Capurro Bahamondes

Enel Generación Chile

Karen Rojo (Mayor of Antofagasta)

Work highlights

  • Acted for Julio Ponce (one of the largest shareholders in SQM) in relation to the Cascadas case, one of the landmark criminal securities cases of the last decade.
  • Represented high-ranking officers of Empresas Penta in criminal and tax cases that concern the irregular funding of political campaigns.
  • Representing Karen Rojo Venegas, the former mayor of Antofagasta (between 2012-2020), in a criminal investigation into alleged corruption.

López Escobar del Río Leiva

Founded in 2017 by two former partners of Harasic & López and one former partner of DyP Abogados, boutique firm López Escobar del Río Leiva specialises in highly complex litigation, including some of the most important criminal cases in Chile; the practice covers a wide range of sectors, including finance, retail, electricity, ports, mining, banking and infrastructure (both in the public and private sectors). The eight-member department fields four partners, including Jorge Del Río Pérez, who has approximately 40 years' litigation experience in arbitration, dispute resolution and ADR; criminal, civil and commercial litigation expert Julián López MasleJosé Ignacio Escobar Opazo, who is currently leading the legal defence of fishing industry company Pesquera Camanchaca (under investigation for irregular financing of political campaigns and alleged bribery of public officials); and Felipe Leiva Fadic (public sector-related arbitration, dispute resolution and litigation). At senior associate level, Ignacio Ananías Zaror plays key roles in much of the firm's high-profile work.

Practice head(s):

Jorge Del Río Pérez; Julián López Masle; José Ignacio Escobar Opazo; Felipe Leiva Fadic

Key clients

Carlos Eugenio Lavín

Carlos Alberto Délano

Empresas Penta

Inversiones Penta III

Grupo Ossandón Larraín

Minera Escondida

Compañía Pesquera Camanchaca

Compañía Minera Cerro Colorado

Banco de Chile

Quiñenco

Sociedad Concesionaria Vespucio Oriente

Bakkavor Chile

Anglo American Sur

Banco Itaú

BHP Billilton

Work highlights

  • Led the criminal defence of Carlos Alberto Délano and Carlos Eugenio Lavín (Empresas Penta controllers), who were under investigation for the alleged commission of tax crimes and bribery.
  • Leading the criminal defence of Pesquera Camanchaca, Camanchaca Pesca Sur and Cannex, which concerns a criminal investigation into the bribery of public officials and the facilitation and issuance of false invoices.
  • Acted for Sociedad Concesionaria Vespucio Oriente in relation to a criminal investigation held against a public official from the Environmental Evaluation Service for bribery and/or incompatible negotiation.

BACS Abogados

The nine-strong department of BACS Abogados is well known for handling complex litigation, particularly in the field of economic crime. Marcos Contreras Enos ('solid knowledge and credible') and Alejandro Awad recently defended investment manager Mauricio Peña, the general manager of venture capital group Aurus, against an investigation into the valuation of assets and financial misappropriation through unauthorised transfers. Miguel Schurmann Opazo's recent mandates include acting for Redbanc in one of Chile's largest ever card-cloning cases. The practice also fields experienced partner Antonio Bascuñán and March 2020 associate-hire, José Pedro Silva Santa Cruz, who recently completed his Master's degree in criminal justice policy.

Practice head(s):

Miguel Schurmann Opazo; Marcos Contreras Enos; Alejandro Awad; Antonio Bascuñán

Testimonials

Very good at analysing complex legal situations and the various possible courses of action.

Close proximity to the client company and constantly available.

Complex subjects are explained in a simple and accessible way to executives who have no legal training.

Very solid team.

Experience and support during complex decision making.

Focuses on clients’ specific needs.

Great for flexibility and communication skills.

Marcos Contreras Enos has solid knowledge as well as empathy – he transmits peace of mind and is credible.

Key clients

Sigdo Koppers

Australis

Sodimac

Redbanc

Red Salud

Magnotta Vineyards

Acciona

Codelco

Banco Itaú

Emiliano Arias

Antofagasta Minerals

Austragold – Compañía Minera Guanaco

Fiscalía Nacional Económica

Mauricio Peña

Work highlights

  • Represented copper producer Codelco in a criminal case in which the company was defrauded via the overvaluing of life and accident insurance policies.
  • Defended Mauricio Peña, an investment manager and general manager of Aurus, against an investigation into the valuation of assets and financial misappropriation through unauthorised transfers.
  • Acted for Redbanc (which manages the computer and virtual networks of data exchanges and messages between bank institutions) in a large card-cloning case.

BCP Abogados

With 'expert knowledge of criminal matters', BCP Abogados fields a 15-strong practice that specialises in highly complex litigation, defending charges of economic crimes, tax-related crimes, crimes by officials, contentious administrative cases and civil litigation. The firm also has highly regarded sub-practices in criminal compliance, anti-corruption, asset laundering prevention and terrorist financing. The department's partners comprise complex litigation expert Juan Ignacio Piña (a former President of the State Defence Council); Francisco Cox, whose experience includes litigating before the International Criminal Court; and Matías Balmaceda (criminal litigation and compliance work). The senior associates to note are Guillermo Cantin (criminal litigation and military justice matters), Rodrigo Aldoney (a February 2020 hire from Ortiz & Compañía) and compliance head Antonia Bernales.

Practice head(s):

Matías Balmaceda; Francisco Cox; Juan Ignacio Piña; Guillermo Cantin

Testimonials

The BCP team has a crucial advantage in criminal matters – experience!

Its prestige helps a lot in criminal cases and the reputation of its lawyers paves the way, not only in court but also when facing other parties.

The BCP team compares very favourably with other firms.

Personalised attention is a great plus of the firm.

Expert knowledge of criminal matters and they know the needs of business.

A team that is dedicated to criminal matters and communicates well with clients.

Direct contact with partners and associates, generating collaborative work.

Matías Balmaceda and senior associate Guillermo Cantin offer a complete service and give absolute confidence, based on their proven knowledge and experience; the work they do will always reach a good destination and achieve success on behalf of the interests of the company they represent.

Key clients

Essal

Work highlights

  • Defended water utility company, Essal, in a criminal investigation opened by the Public Prosecutor’s Office concerning environmental matters.

Carey

At full-service market stalwart Carey, the focus of its 'excellent team of criminal litigators' ranges from penal economic and tax matters, cybercrime and violations of anti-corruption legislation to the laundering of domestic and international assets, as well as breaches of industrial and intellectual property law. Clients can additionally benefit from the firm's assistance with risk prevention and analysis, internal investigations, and administrative and judicial matters. Heading the firm's litigation group, Gonzalo Fernández is consistently involved in complex cases, including criminal matters. It is at associate level, however, where the team displays particular white-collar strength, with five active litigators all involved in penal and criminal matters: Alvaro Carreño ('brilliant in court'), who leads the firm's white-collar team; Francisca Franzani; Eduardo AlcainoCaterina Ravera; and Fernanda Montes.

Practice head(s):

Gonzalo Fernández; Álvaro Carreño

Testimonials

It is a very consolidated team, with deep knowledge and detailed analysis of the cases and problems that arise.

Solid knowledge and extensive experience.

Compares favourably with other firms for its corporate criminal law specialty.

A team with great experience in the handling of judicial and criminal disputes.

Carey has an excellent team of criminal litigators, who are very solid without a doubt.

Great connoisseurs and applicants of the law.

Associate Álvaro Carreño has good technical knowledge and academic training.

Alvaro Carreño is an excellent professional‘.

Alvaro Carreño stands out – an excellent litigator who visualises the ideal procedural strategy for each case and is brilliant in court. In my opinion, he is the best criminal litigator in Chile (and I know many!).

Estudio Navarro Abogados

Estudio Navarro Abogados' eight-member criminal law practice is led by experienced partners Catalina Navarro (who was in charge of the Economic Crimes Sub-directorate of the Public Ministry's National Prosecutor's Office between 2000 and 2010) and Carlos Vernaza, whose legal opinion was recently sought in relation to new crimes that arose during the pandemic.  The practice is dedicated exclusively to criminal matters, including specialisations in crimes against assets and property, economic crimes, and other business-related crimes such as cybercrime and those involving intellectual and industrial property. In recent work, the team represented Montajes del Pacífico in a lawsuit for fraud, forgery and theft against the company's chief of remuneration.

Practice head(s):

Catalina Navarro; Carlos Vernaza

Key clients

Institute for Agricultural and Livestock Research

Sociedad Comercializadora y de Servicios Macal

Montajes del Pacífico

Odis Chile Seguridad (now Assa Abloy)

Automotriz Guillermo Morales

Gustavo Cantuarias Concha

Constructora Gestión Uno

Work highlights

  • Acted for Sociedad Comercializadora y de Servicios Macal in a luxury car auction fraud.
  • Acted for Linde High Lift in relation to a fraud involving the purchase of cranes.
  • Acted for Montajes del Pacífico in filing a lawsuit for fraud, forgery and theft against the company’s chief of remuneration, in addition to requesting a formal investigation against him.

Albagli Zaliasnik

With 'extensive knowledge in criminal matters', Albagli Zaliasnik's five-member criminal litigation group is characterised by its handling of complex, large-scale investigations before criminal representation bodies, including the Investigative Police, the Public Prosecutor's Office, Guarantee Courts, Oral Courts, Appeal and Supreme Courts, and the Constitutional Court. Director of the litigation practice, name partner Gabriel Zaliasnik is a former president of the Ministry of Justice's Commission for the Reform of the Criminal Procedural Code; compliance and criminal law specialist Jaime Winter was promoted to associate director of the criminal litigation group in January 2021.

Practice head(s):

Gabriel Zaliasnik; Jaime Winter

Testimonials

The best lawyers in Chile because they know the procedures, as well as the judiciary and its environment.

Very available and friendly lawyers.

Very professional, with some of the most knowledgeable lawyers in this area.

Extensive knowledge in criminal matters.

Very committed team, led by Gabriel Zaliasnik who is a great lawyer and strategist.

Gabriel Zaliasnik’s participation is invaluable.

Gabriel Zaliasnik is an outstanding lawyer, whose advice covers criminal, constitutional, tax and civil law.

Work highlights

  • Represented Aldo Motta, among other individuals, in relation to the Cascadas case, which involved a series of stock transactions in which well-known traders and asset managers were allegedly engaged in stock market manipulation.
  • Acted for Senator Iván Moreira and Roberto Carrasco in relation to the Penta case, which involved criminal tax-related offences committed by Chilean holding company Empresas Penta and facilitating the illegal financing of political election campaigns.
  • Defended LANDES and Eduardo Fosk during an investigation into alleged bribery, tax fraud, money laundering and illicit donations to political campaigns.

Cariola Díez Pérez-Cotapos

Cariola Díez Pérez-Cotapos' 'high-quality, multidisciplinary team is constantly up to date with trends and legal changes'. The firm's white-collar practice is firmly intertwined with the compliance practice, consistently advising on criminal matters and administrative infringements, including internal fraud and prosecuting authorities' investigations. In addition to his broad arbitration and litigation practice, the 'very remarkable lawyer', Jorge Boldt, heads the firm's white-collar group.

Practice head(s):

Jorge Boldt

Testimonials

Lawyers with quick and efficient responses, which allow coverage of all risk scenarios.

They are always available and give answers that leave you calm about the risks.

Reliable in their comments with accurate appraisals.

High-quality, multidisciplinary team that is constantly up to date with trends and legal changes.

Excellent use of resources without compromising quality.

Jorge Boldt is a very remarkable lawyer.

Key clients

Connors

Ripley

Honda

Lego

Work highlights

  • Assisted Connors with filing a criminal action in relation to the Inverlink (financial group) fraud.
  • Acted for Lego in criminal cases against importers of falsified products.
  • Assisted Honda with filing a criminal action which concerned the unauthorised commercialisation of motorcycles.

FerradaNehme

In addition to compliance work, FerradaNehme's four-strong department is experienced in economic criminal matters, including high-profile criminal cases, as well as assisting companies with investigation prevention strategies, internal investigations and administrative-sanctioning processes. Notable expertise also involves pyramid scams, civil servant crimes and 2018's Law 21, 121, which amended the rules concerning corruption, incorporated new areas of criminal conduct and expanded legal entities' criminal liability. In addition to leading the firm's compliance practice, Rafael Collado (a partner since 2018) acts on criminal cases involving corporate malfeasance, while senior associate Lucía Álvarez's experience includes bribery, money laundering and general business crime-related cases.

Practice head(s):

Rafael Collado

Key clients

Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile

Constructor Atacama

Clínica Sierra Bella

Jorge Correa

Ximena Correa

Distal

David Rosales

Yves Cogoni

Innovación Social y Fundraising

AVLA Seguros de Crédito y Garantía

Sunset Tires

Fitch Ratings Chile (Clasificadora de Riesgos)

GC Rent

Work highlights

  • Assisted Codelco with the filing of a criminal complaint against its former executive president for the crime of incompatible negotiation.
  • Assisted Clínica Sierra Bella (CSB) with the implementation of a legal strategy in relation to a fraud suffered by CSB.
  • Acted for Constructor Atacama, which was the victim of a computer scam by virtue of which it deposited funds in the account of a stranger who posed as one of the company’s suppliers.

Gana y Galvez Abogados

Litigation boutique Gana y Galvez Abogados fields 'a team with the best service I have experienced in the criminal area', according to one client. The four-member white-collar crime practice specialises in frauds committed against financial institutions and companies, along with defending fraud-related allegations. The team's recent work involves the prevention and prosecution of crimes concerning the embezzlement of Chile's financial system; it is also currently defending senior executives and CEOs against highly-publicised criminal investigations, as well as government officials who are accused of white-collar criminal activity. Senior partner Jorge Gálvez S' experience includes acting for major companies and corporations, banks, and influential CEOs and politicians.

Practice head(s):

Jorge Gálvez S

Testimonials

What makes this practice unique is the personalised attention to detail in each case they handle.

They made me understand that my case was a priority and they were always willing to resolve any doubts about it.

Fully achieved the results we expected.

Compared with teams from other law firms, this group has the best service I have experienced in the criminal area.

Able to develop from the first minute a legal and media strategy in line with my needs, which was achieved 100%.

Extraordinary handling of matters, both in substantive and procedural areas, which was shown at each stage of the case.

The lawyers took a long time to study what the client’s business was and how it operated, which led to a much more precise defence role.

The team led by Jorge Gálvez S is outstanding.

Key clients

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Capital FX

Banco Estado

DIPISA

Nestlé

Rabofinance Chile

CORFO

CFC Capital

Agrosuper

Nuevo Capital

Work highlights

  • Acted for Banco Estado in leading an investigation to track down stolen funds.
  • Defended Capital FX’s executives when they were erroneously accused of having set up a pyramid scheme.
  • Defended Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile against the attempted collection of large sums, further to the creation of fake invoices.

Giroux Vial Abogados

Giroux Vial Abogados' four-member practice 'anticipates legal problems and prevents future problems'. The firm's white-collar offering is part of its overall dispute resolution expertise, covering criminal law, free competition, civil and commercial litigation, and administrative penal law; its experience ranges from compliance to the prevention of asset laundering. Cristophe Giroux (who 'demonstrates deep knowledge of the judicial system'), and Salvador Vial (with his 'high degree of commitment to the work') have worked in both the private and public sectors, including at public prosecution agencies.

Practice head(s):

Cristophe Giroux; Salvador Vial

Testimonials

The team is characterised mainly by its involvement with each case, its follow-ups and constant updating of clients.

Personalised and very proactive service.

Anticipates legal problems and prevents future problems.

Remarkable cohesion and co-ordination within the work group.

Partner-level experience gives clients peace of mind, along with efficiency, commitment and speedy responses.

Salvador Vial and Cristophe Giroux’s best qualities are their extensive knowledge and personal involvement in each of the matters in which they participate.

Cristophe Giroux has been a great adviser during criminal cases and litigation of various kinds, demonstrates deep knowledge of the judicial system, and has good judgement when assessing the various options.

Salvador Vial demonstrates a very high degree of commitment to the work.

Lembeye Abogados

Founded in 2017, young law firm Lembeye Abogados was joined in January 2020 by the 'very competentDaniel Praetorius (formerly co-head of Bofill Escobar Silva Abogados' white-collar department) as partner and head of the firm's new dispute resolution and criminal law practice. Notwithstanding the department's nascency, the 'very personalised practice' has already acted for individuals and companies in several significant criminal cases, including defending Itelecom in a high-profile criminal investigation into alleged bribery in bidding proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Praetorius

Testimonials

The lawyers here have created a very personalised practice, in which they personally attend to their clients.

I have called on weekends and after hours; and even when my attorney was on vacation, he did not fail to answer my call and take care of the problem. This is extremely unusual, some partners don’t even give out their cell phone numbers, they just provide the associates’ information.

Daniel Praetorius has always been keenly aware of what is going on, our needs and priorities. Daniel cares and does the work.

Daniel Praetorius is a very competent lawyer, with a lot of experience and good academic training; without a doubt, this means the firm can take on professional challenges with the conviction that they will be in the hands of an expert lawyer.

Key clients

Itelecom

Work highlights

  • Defended Itelecom against a criminal investigation into alleged bribery involving bidding proceedings.

Merino y Cía. Abogados

Established in 2019, Merino y Cía. Abogados' 'highly qualified' team is sought out for significant cases involving complex white-collar legal issues. Founding partner Eugenio Merino Palacios (a former Ortiz & Compañía partner) recently represented global brewing company AB InBev in (reportedly) the first formal presentation of private bribery charges in Chile. Additional expertise is provided by of counsel Javier Wilenmann Von Bernath ('deserves mention for his knowledge') who was a member of the commission designing a new white-collar crime sentencing framework during 2019/20.

Practice head(s):

Eugenio Merino Palacios; Javier Wilenmann Von Bernath

Testimonials

Has a broader vision of the practice of criminal law than other law firms, which suits the interests of clients.’

The lawyers are highly qualified and have specific litigation skills and legal knowledge, which they apply during trials and the resolution of cases with very good results – they stand out.’

Great experience in negotiations and with broad knowledge.

The knowledge of its members is widely recognised and they are available to provide answers to questions speedily.

The attention to clients stands out.

Delivers timely responses in line with corporate criteria.

Eugenio Merino Palacios has a strong understanding of business and how to apply criminal law.

Of counsel Javier Wilenmann Von Bernath deserves mention for his knowledge, as well as his ability to verbalise the substance of the issues in a clear and convincing manner.

Key clients

AB InBev

Philips

SMU

INERSA

Electrade

Banco Itaú

Caja de Compensación Los Andes

Inmobiliaria Lloyd

Constructora Patagonia

Work highlights

  • Acted for AB InBev in a fraud lawsuit against a supplier and an executive of the company.
  • Defended Philips against tax fraud charges.
  • Defended Arturo Zúñiga against charges of incompatible negotiation and influence peddling.

Montero, Silva & Valdés

Montero, Silva & Valdés was founded in 2019 by three partners, including criminal law specialist and 'exceptional lawyer' Darío Silva Villagrán, who is particularly focused on penal economic and administrative sanctioning matters. The 'very high-quality team' is dedicated exclusively to criminal cases, predominantly white-collar crime work; in what was (reportedly) the largest fraud ever committed by a brokerage firm in Chile, the practice defended company senior executive Sebastian Gonzalez in relation to the Intervalores case. Young and thoughtful' litigation associate Manuela Miquel Barros is active on many of the team's significant cases.

Practice head(s):

Darío Silva Villagrán

Testimonials

A very high-quality team and duly balanced in its ability to cover different areas, and always with efficiency and competence.

The knowledge and professionalism demonstrated shows that the strategies designed have legal strength and achieve the objectives set.

A very complete team, with experienced partners who come from other important firms in Chile.

Very solid professionals, with personalised attention by lawyers of a very high level and experience.

Darío Silva Villagrán is an exceptional lawyer with extensive knowledge of the courts, and always empathetic with clients; he builds trust quickly, and is very clear and objective with his analysis, as well as being prudent with his recommendations.

Darío Silva Villagrán is great for availability and constantly high-level advice.

Darío Silva Villagrán is serious and respected.

Associate Manuela Miquel Barros is a young and thoughtful associate with a great capacity for analysis, and fast in delivering work commissioned.

Key clients

Juan Pablo Araya

Luis Arostegui

Alejandro Parodi

Luciano Cruz

José Larraín

Carlos Trucco

Ambrosio Rodríguez

José Miguel Ansoleaga

Alejandro Linares

Rodrigo Trucco

Guillermo García

Cristóbal Correa

Delia Laforet

Matías Montoya

Work highlights

  • Filed a criminal complaint on behalf of Veolia in relation to Caso Basura, a corruption case involving the tender for the collection, transportation and disposal of garbage.
  • Defended company senior executive Sebastian Gonzalez in relation to the Intervalores case,  which involved a fraud committed by a stockbroker against hundreds of investors.
  • Represents approximately 2,500 farmers whose crops have been affected by the usurpation of their water rights.