The recent track record of BACS Abogados‘ highly specialised white-collar crime team includes matters involving the public sector, politics, economic fraud, plagiarism, insider trading, and the armed forces. The firm fields several experienced practitioners, namely: Marcos Contreras, whose recent career includes being appointed a Professor of the Department of Criminal Sciences at Universidad de Santiago in 2021; Miguel Schürmann and Alejandro Awad, who are ‘without a doubt the best criminal litigators in the country‘; and consultant partner Antonio Bascuñán, who led the team of academics that produced the preliminary draft of Criminal Code presented to the Parliament by President Piñera. The second line of advisers includes José Pedro Silva, who is highly active in white-collar crime investigations, and was promoted to director of the firm’s criminal law and compliance practices in January 2022.
Dispute resolution: white-collar crime in Chile
Alejandro Awad; Antonio Bascuñán; Marcos Contreras; Miguel Schurmann; José Pedro Silva
‘Very dedicated and studious specialists with the ability to meet deadlines and work under pressure – they give us a lot of confidence.‘
‘The team is multidisciplinary and its partners complement their knowledge very well, which allows us to work successfully in different areas of the legal space.‘
‘The BACS team demonstrated enormous professionalism through its advice, and was very up-to-date on matters – very committed to carrying out the requested investigations, with personalised advice that is directed to the specific questions that we ask them.‘
‘Always answered quickly, professionally, giving us both hypotheses and various solid proposals.‘
‘Analytical precision, legally impeccable proposals, and at the same time oriented towards efficiency and the client’s economic improvement.‘
‘Alejandro Awad, with whom it is easy to communicate with, is a very flexible character who seems to have complete and always fresh knowledge of the background information sent to him, transmitting remarkable tranquility during the handling of sensitive issues.‘
‘Miguel Schürmann and Alejandro Awad are exceptional lawyers. In addition to their vast knowledge of criminal matters, they understand clients’ perspectives perfectly and are capable of acting with a finely tuned strategic sense.‘
‘Alejandro Awad and Miguel Schürmann, with whom I have had the opportunity to work on several occasions, are without a doubt the best criminal litigators in the country.‘
Fiscalía Nacional Económica
Australis Sea Foods
Ilustre Municipalidad de Maipú
Western Union Chile
Viña Santa Carolina
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
- Defended Hermes Hein in relation to a closed investigation led by the Punta Arenas Prosecutor’s Office.
- Successfully acted for Camila Vallejo Dowling (Congress member), who was investigated in relation to consultancy reports.
- Acted for Ilustre Municipalidad de Maipú in an investigation into a large municipal deficit.
Specialised dispute resolution firm Bofill Escobar Silva Abogados fields a sizeable 22-strong criminal law group that handles a wide range of cases – from complex, white-collar and economic felonies to high-profile investigations involving corruption allegations and crimes committed against Chile’s critical infrastructure during the country’s late 2019 social crisis. The ‘outstanding‘ practice is co-led by highly esteemed name partner Jorge Bofill, a commercial litigation, international arbitration and white-collar crime expert who has longstanding experience in legislative work (such as his participation in the Drafting Committee of the Criminal Procedure Reform bill); and César Ramos (elevated to the partnership in December 2021), whose recent track record includes successfully representing Chile’s Undersecretary of Health in a criminal investigation related to the spread of the Covid-19 Delta variant in Chile. Ramos and associate Andrea Lema (a late 2020 hire from the public criminal defender’s office) are both ‘very competent‘.
Jorge Bofill; Cesar Ramos
‘A human team that stays close to its clients and is empathetic in relation to their problems – a correct reading of the problems and how to resolve them.‘
‘The firm stands out for combining its experience with a top-level team of lawyers who work well together.‘
‘The lawyers study the origins of cases and analyse all the variables, and they have the support of experts in relation to judicial and police investigations, and environmental studies.‘
‘In their relationships with clients, the lawyers are always receptive and will always consider the opinions of clients and background information supplied.‘
‘Lawyers with first-class professional preparation – outstanding in their field at a national level.‘
‘An organised, coherent work system, with a clear and defined strategic direction that allows freedom of action and creativity; and the work is coordinated through permanent monitoring and combined visions that enrich each aspect of the issues to be addressed.‘
‘The strategic direction and conduct of Jorge Bofill stands out.‘
‘Cesar Ramos and Andrea Lema are very competent – great degree of knowledge of the issues and processes that the client must face.‘
Compañía Contractual Minera Candelaria
Pedro Guerra Guerrero
Karen Rojo Venegas
Luis Alberto Yapur
Sociedad Administradora de Casinos y Servicios Aliservice
Empresa de Transporte de Pasajeros Metro
Paula Labra Besserer
Julio Ponce Lerou
High-ranking officers of Empresas Penta
- Representing Compañía Contractual Minera Candelaria (and one of its former executives Miguel Troncoso), in an ongoing investigation regarding alleged bribery charges, which involve an agreement with the Municipality of Tierra Amarilla.
- Acted for Julio Ponce, one of the largest shareholders of SQM, in relation to the Cascadas case, one of the landmark securities criminal cases of the last decade.
- Represents a company, which is owned by Luis Alberto Yapur and provides food to the national public schools system, in an ongoing investigation concerning the alleged forgery of documents during a bidding process.
López Escobar del Río Leiva
Launched in 2017, boutique legal practice López Escobar del Río Leiva fields an eight-strong team (including four partners) that routinely handles a share of Chile’s most significant criminal cases, including cases concerning finance, retail, power generation, banking, infrastructure, ports and mining. The department is jointly led by Jorge Del Río Pérez, (former Ethics Judge of the Chilean Bar Association until 2021) who has longstanding experience in arbitration, dispute resolution and ADR work; Julián López Masle, a criminal, civil and commercial litigation expert, whose track record includes leading the criminal defence of the Penta Group’s controlling shareholders in relation to alleged tax offences and bribery; José Ignacio Escobar Opazo, whose recent workload includes assisting with an investigation into both embezzlement of public funds and bribery; and Felipe Leiva Fadic, a specialist in public sector-related arbitration, dispute resolution and litigation. Senior associate Ignacio Ananías Zaror is also active in criminal litigation, and civil, administrative and criminal litigation specialist Soledad Krause Muñoz -a former partner at Gandarillas, Montt, Del Río y Krause- was hired as counsel in October 2021.
Jorge Del Río Pérez; Julián López Masle; José Ignacio Escobar Opazo; Felipe Leiva Fadic
Carlos Eugenio Lavín
Carlos Alberto Délano
Inversiones Penta III
Compañía Pesquera Camanchaca
Municipalidad de Vitacura
Délano Méndez Family
Compañía Minera Cerro Colorado
Banco de Chile
Yarur Tomic Family
Della Schiava Roth Family
- Currently in charge of the legal defense of Empresas Penta and Inversiones Penta III in the headline Penta group tax crime and bribery scandal.
- Defending Salmones Camanchaca against corporate penal liability charges concerning an alleged water pollution crime.
- Acting for the administration of Camila Merino, the recently elected mayor of Municipalidad de Vitacura, in a criminal investigation initiated through a complaint filed at the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Fielding 'a complete range of specialists to deal with different aspects of legal problems', Albagli Zaliasnik's seven-strong white-collar litigation group handles major investigations before the Investigative Police, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, Guarantee Courts, Oral Courts, and the Appeal, Constitutional and Supreme Courts. Recent highlights include representing Sartor Finance Group in a large financial scandal that involves the purchase of derivatives. The firm’s litigation department is led by name partner Gabriel Zaliasnik, a former president of the Commission for the Reform of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Ministry of Justice; and experienced criminal law practitioner, Jaime Winter - recently promoted from senior associate to department director, he is also a distinguished criminal law professor at Universidad de Chile.
Gabriel Zaliasnik; Jaime Winter
‘Lawyers who are permanently concerned about their clients.‘
‘Solid knowledge of their subjects with optimal use of databases and data sources.‘
‘Lawyers of all ages and with a complete range of specialists to deal with different aspects of legal problems.‘
‘Constant updating of clients and the seriousness with which the issues are discussed is remarkable.‘
‘Good technological support for meetings and presentations are at a very high standard.‘
‘The most important advantage is the personal commitment of the lawyers, and the continuous dialogue with the client.‘
Sartor Finance Group
Inmobiliarias of Coquimbo
Senator Iván Moreira
National Chamber of Commerce
Corporación Municipal de la Florida
- Representing Sartor Finance Group in a large financial crime matter.
- Represented D&A licensing in an important IP case against the Chilean Copyright Society, which involves a criminal action.
- Representing Jaime Mañalich, a former Chilean Health Minister, in several criminal actions against him, in relation to the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 13-strong department at BCP Abogados specialises in highly complex litigation, defending economic crime charges, tax crimes, crimes by officials, contentious administrative cases and civil litigation. The team is also active in matters involving criminal compliance, anti-corruption, and the prevention of asset laundering and terrorist financing. The group is jointly led by complex litigation expert Juan Ignacio Piña, whose practice spans litigation involving criminal, administrative and civil liability law; Francisco Cox, whose track record includes litigating before the International Criminal Court; and criminal litigation and compliance expert Matías Balmaceda. At senior associate level, Guillermo Cantin‘s practice includes criminal litigation work. Former compliance co-director Rodrigo Aldoney left the firm in January 2022.
Juan Ignacio Piña; Francisco Cox; Matías Balmaceda
Active in criminal economic and tax matters, cybercrime and anti-corruption legislation violations, Carey‘s criminal litigation practice also houses experts in asset laundering, and crime-related industrial and intellectual property law breaches. Former white-collar team head Alvaro Carreño recently left the firm (as did associates Francisca Franzani and Fernanda Montes), with the criminal law team now led by senior counsel Rodrigo Aldoney who joined in February 2022 from BCP Abogados; his practice covers all areas of criminal law, mainly economic and environmental crime, fraud, competition, corporate criminal liability and highly complex litigation in general. At partner level, litigation group co-head Gonzalo Fernández also acts on criminal matters, while the contentious practices of senior associate Eduardo Alcaino and associate Caterina Ravera are also primarily focused on white-collar crime.
Traditionally known for intellectual and industrial property-related criminal matters, Cariola Díez Pérez-Cotapos‘ white-collar and compliance practice was formally established in 2016 by Jorge Boldt, whose practice covers companies’ internal investigations, the design and implementation of compliance models, and trials involving economic crimes. The five-strong group is also experienced in assisting with major cases involving internal and external frauds, unlawful administration, corruption and tax crimes; the majority of the team’s work focuses on criminal claimant-side matters and victim’s advisory and assessment, rather than criminal defence. Key senior associate Lorena Avendaño frequently seconds Boldt during criminal cases and internal investigations, while Pablo Cariola handles criminal matters concerning IP infringements.
- Assisted Connors with the filing of a criminal action in relation to the Inverlink fraud.
- Acted for Ripley in relation to a fraud-related criminal investigation.
- Defended Sandvik against a criminal claim involving an alleged fraud.
Fielding 'lawyers who handle their skills with excellence', FerradaNehme's compact, four-strong team consistently represents companies and individuals in economic criminal law cases, particularly crimes that incorporate corporate dimensions. Compliance work is also a strong feature of the practice, including advising companies on how to prevent being involved in Public Ministry investigations. In addition to leading the firm’s compliance practice, the experience of Rafael Collado (a partner since 2018) includes advce and representation in major Chilean economic criminal law cases; senior associate Lucía Álvarez also regularly acts on large-scale matters. Collado and Álvarez are 'very competent' and 'always fulfil tasks within the stipulated deadlines'.
‘The FerradaNehme team is very available to its clients, with lawyers who handle their skills with excellence, prepare their legal defences very well (and share them with their clients,) and billing processes that use advanced technology- generally a more modern firm than other Chilean offices.‘
‘A very professional team with quick responses and great rigour.‘
‘Always committed and available, interested in clients’ business, and with a global and business vision of problems that is not just legal.‘
‘Rafael Collado and senior associate Lucía Álvarez are very competent professionals, who always fulfil tasks within the stipulated deadlines.‘
Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile
Clínica Sierra Bella
Innovación Social y Fundraising
- Acted for Codelco in corruption-related criminal actions against its former CEO.
- Acted for Clínica Sierra Bella in a major fraud case with anti-money laundering ramifications.
- Assisted Prosegur with an anti-money laundering-related internal investigation affecting a Prosegur client.
Gana y Galvez Abogados
The white-collar crime practice at litigation boutique Gana y Galvez Abogados houses specialists in fraud committed against companies and financial institutions, as well as defence-side fraud-related allegations. The firm’s criminal litigation group is led by founding partner Jorge Gálvez S, and routinely interacts with the Police, the Public Ministry, the Guarantee Courts and the Superior Courts in relation to criminal matters. The group’s track record includes the prevention and prosecution of crimes involving the embezzlement of Chile’s financial system, as well as representing senior executives, CEOs and government officials in criminal investigations. Key associate support comes from experienced litigator Javiera Venegas L and Martín Hess.
Giroux Vial Abogados
A frequent port-of-call for law firms that don’t have a criminal practice, the ‘small but powerful and dedicated‘ white-collar group at Giroux Vial Abogados is experienced in dispute resolution involving criminal and administrative penal law, and also has a robust compliance practice that covers the criminal liability of private individuals and legal entities, as well as asset laundering prevention. Founding partners Cristophe Giroux and Salvador Vial, who are ‘very good at dealing with sensitive issues that have a high potential for conflict‘, have both worked in the public and private sectors, including public prosecution agencies. Experienced litigation associate Paulina Corral moved to Fundación Pro Bono Chile in March 2022.
Cristophe Giroux; Salvador Vial
‘An up-to-date, multi-functional team that works in a coordinated and highly efficient manner.‘
‘Knew how to adapt positively to the pandemic scenario without losing proximity to its clients.‘
‘A small but powerful and dedicated team that has a lot of experience in the industry, as well as good contacts in the offices where the procedures are carried out.‘
‘The great strength of Giroux Vial is that due to its size, matters are handled by its partners, not by junior lawyers. For the same reason, communication is very easy with them.‘
‘Great combination of expertise, knowledge and speed.‘
‘Cristophe Giroux and Salvador Vial are both very good at dealing with sensitive issues that have a high potential for conflict.‘
‘Both Cristophe Giroux and Salvador Vial are very committed people, who are concerned with keeping the client very informed through the evaluation of scenarios and discussing of strategies – and they follow up on things. As both partners are ex-prosecutors, they have an intimate knowledge of the penal system, which makes their management of work very efficient.‘
Founded in 2017 and demonstrating steady growth, Lembeye Abogados recruited Daniel Praetorius -the former co-head of Bofill Escobar Silva Abogados' white-collar team- to lead its dispute resolution and criminal law department in 2020. 'Capable of handling the most complex scenarios', Praetorius has experience acting in various major and high-profile white-collar cases, and since his arrival at the firm his caseload has include being retained by individuals and companies in a plethora of criminal cases, including iTelecom’s defence against a major criminal anti-corruption investigation. Praetorius’ practice also includes assisting with the development and implementation of compliance programmes, in addition to conducting internal corporate investigations. Lukas Hudson, who also teaches procedural law at the Universidad Andrés Bello, provides key associate support.
‘Daniel Praetorius, who despite his youth has an important background in white-collar crime work. I think that it is Daniel’s committed character, in addition to his legal strategies, that makes Lembeye’s practice unique.‘
‘I can speak to Daniel Praetorius and his excellent service. With his character and intelligence, he is capable of handling the most complex scenarios. In addition, he is preceded by great experience in some of the most high-profile judicial cases of recent times in Chile.‘
- Defending iTelecom Holding group companies against a criminal investigation into alleged bribery during several bidding proceedings in different municipalities across the country.
Merino y Cía. Abogados
Launched as recently in 2019, Merino y Cía. Abogados‘ practice acts in major criminal cases involving embezzlement, corporate fraud, forgery, and crimes against intellectual and industrial property. It also assists corporations with their internal procedures for detecting frauds and other unlawful acts; and advises on the design, implementation and updating of compliance systems that can serve as corporate criminal liability defences. The firm’s principal figures are founding partner Eugenio Merino Palacios, a former Ortiz & Compañía partner; and of counsel Javier Wilenmann Von Bernath, whose track record includes advising the Chilean criminal justice system’s key institutions.
Montero, Silva & Valdés
Launched in 2018, Montero, Silva & Valdés‘ specialised white-collar department, which ‘demonstrates a lot of experience during difficult cases‘, consistently acts in complex criminal matters as well as assisting with contingency-related preventive analyses and handling the development of compliance models and programmes. Currently a professor at the criminal law department of the Universidad Mayor, founding partner and team head Darío Silva Villagrán, who ‘stands out as an excellent criminal lawyer‘, focuses primarily on penal matters, particularly criminal activity with economic and administrative sanctioning elements, as well as compliance issues. At associate level, the deeply experienced Paula Alejandra Sánchez Birke arrived from the former Bofill Mir Andres Jana Abogados in May 2021 (where she was a senior); and Manuela Miquel Barros, ‘a very efficient litigation associate‘, also provides key associate.
Darío Silva Villagrán
‘Studious, friendly, committed lawyers!‘
‘It’s a consolidated team with a specialism in penal work – very clear when identifying risks.‘
‘A firm that is up to date with its practices – compares favourably to most other firms we interact with.‘
‘The team reacts quickly to client requests and demonstrates a lot of experience during difficult cases – great teamwork from efficient lawyers who are always available.‘
‘Darío Silva Villagrán is always willing to assist you and makes you feel that your case is the first priority. Darío’s experience and quick thinking are remarkable. He is very good at understanding the client’s concerns in relation to how the problem affects the development of its business.‘
‘Darío Silva Villagrán provides us with an excellent and personalised service, and his team is committed and available at all times.‘
‘Darío Silva Villagrán stands out as an excellent criminal lawyer.‘
‘Manuela Miquel Barros is a very efficient litigation associate.‘
WSP Servicios Postales
- Defending Sebastian Gonzalez (former company senior executive at Intervalores Corredores de Bolsa) in the major Intervalores fraud case.
- Represents 2,500 farmers in the region of Ñuble (grouped within umbrella organisation Junta de Vigilancia del Rio Diguillin y sus Afluentes), in relation to the usurpation of their water rights.
- Represented Paulo Brignardello, one of the victims in the Arcano Case, which involved hundreds of millions of dollars being handed over by investors to venture capital firm Grupo Arcano and affiliate Onix Capital.
Estudio Navarro Abogados
Focused on advising both large and medium-sized companies, the eight-strong practice at Estudio Navarro Abogados is jointly co-led by Catalina Navarro, who previously directed the Economic Crimes Unit at the National Public Prosecutor’s Office; and Carlos Vernaza, a former Undersecretariat for Crime Prevention counsel at the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security. Partners at the firm since 2014, Navarro and Vernaza both specialise in crimes against assets and property, economic crimes, and generally all crimes involving business (including cybercrime, and intellectual and industrial property-related crime). The department also assists companies with the development of crime prevention models. Recent highlights saw the team acted for three students of a trading and investment academy, who suffered the theft of cryptocurrencies from their accounts.
Catalina Navarro; Carlos Vernaza
Montajes del Pacífico
Institute for Agricultural and Livestock Research
Institute and Livestock Research
- Acted for Montajes del Pacífico in its fraud lawsuit against its former chief of remuneration.
- Acted for three students of a trading and investment academy, who suffered the theft of cryptocurrencies from their accounts.
- Represented Paola Elgueta Pino, who was the victim of misappropriation of pension payments and a simulated contract.