Leading Individuals: Foreign Firms

Leading firms in Dutch Caribbean

HBN Law & Tax

With noted expertise across the legal and tax arenas, HBN Law & Tax is also a key name in the region for corporate and M&A transactions, litigation, financing mandates, employment issues, real estate matters and work in the energy sector, alongside its extensive knowledge of tax issues and related compliance work. The practice covers both local and international mandates, acting for a spread of multinational corporates and Caribbean-based clients. The firm’s headquarters in Curaçao are home to joint managing partners Eric de Vries and Wendell Mariaan, who lead on the legal and tax elements respectively. Corporate, finance and tax specialist Jeroen Eichhorn is also a notable individual in the Curaçao base along with Marcha Woudstra and Terrence Matroos, while transactional expert Chris van Amersfoort is based in St. Maarten; Chris de Bres, who handles corporate work and commercial litigation, is in Bonaire; and Misha Bemer leads on commercial issues from the Aruba office.

Practice head(s):

Eric de VriesWendell Mariaan

Other key lawyers:

Jeroen Eichhorn; Marcha Woudstra; Terrence Matroos; Chris van Amersfoort; Chris de Bres; Misha Bemer

Key clients

Aqualectra N.V.

Refineria di Korsou N.V.

UTS/ Flow

Sint Maarten Telecommunications Company (TELEM)

First Caribbean International Bank / CIBC

Dutch Caribbean Securities Exchange

Impulse Dynamics

Bearing Point

Atlas Fund Services

HNO Transitie & Exploitatie N.V. /CMC

3G Capital

Princess Juliana International Airport

Mastercard

Morgan Stanley

Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP

BOPEC (in bankrupty)

Baring Private Equity / Vistra

Openbaar Lichaam Bonaire OLB (Government of the Island Territory of Bonaire)

The State (country) of Curacao

The State (country) of St. Maarten

The Antillean Pension Fund (APC)

Work highlights

  • Advised 3G Capital regarding the delisting of Hunter Douglas from the Amsterdam and Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
  • Advised Atlas Fund Services on a sale to ZEDRA.
  • Advised Baring Private Equity/Vistra regarding the sale of EQT AB.

NautaDutilh

NautaDutilh‘s Amsterdam office is now the main base for Dutch Caribbean advice provided by the firm, with practitioners in the firm’s New York office no longer focusing on Dutch Caribbean law. The firm is a go-to name for its roster of high-profile clients, with global financial institutions and multinational corporates instructing the team on a range of cross-border mandates. Barbara Rumora-Scheltema is the key contact for dispute resolution and restructuring mandates, while Frans van der Eerden leads on financial regulatory issues. Other names contributing to the firm’s Dutch Caribbean expertise include Freerk Vermeulen, who heads up the Supreme Court litigation practice; of counsel Pim Rank, who focuses on derivatives and repo lending matters; and financial litigator Allart Haasjes.

Other key lawyers:

Freerk Vermeulen; Pim Rank; Allart Haasjes

Key clients

International Capital Markets Association (ICMA)

International Securities Lending Association (ISLA)

McDermott International, Inc.

Playa Hotels and Resorts N.V.

Damen Shipyards Group

The liquidators of TWPS

Work highlights

  • Provided the International Capital Markets Association (ICMA) and the International Securities Lending Association (ISLA) with the Jurisdiction Opinion for Curaçao and Sint Maarten and advice on the Global Master Repurchase Agreement and the Global Master Securities Lending Agreement.
  • Representing several clients in human rights litigation against Aruba and Curaçao. The aim of the proceedings is to open up marriage in Aruba and in Curaçao for same-sex couples.
  • Representing the liquidators of TPWS and affiliated entities in litigation against the court appointed trustee of First Curacao International Bank (FCIB) concerning liability related to fraud committed by certain customers of FCIB.

Soliana Bonapart & Aardenburg

Praised for its ‘experienced partners‘ and ‘good and prompt communication‘, Soliana Bonapart & Aardenburg counts local companies, international corporates, and governmental and public entities on its broad client roster. Key areas of strength for the firm span public sector issues, employment advice, transactional mandates (particularly in the banking sector), risk advisory work, commercial contracts and litigation. Thomas Aardenburg co-leads the firm from its Curaçao base with Michael Bonapart; Aardenburg handles transactional work and disputes, while Bonapart excels in civil and administrative law litigation. Molly Steward is the primary name for employment mandates, and Arndt van Hoof focuses on shipping, insurance and healthcare-related matters.

Other key lawyers:

Molly Steward; Arndt van Hoof

Testimonials

‘Good and prompt communication.’

‘Excellency in providing good advice, good track record of winning at court, positive team work and team members, experienced partners, efficiency in organisation.’

‘Dedication, good level of knowledge and experience, excellence in output.’

‘Michael Bonapart and Molly Steward have a good level of wisdom, knowledge on all different laws and handle the management of people and production very well.’

Key clients

ConocoPhillips

Banco di Caribe

Work highlights

  • Assisted several ConocoPhillips companies with claims exceeding $2bn against the Venezuelan state-owned company PDVSA and certain of its subsidiaries.
  • Successfully defended leading local bank Banco di Caribe with respect to a claim filed against the bank by a private foundation, Parasasa, alleging that the bank had violated its special duty of care, and that Parasasa incurred damages as a result.
  • Representing the trustees in the bankruptcy of the South African-based founder of a Curaçao private foundation, in a case which went to appeal in an important decision with respect to the legal status of the founder’s rights in a Curaçao private foundation.

Spigt Dutch Caribbean

Fielding ‘a core team of permanent local leadership and talent‘, Spigt Dutch Caribbean excels in transactional and contentious mandates across the banking, healthcare and hospitality sectors. The practice has also recently seen an uptick in regulatory matters and counts banks, insurance companies, trust service providers, accountancy businesses and national and international authorities on its client roster. Martijn Welten heads up the litigation group, while Maike Bergervoet is head of the corporate, banking and finance, and regulatory teams. At counsel level, Douwe Douwes focuses on insolvency and inheritance litigation, while Sebastiaan Barten handles international claims. Associate Oriana Minguel is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Martijn Welten; Maike Bergervoet

Other key lawyers:

Douwe Douwes; Sebastiaan Barten; Oriana Minguel

Testimonials

‘A lot of experience and a core team of permanent local leadership and talent.’

‘We are dealing with a small team who know everything about the multiple cases that we have and we have the full support of time, knowledge and availability.’

‘Martijn Welten always puts the interest of the client first. Sebastiaan Barten is exceptional in everything.’

‘Highly experienced, nimble and approachable professionals in their transaction and litigation practices.’

Key clients

Santa Barbara Hospitality N.V.

CIBC FirstCaribbean

Princess Camilla De Bourbon

Maduro & Curiel’s Bank N.V.

Bonaire Holding Maatschappij N.V.

Hunter Douglas N.V.

Blue Bay Golf & Beach Resort

Citco

St. Elisabeth Hospitaal

Penha Holding

Curacao Medical Center

Morgan Stanley

Vidanova Bank

AIB Bank

Work highlights

  • Acted as counsel to a consortium of lenders in connection with the $90m refinancing of the Senior Secured Notes (NY) for the Princess Juliana International Airport in Sint Maarten.
  • Acted for Princess Camilla de Bourbon in a number of legal proceedings against BNP Paribas Jersey Trust Cooperation Limited.
  • Advised Santa Barbara Hospitality on the sale of the Santa Barbara Hotel & Beach Resort.

VANEPS

Acting for a varied client roster of financial institutions, national and international corporates, and governmental bodies, VANEPS leverages the expertise of its practitioners across the Dutch Caribbean to handle the full range of transactional and contentious mandates. At an international level, the firm also benefits from being a member of the Lex Mundi network. Focco Lunsingh Scheurleer and counsel Inge van Hees-Wolswijk jointly lead the banking and finance team, which acts for a variety of lender clients; Rogier van den Heuvel and Roderik van Hees are jointly responsible for the litigation and dispute resolution; and Tjarda Tazelaar heads up the corporate and M&A practice. Elsewhere, Diek Fabius is the key contact for commercial and IP work, Tom Peeters has notable real estate and administrative law expertise, while Frank Kunneman leads the governance, risk and compliance group. For insolvency work, Michiel Gorsira is the primary name, and Thies Leijsen and newly promoted counsel Sophie van Lint handle employment and pensions mandates.

Other key lawyers:

Sophie van Lint; Inge van Hees-Wolswijk

Testimonials

‘They have solutions for every problem in every field. Someone at VANEPS has the knowledge to guide you and give you the answer to the solution.’

‘Tjarda Tazelaar was our contact person. He was extremely helpful and always reachable. To the point and always with a solution.’

‘Easy access, great response times, comes up with out-of-the-box solutions, pragmatic approach.’

‘They are very responsive and well-rounded in terms of ability to handle any questions.’

‘Roderik van Hees and Rogier van den Heuvel are exceptional and outstanding in every way. They are extremely meticulous, highly efficient and always go above and beyond the call of duty.’

‘VANEPS has different branches throughout the Dutch Caribbean; expertise that is not available in one branch is made available via another one. Consequently, collectively there is a vast, diverse and broad knowledge and experience present. Despite the distance and the large size of the firm, the relationships with the company remains one where personal contact is highly valued.’

‘The diverse team that provides in-depth knowledge across a broad legal spectrum makes VANEPS an excellent strategic partner.’

‘We appreciate Tom Peeters not only for his in-depth legal knowledge, but also that we can always count on Tom’s availability for us in legal matters, even in addition to his role as partner at VANEPS.’

Key clients

JP Morgan Chase & Co. Bank

Deutsche Bank

Google

Spotify

Aon

Intertrust

Zedra

AIB Bank N.V.

Government of Curaçao

Government of Aruba

Government of St. Maarten

First Caribbean International Bank

Maduro & Curiel’s Bank

United International Trust

Caribbean Financial Group

Curaçao Land Registry

Work highlights

  • Instructed by a former director of the Ennia Group as litigation counsel in the appeal against a judgment in first instance, pursuant to which a former supervisory director of Ennia Group was ordered to pay $550m in damages.
  • Assisted FirstCaribbean International Bank with the financing of the Pyrmont Autograph Collection Hotel by Marriott.
  • Advised Aon on the successful divestment of its entire Dutch Caribbean business operations on the islands of Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire and St. Maarten to Navigator Insurance Consultants.