Firms To Watch: Regulatory, compliance and investigations

Specialist boutique ENQUIRE Attorneys-at-Law Ltd.'s team, led by the highly regarded Claudia Fritsche, advises clients on internal investigations and whistleblowing mandates.
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Regulatory, compliance and investigations in Switzerland

Bär & Karrer Ltd.

Clients from the banking, insurance, pharmaceutical, technology, manufacturing and infrastructure regularly seek out Bär & Karrer Ltd. for its broad expertise in corporate governance, compliance organisation and processes and regulatory queries. The team is particularly strong in white-collar crime matters and conducting internal investigations. Practice co-head Andreas Länzlinger combines experience in dispute resolution, compliance and investigations. Co-head Eric Stupp has know-how in dealing with financial services clients. Geneva-based duo Saverio Lembo and Andrew Garbarski are key contacts for white-collar matters.

Key clients

Swiss Life

Credit Suisse

Work highlights

  • Advised Swiss Life together with the US co-counsel in connection with the inquiry of the US Department of Justice regarding its past cross-border insurance wrapper business for wealthy US persons.

Homburger

Homburger enjoys a stellar reputation for its regulatory, compliance and investigations practice. The team can draw from cross-departmental expertise in litigation, corporate, banking and IP, and has an international outlook. Key clients are particularly from the banking and finance sector, but the group is also sought after by Swiss and foreign corporations. Flavio Romerio is an established advisor in compliance and investigations matters. Claudio Bazzani is noted as a specialist in internal investigations, while Katrin Ivell, noted for her ‘excellent oversight‘, covers anti-bribery, corruption and anti-money laundering cases. Marcel Dietrich is the key contact for regulatory queries.

Testimonials

‘Very knowledgable, well organised and well connected internationally, which is key for international investigations.’

‘Katrin Ivell’s cool head and excellent oversight has helped us bring matters to a satisfactory conclusion without having to compromise on quality.’

Key clients

Swiss Federal Council

Booking.com

AMAG

Alpiq

Work highlights

  • Conducted a plausibility check of the decision of the Swiss Federal Council to purchase a new fighter aircraft of the type F-35A for $5.5bn
  • Representing Booking.com before the Swiss Price Surveillance Office in an investigation on commission rates.

Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd

Clients praise Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd for its ‘ability to engage constructively with the Swiss prosecutors.’ The firm fields a sizeable team of lawyers specialising in internal investigations, white-collar crime and related litigation. It works closely with the tax, M&A, competition and banking & finance practice groups to cover topics such as bribery and corruption; fraud and violation of tax, banking and capital market rules; and sanction violations. The ‘formidable’ Benjamin Borsodi and white-collar crime expert Peter Burckhardt jointly head up the group. Other notable team members include litigator Louis Burrus and of counsel Paul Gully-Hart.

Practice head(s):

Benjamin Borsodi; Peter Burckhardt

Other key lawyers:

Vincent Jeanneret; Roland Ryser

Testimonials

‘Very efficient, pragmatic approach to disclosure requests by public prosecutors.’

‘SW have an impressive regulatory and investigations practice and are lovely to work with. What I have found particularly good about this team is their practical knowledge of Swiss criminal procedure and their ability to engage constructively with the Swiss prosecutors.’

‘The white-collar crime team of Schellenberg Wittmer in Geneva is dedicated, well prepared and always available. They have an excellent ability to deliver high-quality work even under pressure in cases involving complex problematics.’

‘Excellent to work with – as a team and as individuals.’

‘Benjamin Borsodi is formidable and highly regarded both locally and internationally.’

‘Roland Ryser: very client-oriented, efficient, easy to work with, with excellent regulatory knowledge.’

Key clients

Credit Suisse

Gunvor

Stephan Schmidheiny

BeltechExport

Czech Republic

UBS

Odebrecht and Braskem

EFG Bank AG

Volkswagen

Bucher Landtechnik

Energie Wasser Luzern

Erdgas Zentralschweiz

Work highlights

  • Representing a prominent high-ranking official in Swiss criminal investigation proceedings.
  • Representing the Czech Republic – which had fallen victim to major fraud, occurring in the privatization of the coal mining industry in North Bohemia in a major investigation into the fraud, money laundering and other offences by Swiss federal prosecutors.
  • Providing advice and assistance to a large international commodity trading group in the context of several foreign requests for mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.

Kellerhals Carrard

Kellerhals Carrard fields a sizeable team active in the regulatory, compliance and investigations space, and is appreciated for ‘deeply considering the individual situation of the clients.’ The team is retained by a variety of nationally and internationally operating companies, in particular from the healthcare and life sciences industry. Areas of focus are internal investigations, white-collar crime matters, crisis management, CMS, and dawn raids. Claudia Götz Staehelin combines investigation and litigation expertise, while Florian Baumann and Daniel Lengauer are key contacts for Swiss criminal proceedings and the implementation of compliance management systems respectively. Michael Daphinoff  also deals with international assistance in criminal matters and asset recovery. Life sciences expert Oliver Brupbacher is also noted.

Testimonials

‘I was very impressed by the length to which the KC team went to understand both legal and business/PR needs, including the personalities of and the dynamics between the individuals on the client’s legal and business teams. I was also impressed with the professionalism and demeanour the KC attorneys displayed.’

‘A perfect combination of high quality of the individual, response time and collaboration between Kellerhals Carrard and us as a client, but as well with all other stakeholders.’

‘Very strong and diverse team. Capable to perform work within a short period of time.’

‘They have a very solid Swiss practice, but have the knowledge and capability to assist in global compliance investigations.’

‘The individuals have enormous experience; they take the time to take us as clients with them (in order for us to understand all possibilities, chances and risks). They are open to feedback and deeply consider the individual situation of the clients.’

‘That Claudia Götz Staehelin and Oliver Brupbacher had brilliant legal minds and acumen was never in doubt. What truly makes these partners stand out is the instant connection and bond they were able to form with the client. I had never worked with private law counsel who was able to come across as kind, gentle, patient, and relatable as Claudia and Oliver did.’

‘Working with Claudia Götz Staehelin und Oliver Brupbacher is such a pleasure.’

‘Claudia Götz Staehelin is sharp and experienced and adds value as she has the in-house perspective from her previous roles.’

Key clients

Bürgschaftsgenossenschaft Ost-Süd

Bürgschaftsgenossenschaft Mitte

Cautionnement Romand

Bürgschaftsgenossenschaft SAFFA

Parmalat Group

Work highlights

  • Retained by four government-accredited Covid-19 loan guarantee organisations to uncover possible credit abuses, persecute possible fraudsters and recover the unlawfully obtained loans for the next 7 years
  • Acting for Parmalat Group in criminal proceedings against several private persons related to the bankruptcy of the group.
  • Advising several Swiss SMI companies on compliance and healthcare compliance issues as well as regulatory questions, and internal investigations.

LALIVE

LALIVE has a ‘highly professional, efficient and trustful‘ team whose broad investigations practice includes fraud, asset tracing, recovery, corruption, money laundering, embezzlement, and whistleblowing. The group acts for corporations, senior managers, states and UHNWIs, and also covers compliance and regulatory matters. Marc Henzelin has experience in international and economic criminal law, while Daniel L Buhr is a skilled advisor in risk and compliance management. Matthias Gstoehl, Simone Nadelhofer and Sandrine Giroud are considered ‘real thought leaders on Swiss law issues.’ 

Testimonials

‘Smart, commercially-minded lawyers who always understand how the Swiss part of the case fits into a broader international context.’

‘What is really impressive about Lalive is their internal organisation. They are so efficient in providing feedback to the client.’

‘The team is very business-oriented and pragmatic. Advice is cutting-edge and at the forefront of development in the compliance and ethics areas. They are also very valuable in helping bring the regulations into practice.’

‘The firm is a highly professional, efficient and trustful firm with qualified partners in various sectors.’

‘Matthias Gstoehl, Simone Nadelhofer, and Sandrine Giroud are extremely responsive and real thought leaders on Swiss law issues.’

‘Daniel Bühr is extremely knowledgeable and a “safe bet”.’

‘Simone Nadelhofer is a quite unique mix of kindness and elegance before the client, and of efficiency and quality of the legal advice provided. We have always been impressed by her approach to cases, from the smaller to the bigger ones.’

‘Sandrine Giroud has a perfect knowledge of both the laws and the practice as well as the jurisprudence (court cases and precedents) which allows her to foresee the problems and their consequences and find therefore the best solutions. She is very professional with high skills. Besides, she has a wide knowledge of commercial law, finance and all matters in connection with corruption and illicit financial flows with adequate solutions to freeze and retrieve ill-gotten assets.’

Key clients

Federative Republic of Brazil

Work highlights

  • Advised and represented Brazil in a large-scale investigation, tracing and recovery of illicit assets and proceeds of crimes held in several banks and fiduciaries in Switzerland and other countries in a $1bn matter.
  • Representing a Middle East commodities trading company in fraud proceedings against a global European bank established in Switzerland and a former relationship manager regarding claims of forged bank statements over several years to divert more than $200m.
  • Conducting a large-scale investigation in a leading Swiss financial institution regarding retrocessions unduly charged by certain employees to global clients.

Lenz & Staehelin

Lenz & Staehelin

Testimonials

‘High professionalism, reliability, availability, speed.’

‘Pragmatical approach, sound experience of the regulator (Swiss and international), open-minded and client focus approach.’

‘Professional and human at the same time.’

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie has capabilities in matters relating to anti-bribery and corruption, trade compliance, sanctions and boycotts, customs, data privacy, financial, tax, regulatory conformance reviews and other regulatory enforcement. The group works in close cooperation with the international network, and is approached by national and foreign companies, banking institutions, individual shareholders and investors. The practice is jointly led by Christoph Kurth, known for his ‘profound expertise‘, and the ‘impressively efficientSimon Ntah.

Practice head(s):

Christoph Kurth; Simon Ntah

Testimonials

‘What makes the strength of Baker McKenzie is its international set-up. They are very commercial and always available. Very reliable partner.’

‘Long years of experience in managing big investigations; good understanding of the constraints of in-house legal & compliance staff.’

‘True professionals, highly skilled, trustworthy and most reliable.’

‘Christoph Kurth’s profound expertise, especially in compliance and regulatory matters, from his time as top in-house counsel of a major international bank, is hard to match in the Swiss market.’

‘Simon Ntah is an impressively efficient lawyer, with excellent legal, but also soft skills. He thinks out of the box and provides concrete and business-oriented solutions to his clients.’

‘I have the pleasure to work with Christoph Kurth. He is extremely knowledgeable with extended practical experience with handling proceedings with foreign authorities, with particular focus on US authorities. Very well connected with the relevant authorities in Switzerland which is extremely helpful. He is very pragmatic and solution-oriented.’

‘Christoph Kurth is a partner with great in-depth experience.’

‘Simon Ntah is an excellent partner to deal with, always available and has great insights into the various complex legal issues in Switzerland.’

Key clients

Lonza AG

Biogen

Lockheed Martin

Niederer Kraft Frey AG

Niederer Kraft Frey AG ‘convinces by its responsiveness and its superb quality’ in investigation and white-collar crime matters. The practice shoulders a particularly busy caseload in the banking sector, but is increasingly active in the insurance, medical, fashion, energy and automobile sectors. Clients include Swiss and international companies as well as individuals. The practice is headed by ‘strategic mastermindJuerg Bloch and financial industry specialist Philipp Candreia. Lukas Beeler and Daniel Eisele add dispute resolution expertise to the team.

Practice head(s):

Juerg Bloch; Philipp Candreia

Testimonials

‘We consider the NKF team to be outstanding. We appreciate the excellent legal skills, the good strategic advice, the efficiency, the responsiveness and the very good working relationship which are key components for such excellence. We can highly recommend NKF for both complex white-collar matters as well as important corporate internal investigation work.’

‘NKF does not only have great individual lawyers, but will put together a tailor-made team for each specific matter. NKF’s investigation team is superb and is able to handle also very large cross-border cases. NKF convinces by its responsiveness and its superb quality. The best team for internal investigations in Zurich.’

‘Optimal allocation of key experts. Excellent commitment and availability of partners and lawyers. Profound IT knowledge. Good team spirit. High level of commitment. Availability of all team members at all times. Substitution is excellently organised.’

‘The NKF team is highly diverse and takes a comprehensive approach to any problem they are faced with. The NKF team is 100% focused on their client’s needs. The team is extremely responsive and available 24/7. I have worked with many international law firms in my career, but the teams’ professionalism on this complex case has been truly outstanding!’

‘Juerg Bloch is a star lawyer in regulatory, compliance and investigation matters. He is extremely responsive and offers excellent quality work and a superb support team. He is a strategic mastermind, very responsive and has an excellent command of his client’s needs. Juerg is the lawyer you want to have next to you if it really counts.’

‘Juerg Bloch is a stand-out name at NKF and leads the investigations and compliance team. He has an extremely international approach and is a profound expert in matters which involve multiple jurisdictions. He could not have performed better. Juerg is a highly skilled lawyer and possesses enormous experience. He is definitely my go-to guy!’

Key clients

BMW AG

Black Diamond Equipment

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

BSI Bank

Chevron

Citibank

EMIX Trading AG

Fédération International de Football Association (FIFA)

Globegarden

HDI Global

LEONI Group

Prada Group

UBS Group

Credit Suisse

MLL Legal

MLL Legal is well positioned to advise on regulatory matters regarding pharmaceuticals, medical and chemical products, foods, as well as tobacco products and CBD. The team also assists its clients with developing and implementing compliance programmes. Simon Holzer and Michael Reinle lead the practice.

Practice head(s):

Michael Reinle; Simon Holzer

Wenger Vieli Ltd

The team at Wenger Vieli Ltd is regularly instructed by financial institutions and multinational companies, as well as their boards of directors and senior executives to advise on a wide range of white-collar crime, compliance, and regulatory enforcement matters. It has experience in handling cases in connection with FINMA and the Swiss Department of Finance. Michael Mráz is representing clients in criminal and regulatory proceedings and leads the practice together with counsel Daniel Weber who is noted for ‘going the extra mile to support and advise his clients in the best way possible.’ Counsel Martin Peyer joined from Bär & Karrer Ltd. in October 2020.

Practice head(s):

Michael Mráz; Daniel Weber

Other key lawyers:

Bignia Vieli; Martin Peyer

Testimonials

‘Daniel Weber is a leading figure in the Swiss internal investigations, white-collar crime and compliance market. He impresses with a deep understanding of the compliance risks associated with specific business models and his ability to protect his clients both in-and outside the courtroom. He is extremely hard-working and goes the extra mile to support and advise his clients in the best way possible, always thinking one step ahead. His dedication and commitment are second to none. Daniel has a very sharp analytical mind and is a strong team player with outstanding client handling skills.’

‘Always available, very responsive. Very reliable in general, also when dealing with sensitive issues. Very good knowledge of the industry.’

‘Wenger & Vieli delivers great quality advice in a timely manner and for a reasonable price. The firm has many relatively young professionals who belong to the best in their field.’

‘Daniel Weber perfectly knows the needs of corporate clients and is, therefore, able to deliver accordingly. He is always up to date on new developments in the compliance and investigations area.’

Key clients

Private Bank IHAG Switzerland

radicant AG

Basellandschaftliche Kantonalbank

neon

Inyova

Privatbank Bellerive

Danske Bank

Falcon Bank

BBVA (Switzerland)

Maerki Baumann & Co. AG

Work highlights

  • Provided regulatory advice to the Privatbank IHAG, Zurich and developed an efficient approach to complex AML compliance matters.
  • Advised several members of the executive management of a major Swiss bank in the course of a probe of the Swiss regulator FINMA.
  • Advised the shareholder of radicant AG in the licensing process as a bank vis-à-vis FINMA and related regulatory and compliance issues to become the first fully digital bank in Switzerland.