Albu Legal > Bucharest, Romania > Firm Profile
Albu Legal Offices
23 Roma Street, Sector 1, Bucharest, 011773
Entrance and correspondence at 27 Washington Street, Sector 1,
Albu Legal > The Legal 500 Rankings
Romania > White-collar crime Tier 1Albu Legal‘s highly-rated team of white-collar crime lawyers ‘are the real deal in their market, know what they are doing, they do it at the highest level of quality and inspire trust‘. Founding partner Gabriel Albu is ‘one of the best white-collar crime practitioners in the market - when you have him on your side, you are sure all the process will be solved in the most professional, methodical and efficient way possible'. Testament to the firm’s standing in the market is its relationship with several top Romanian companies, as well as international groups, including professional services and law firms. The team covers all corners of the market, including money laundering, tax fraud, corporate manslaughter, and cross-border investigations. Associates Ana Popescu, Mihai Lemnaru and Mihai Morar are also well-regarded by clients.
‘Albu Law team have a very good working relationship both with the professional environment and with the most reputed specialists in the expert areas relevant to their activity, from the academic environment, as well as the top notch consultancy firms. This approach helps them to deal with complex cases and to achieve excellent results. ‘
‘Working with Albu team in a very specific area of practice, respectively white collar crime practice, we have had significant contact, and we were impressed by their analytical skills and an eye for detail, along with a keen interest in finding the best strategy.’
‘This law firm provides solid criminal advice but with a strong commercial sense. Gabriel worked as a corporate lawyer for many years and therefore understands well the sensitivities and needs of corporate clients.’
‘THE premier white-collar criminal law practice in Romania. Knowledgeable and sophisticated, they understand business and they are great criminal defence lawyers.’
‘Gabriel Albu is the top white-collar criminal defence lawyer in Romania and it’s not at all close. He is extremely skilled and smooth, deep understanding of both law and business.’
‘I have worked closely with Gabriel Albu and he is very responsive and has a great understanding of the legal needs of our business. I appreciate that his approach is also business oriented and not limited to legal aspects, understanding the challenges of the industry we are acting in. Definitely, Gabriel is an expert in his field.’
‘Special praise for Gabriel Albu – an invaluable member of the team. It’s been a long time working with him and Gabriel exceeded our expectations at every step.’
‘Mihai Moraru: although young, he is serious and professional in the communication with clients, giving relevant and precise information.’
RCS & RDS/ Digi
- Assisting RCS & RDS/ Digi and its CEO in a pending criminal trial on charges of bribery and money laundering related to the acquisition of football TV rights.
- Assisting KazMunayGas/ Rompetrol in their criminal law related matters, such as work safety cases, various inquiries from authorities, and criminal law risk related analyses.
- Defending Intrarom in a pending multimillion Euro tax fraud case.
Albu Legal > Firm Profile
The firm: Albu Legal is the boutique law office launched on the market at the beginning of 2020 by attorney Gabriel Albu, one of the well-known pioneers of the white-collar crime niche in Romania. The law office is specialized in white-collar crime, criminal and administrative prevention, internal and anti-fraud investigations, human rights protection procedures, defense of the crime victims’ rights, as well as in any related litigation and non-contentious issues.
After a successful career in multinational law firms (Linklaters, CMS Cameron McKenna and Salans/Dentons), and in the context of the then on-going organization and staffing of the elite prosecution divisions within the Prosecution Office of the High Court of Cassation and Justice (PICCJ), notably The National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) and Directorate for Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), in 2005, founding attorney Gabriel Albu focused his practice on the white-collar crime practice, in what then meant “pioneering” of the more “institutionalized” and sophisticated white-collar crime niche, as opposed to the more classical practice of criminal defense, existing in the early 2000s and before. The team led by Gabriel Albu has extensive experience, dating from the beginning of this professional practice in the country – white-collar crime -, in what was in essence a contribution to the establishment of the “white-collar crime” practice area – at the sophistication level of today – on the Romanian legal market.
The highly-skilled team of attorneys, with over 40 years of professional experience, was involved in several landmark cases throughout the years, offering legal assistance and representation to high profile companies and individuals involved in criminal investigations and trials – over 1,000 satisfied clients and accounts for more than 1bn euros saved.
Significant experience in understanding the judicial system and sophisticated clientele: The substantial advantage of the team lies in the highest level of experience and professional training, understanding the system and sophisticated clientele. The team has been involved in numerous of the high-level cases processed in Romania, for high-end clientele, a majority of which comprise multinational companies. They assisted international investment funds, suppliers of industrial equipment, oil companies, pharmaceuticals and public services companies, international infrastructure companies, international management consultancy companies, food industry companies, banks, and insurance companies, telecommunication companies, and construction companies. This is in relation to offences relating to the business environment (eg embezzlement, fraud, abuse of position, professional misconduct, banking fraud, share market manipulation, insurance fraud, public procurement fraud, fraudulent bankruptcy, fraud against the financial interests of the EU, tax evasion, environmental offences and copyright infringements).
Albu Legal’s goal is to act so as to ensure proper understanding between all parties involved in such cases – judicial authorities, companies and entities involved, shareholders, management, other stakeholders, in-house and external corporate counsel, as well as the optimal outcome for its clients.
International experience : The office expands its international reach due to its exposure to high-level clientele and many cross-border matters, the team benefits from significant work experience in various types of international cooperation and litigation procedures. The lawyers provide assistance and representation in mutual legal assistance procedures, eg in relation to Switzerland, in connection with an oil and gas company investigation, as well as a judicial probe into corrupt practices in the defense industry; in relation to the USA, in connection with extradition procedures in a high-profile corruption case, as well as in relation to the UK, in connection with matters investigated by the Serious Fraud Office, including as local counsel in proceedings at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). We also have a significant ECHR practice, as well as strong collaborations with international law firms.
Effective cooperation with all important regulatory and control agencies: In addition to police, prosecution and criminal courts, the team is experienced in interacting with various regulatory bodies, such as the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and its Romanian counterpart, the National Anti-Fraud Department (DLAF); the European Court of Auditors; the Agency for National Fiscal Administration (ANAF); the Competition Council; the Romanian Anti-Money Laundering and Financial Intelligence Unit (ONPCSB); the Personal Data Protection Authority (ANSPDCP); the Authority for Citizenship (ANC).
From defense in criminal proceedings to prevention work
- Defense in criminal proceedings, both in pre-trial investigations, as well as before courts
- Defense of rights and legitimate interests of crime victims, both concerning criminal and civil/ pecuniary sides
- Internal investigations/forensic
- Criminal law and regulatory prevention
- Defense of fundamental rights and freedoms, both before local and international jurisdictions, including the European Court for Human Rights
Headquarters: 23 Roma Street, Sector 1, Bucharest, Romania, 011773
Entrance and correspondence: 27 Washington Street, Sector 1, Bucharest, Romania, 011793
|Founder||Gabriel Albuemail@example.com||+4031 425 4864|
|Mr Gabriel Albu||Founder||View Profile|
|Madalina Ciobica||Paralegal||View Profile|
|Catalin Constantinescu-Maruntel||Junior Associate||View Profile|
|Mr Mihai Lemnaru||Senior Associate||View Profile|
|Mr Mihai Morar||Associate||View Profile|
|Ana Popescu||Senior Associate||View Profile|
|Gheorghe-Codrut Preda||Associate||View Profile|
ALBU LEGAL is a boutique law firm, established beginning 2020, by Gabriel Albu, one of the pioneers of the White Collar Crime practice in Romania. Very early, ALBU LEGAL was recognized as a tier 2 law firm in the previous year’s rankings of The Legal 500, along with re-designation of Gabriel Albu as Leading Individual and Ana Popescu as Rising Star.
Over the years, ALBU LEGAL’s lawyers have been involved in a large number of the high-level criminal cases in Romania. They managed complex cases, at the highest level of representation, involving mainly accusations of tax evasion and fraud against the financial interests of the European Union, corruption, financial fraud, work related crimes, capital market and public procurement fraud.
The high-performing lawyers gained significant experience in various types of international cooperation and litigation procedures, handling a large number of cross-border matters. ALBU LEGAL lawyers provided assistance and representation in mutual legal assistance procedures, e.g., in relation to Switzerland, in connection with an oil and gas company investigation, as well as a judicial probe into corrupt practices in the defence industry; in relation to USA, in connection with extradition procedures in a high-profile corruption case, as well as FCPA and OFAC related matters, as well as in relation to UK, in connection with matters investigated by the Serious Fraud Office, as local counsel in proceedings at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID); in various EU jurisdictions regarding execution of European Investigation Orders (EIO). The team also has significant ECHR practice, as well as strong collaborations with major international law firms. Being exposed to high-level clients and sophisticated matters, they leverage their unique experience in structuring and executing challenging cases.
On both the domestic and international fronts, ALBU LEGAL’s lawyers have experience in relation to nearly all important regulatory and control agencies. In addition to police, prosecution and criminal courts, the team is experienced in interacting with various regulatory bodies, such as the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and its Romanian counterpart, the National Anti-Fraud Department (DLAF); the European Court of Auditors; the Agency for National Fiscal Administration (ANAF); the Competition Council; the Romanian Anti-Money Laundering and Financial Intelligence Unit (ONPCSB); the Personal Data Protection Authority (ANSPDCP); the Authority for Citizenship (ANC).
Gabriel Albu, Founder Attorney
Recognized as a leading law firm and earned a Tier 1 ranking, Albu Legal proved consistently top-notch professional capability. What is the success of the team you coordinate based on?
The designation of Albu Legal in Tier 1, as a market leader in the field of white-collar crime, by the prestigious top The Legal 500, is a great recognition for our team, a great honor and at the same time a great responsibility to remain consistent with our principles, to maintain and even exceed the best of standards.
It is an important honor for us, especially given that we only practice in the white-collar crime field, and this field is not rated as such in the important legal directories, except for The Legal 500.
Behind this success lies, first of all, responsibility and genuine care for our clients. These, combined with agility, vision and tactical acumen on the cases we manage. Passion, dedication, skill, a team with diverse legal backgrounds, many hours of hard work, of course, that are fully rewarded with the trust of our clients and partners.
And it was of great comfort to us to see, so soon after the formal establishment of our law firm, that our strive was rewarded both in substance, with the trust of our clients and amazing development of our client base, both domestic and international, and formally, by recognition, among others, by the most prestigious legal directory rating the white-collar crime practice.
Since the establishment of the firm, we have managed many important white-collar crime cases for high profile clients, in an integrated way, both from a defensive perspective and from the perspective of defending the rights of victims of crimes. Our philosophy was to put together complementary resources, with diverse backgrounds (criminal law, procedural-criminal law and in the extra-criminal branches that form the “substance” of the cases we manage, be it financial-fiscal, administrative law, civil service, public procurement, community law, European funds, civil, commercial, corporate, banking etc.), in order to better manage the criminal cases of increasingly sophisticated business law, from the perspective of all actors involved. All these resources help us to process all the cases involved in an integrated, thorough, multidisciplinary and very high professional standard, and through this philosophy, we have always addressed a sophisticated clientele.
Although we are a formally “fresh” firm on the Romanian legal market, the team has significant experience, dating back to the beginnings of this field of professional practice – white-collar crime – in the Romanian law market. The lawyers who now form Albu Legal are recognized in this very complex field of law and have been involved in a very important number of important profile cases in the last 20+ years, providing assistance especially for corporations (both multinational companies and domestic companies), as well as for important businessmen, dignitaries or high-ranking civil servants.
Experience is another key factor for success. We have been involved in high-profile cases of this nature, the most complex of their kind in our country. Since the establishment of the firm, we can say that we have been one of the very top options for high profile clients, especially in the corporate environment, being recognized as market leaders in the complex field of white-collar crime. Our practice has focused and continues to focus on cases of tax evasion, EU funding, money laundering, capital market offenses, public procurement, privatization, bank fraud, corruption, other professional offenses, embezzlement, fraud, usually investigated by the specialized units of the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice, namely the National Anti-Corruption Department (DNA) and the Department for Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT).
How do you see the local market evolution and the Romanian judicial system?
The local white-collar crime market is maturing, along and together with the judicial system itself. Not so long ago, in context of making the anti-corruption fight the top political priority in Romania, one may have said that this practice are was the undisputed star. But that was also the time of excessive practices.
The contemporary Romanian judicial system is obviously still rather „young”, at “history scale”. It is a system subject to many (re)organizations and pressures to “deliver” results, it is a severely underfunded and pretty much outdated in terms of its logistics. The criteria for entering the system, for promotion, its “deliverables”, are all topics that should be subject to serious public debate and decisions accordingly.
Such a system, young and subject to all kinds of pressures (political, public, the EU Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification, etc.), by definition, delivered (and could not do otherwise) both remarkable results, as well as some particularly questionable ones. It is precisely the quasi-general finding of this reality that should constitute an invitation to reflection for all those responsible for proceeding with the appropriate remedies.
The decrease of the pressure to deliver was a very good thing for the judicial system and was correspondently great news, in my view, for the white-collar crime practice. Nowadays, cases are handled at normal pace, without excessive use of custodial measures or asset freeze, and in a much more reasonable and professional way. This allows legal professionals to actually apply their skill in the process and makes the use of talented lawyers a thing worth having.
What do you do differently from your peers in the industry?
I believe that the lawyers of our firm are, put together, a unique combination of talents, involving both international and domestic experience, corporate, in-house and public sector, experience in dealing with sophisticated corporations, as well as individual clients, exposure to highest level of courts and specialized prosecution units, as well as the relevant regulatory agencies, such as the National Tax Agency, financial intelligence unit/ AML, Financial Supervision Authority etc.
Our lawyers have a long-standing practice in the field, at the highest level of cases. We are familiar with the complexities of the cases in this line of practice, in which we have been successfully active for a very long time. Also, through our professional practice and the background of our lawyers, we have the experience and understanding of both sophisticated phenomena specific to the corporate world, of cross-border/ international issues, and a very good understanding of the resources and mindset of the judiciary.
Logistics wise, we make it our priority to stay on top of optimizing our processes, IT systems, in terms of security and getting the most useful tools to be able to bring value for our clients, while controlling costs.
But I would say that what recommends us is the true dedication, creativity and client care, that we take the time and pay the attention to correctly and thoroughly understand the situation, its ramifications and its possible evolution, in order to offer clients the continuous guarantee that they are the beneficiaries of the best professional services.
We know very well that cases of this type have very high stakes, crucial: freedom, professional life, family life, business, image, social position and, sometimes, even health. On a “Richter scale” of issues that can affect a business or a person, involvement in a criminal or related process is close to the “seismic maximum”. And we act with utmost respect of this reality.
Within your sector, what do you think will be the biggest challenge for clients over the next 12 months?
The white-collar crime sector is closely linked to the economy and the dynamics of the business environment, but it is also strongly linked to the state’s (criminal) policy and to the “appetite” of the judiciary for one type or another of cases. We faced an unprecedented health crisis, coupled with the geopolitical situation in Ukraine, now large scale inflation and a marked slowdown in the global economy. I tend to believe that we will witness, in the mirror, probably even worse, some of the post-crisis situation of 2008-2009, when, both on the downwards and upwards trend of the economy, the recurrence of white-collar crime cases has increased.
In more particular terms, what we are seeing right now is a significant volume of cyber crime cases, in context of a huge part of the economic life and work moving online.
In this kind of effervescent environment, from so many perspectives, what we see important is increasing safety, from that of the IT systems, of the working environment, of accounting processes and many more. In a nutshell, prevention and devising and adapting internal processes and procedures. Including through the use of true white-collar crime lawyers, who are actually involved in true cases and have the actual practice.
We do want to contribute to the creation of a culture of criminal risk prevention in the business environment. But, obviously, in order to be fully effective in prevention, we must and will remain very active in the area of defense in criminal proceedings in order to be in a continuous contact with the way in which the judiciary shapes its practice.
Can you give me a practical example of how helped a client add value to the business?
We have been and are involved in some of the most of the high-profile cases of business crime. Beyond some of the well-known cases, due to their importance and/ or the profile of those involved, a large part of our caseload concerns important matters that do not reach the public’s attention.
As an example of those I public domain, the case known as ‘Rompetrol II’ is probably the most complex case of this period, just as, without much chance of error, we can say that the ‘Rompetrol I’ case was probably the most complex case of its time (2005 -2006).
After an investigation carried out for over 13 years and roughly 3.000 volumes worth of investigatory material, the case received at the end of 2019 a resolution for full dismissal of the charges and the lifting of freezing orders against assets worth 2 billion plus USD. This resolution was upheld in July 2020 by the Romanian High Court of Cassation and Justice.
I had the immense responsibility of coordinating the defense of the KazMunayGas/ Rompetrol companies in the case and this involved the approach of all the numerous chapters of accusations and, inherently, the treatment of this very wide subject. The topics of investigation, the sequence, the pace and the volume of the activities involved in the investigation involved both an exhaustive treatment and at the highest professional level of the case, as well as a very good coordination of the various activities.
The case concerned accusations of economic crime brought against the former shareholder and management of the Rompetrol group before KazMunayGas took over the business, but with implications to the current activity and title over the assets. The accusations concerned, in essence, alleged irregularities in the privatization procedures of Petromidia and Vega Refineries, irregularities regarding issuance of bonds convertible into shares, issues related to the listing of shares on the Bucharest Stock Exchange, as well as various corporate and commercial operations within the Rompetrol group of companies and between them and third parties.
The case stands out in the judicial landscape by its particularly high level of complexity, by its deep multidisciplinary nature (it deals, in substance, with issues of tax law, privatization, administrative law, capital market, international trade law, civil law, commercial and corporate law, M&A, financing, as well as a number of technical issues specific to the petroleum refining and distribution industry), through the multitude of technical issues, with a significant number of related scientific evidence, as well as an impressive amount of evidence, of thousands of volumes.
All of this required coordination of a significant team, both legal and technical, follow-up with a very steady pace of the investigation, addressing an immense volume of issues, documents and investigation acts.
- White-collar crime