Fraud / Asset Tracing

Our Fraud/Asset Tracing team regularly advises on domestic and international disputes arising from commercial fraud, asset misappropriation and business crime.

Our experience and expertise cover cases that involve:

  • Obtaining Mareva/freezing Injunctions
  • Appointment of Provisional Liquidators over corporate vehicles for fraud
  • Directors’ fraud and breach of fiduciary duties
  • Cybercrime, internet scams, email hacking and online identity theft
  • Investment scams and Ponzi schemes
  • Worldwide asset recovery exercises in conjunction with overseas law firms in various different offshore jurisdictions

Frequently asked questions

Asset tracing refers to the process of identifying and locating wrongfully obtained assets with a view to bringing a claim in respect of those assets or enforcing an existing judgment against those assets.

Traceable assets can be in the form of movable and immovable property, such as shares in companies, monies in bank accounts, vehicles, land and other valuable assets. Even where original assets have been dissipated or converted, tracing is possible to the extent that the value of the misappropriated assets is capable of being identified in the secondary assets.

1. Preliminary Investigation:

Investigations can range from public record searches, such as company registry searches, land registry searches and litigation searches (which can all be undertaken in-house), to engaging independent private investigators and seeking information from law enforcement and/or regulatory agencies.

2. Judicial procedures:

A range of disclosure orders can be sought against the wrongdoer, a recipient of the misappropriated assets and/or third parties (such as banks) either prior to or after the commencement of proceedings.

3. Assistance from foreign courts:

When the assets, the wrongdoers and/or the recipients of the misappropriated assets are not within the jurisdiction, the assistance of relevant foreign courts can often be sought to obtain information about the assets.

A Mareva injunction is an interim Court order (usually obtained prior to or at about the same time as the filing of a claim) prohibiting a defendant from removing, dealing with, or disposing off assets up to a specified value (usually the value of the applicant’s claim). The applicant is required to demonstrate that there are identifiable assets within the jurisdiction and that there is a real risk of dissipation of those assets. The application is generally made ex parte (i.e. without notifying the defendant), either by reason of urgency and/or to keep matters confidential.

Asset recovery is the process by which misappropriated assets (either in original form or corresponding value) are repatriated to their rightful owner by means of enforcement procedures, such as writ of fieri facias (for goods and chattels), garnishee proceedings (for monies in bank accounts), charging orders (for land / shares), and/or bankruptcy or winding-up proceedings.

“Extremely professional, concise, timely and creative.”
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Outstanding Firm, Dispute Resolution – Asialaw Profiles 2020

Winner, Firm of the Year – Hong Kong

Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific Awards 2020

Tier 1 Firm, Commercial and Transactions Hong Kong Domestic Firms

Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific 2019

A boutique practice that ‘provides great technical advice and is sensitive to commercial issues’.

Leading Firm, Dispute Resolution – Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2019

Winner, Dispute Resolution Firm of the Year

The Asian Legal Awards 2019

Interviewees highlight the team’s timeliness and the quality of its advice. “They always come back to us quickly. They provide clear advice and understand what we are talking about very quickly,” a client reports. Further sources concur by saying that the team is “always on time” and “gives strong advice.”

Leading Firm, Dispute Resolution – Chambers Asia Pacific 2019

All the solicitors I have worked with at Gall are extremely competent, hard-working and demonstrate the ability to ‘think outside of the box’ in solving problems and issues that arise during the course of the litigation.

Outstanding Firm, Dispute Resolution – Asialaw Profiles 2019

Tier 1 Firm, Commercial and Transactions Hong Kong Domestic Firms

Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific 2018

Local firm, well known and respected for its representation of clients in both Hong Kong and cross-border commercial disputes. Well placed to assist financial institutions, foreign governments and high net worth individuals, with expertise in a range of issues including insolvency, fraud and employment disputes. Experienced in securing major injunctions for high-profile clients.

Interviewees describe the team as “very responsive” and appreciate that it can handle matters “in a timely manner.”

Leading Firm, Dispute Resolution – Chambers Asia Pacific 2018

Practice head Nick Gall handles multi-jurisdictional fraud and international asset tracing litigation.

Tier 1 Leading Individual, Dispute Resolution – Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2018