In 2018 we saw that government agencies hear about the problems business has with law-enforcement and controlling agencies and react accordingly. Within the framework of judicial reform and as a result of systematic dialog, a number of positive changes have been adopted aimed at protecting business. Unfortunately, not all representatives of law-enforcement authorities and controlling agencies have changed their approaches to performance of investigations, although the new provisions with regard to conducting searches and access for lawyers have had a positive impact on the defense of interests in criminal proceedings. In a situation with our clients this can be particularly noticeable at the stages of consideration by the courts of the lawyer’s motions and claims, which the judges usually satisfy to the benefit of clients.

    It is noteworthy that there has been a considerable rise in the number of multi-jurisdiction investigations carried out by joint international investigative groups and there are several reasons for that. First, cooperation with Interpol has deepened with the aim of establishment of a number of limitations for an individual. Second, cases of search and arrest of foreign assets and investigation of cases of international financial fraud have become more frequent, seeing as the latter were stepped up after financial and banking monitoring in foreign jurisdictions, such as the UK, Switzerland and USA were tightened up. These kinds of investigations can be initiated by national and international law enforcement agencies, most frequently upon the charges of “legalization of property obtained in a criminal way”. Also, British law-enforcement agencies have initiated a number of cases with a demand to confiscate property, for which there is no evidence of its fair acquisition, against residents of Africa, South Asia, Russia and Eastern European countries. Third, the demand for exclusion of individuals from the foreign sanctions lists has grown.

    That is why, as our practice shows, comprehensive provision of legal assistance by a team of lawyers capable of fully covering all procedures at each stage, applying original methods of defense, continues to be in demand. For example, in a number of cases involving our clients, expert findings of international specialists (respected international law professors of the top universities of the Ivy League) have been very effective, as they fully refute accusations made by the prosecution team. Indeed, partnership with foreign human rights organizations and law firms of the relevant specialization continues to bring positive results.

    Unfortunately, the issue of providing guarantees of practice of law remains relevant. It was actively discussed by our Ukrainian and European colleagues during this period. The question of preserving attorney-client privilege and stopping illegal searches in law firms with attempts to gain access remains very pressing for the representatives of many countries. Taking into account the scale of violations, colleagues from many European countries (Ukraine, Poland, Greece, Spain, etc.) deliver speeches at sessions of the European Parliament, UN and other international organizations and hold special events to develop instruments for protecting the professional rights of lawyers.

Highly-specialized criminal defense boutique AVER LEX commands a formidable team that is focused on protection, particularly complex economic and politically-motivated cases. The firm provides defense in the most challenging cases with the participation of well-known politicians and businessmen, including if they have been harassed by government bodies. Acting in political prosecution is a strong side of the firm’s expertise. It also represents the interests of large corporate clients in various sectors of the economy. The team represents ex-president of Ukraine, Viktor ­Yanukovych, in an unprecedented large-scale case with numerous proceedings and episodes, where he is accused of state treason, running an aggressive war, acting to change the state borders of Ukraine, illegal seizure of state property and the resonant “Maidan case”. Another recent resonant case was representing Myroslav Prodan, former acting head of the State Fiscal Service, who is accused of misappropriating assets in especially large amounts. The firm is at the forefront of economic crime cases, acting for corporate clients accused of tax evasion, embezzlement, fraud, theft, forgery, bribery, abuse of authority, financial crime. This past year the firm enhanced its involvement in cross-border criminal investigations, benefiting from its established ties with independent law firms which are leaders in criminal practice in their own countries. The sizeable team has four dedicated partners on board. Vitaliy Serdyuk heads the defense counsel group in the most challenging cases. Olha Prosyanyuk is managing partner, who continually expands her portfolio with landmark representations and precedent-setting results. Igor Fedorenko handles high-stake WCC matters. Artem Drozdov took over leadership in a number of economic and corporate crime matters. Attorneys Bogdan Bilenko and Andriana Fozekosh are other important practitioners.

The strengthening of the criminal defense capacities of Ukrainian law firm EQUITY as a result of the arrival of partners — flagship luminary Yaroslav Zeikan and well-regarded Olexandr Lysak, significantly enhanced the firm’s market positions in terms of high-profile representations, expertise and client following. 2018 was a breakthrough year and included landmark representations of officials from the government sector and business leaders. Among the most resonant public cases was the case of the Agricultural Holding Havrylivski Kurchata, when the firm won the appeal against decisions on the detention of suspects in criminal proceedings on the facts of violation of environmental safety rules and establishment of a criminal organization. The team represented the interests of the officials of the state-run Deposit Guarantee Fund in criminal proceedings on appropriation of funds in especially large amounts by the owners of All-Ukrainian Development Bank. The firm has added to its caseload sensitive cases of political figures investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine. For example, the team acted as a defense counsel of Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan. The practice team works on criminal defense under the leadership of senior partner Viktor Barsuk, and direct involvement of other partners Taras Poshyvanyuk, Olexandr ­Lysak, Yaroslav Zeikan and Vyacheslav Krahlevych.

Solodko & Partners is a well-known criminal defense boutique firm with a particular focus on crimes by politicians, government and business officials. The firm also represents corporate clients. The firm recently provided legal aid to Pavlo Hrechkivsky, a member of the Supreme Council of Justice, and continues defending of former MP Oleksandr Yefremov, who was faction leader of the Party of Regions in the Ukrainian Parliament. Evgeniy Solodko, senior partner, regularly handles challenging representations. Zlata Simonenko is another key practitioner in the firm.

VB PARTNERS is a boutique firm that specializes deeply in white-collar crime. The team is known for its vast experience of representing shareholders and senior management of banks, which were withdrawn from the market, in the course of criminal proceedings, including those on the facts of asset misappropriation, abuse of office and money laundering, and other financial crimes. The firm has a well-established dispute resolution practice that is strengthened by its criminal defense team. Furthermore, the team represents the interests of victims of corporate fraud and unscrupulous counterparties. In 2018 the team added state officials and political figures to its client profile. The team increased its involvement in international criminal law cases, searches, removal from Interpol search, extradition and representation at the Commission for the Control of Files. This past year the team acted in a number of criminal cases against the officials of a firm’s clients suspected of tax evasion and forgery. The team’s work highlights include representing the interests of top managers and shareholders of Delta Bank in criminal cases, which are investigated by the anti-corruption authorities of Ukraine in respect of the misappropriation of funds in the amount of USD 1.5 billion in collusion with officials of the National Bank of Ukraine. Partners Denys Bugay and Oleksandr Lukianenko are in charge of the practice.

Asters has strengthened its positions in white-collar crime practice after its merger with EPAP Ukraine from October 2018. The sizeable practice has one of the largest specialized criminal law teams in Ukraine, which also includes anti-corruption compliance group. The firm has the advantage of cooperation within the Lex Mundi network and regularly handles cases with cross-jurisdictional elements. The practice team possesses focused experience of representing high-profile individuals and major companies in domestic and international criminal investigations and internal inquiries. This past year the team represented clients in the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU). The recent track record in connection with state prosecutions and criminal enforcement matters included cases on alleged embezzlement of funds, forgery, money laundering, abuse of power, large scale tax evasion. The team also acts in cases involving shareholder disputes and corporate raiding. Public clients take in Allmed Group, a Former Deputy CEO of a major sate-owned company and a former deputy minister of Ukraine. Partner Sergiy Grebenyuk, a renowned criminal attorney on the Ukrainian market, is noted for being extremely active in sophisticated cases.

The well-diversified criminal practice at Ario Law Firm includes defense in cases related to tax evasion and bankruptcy proceedings, as well as extradition matters, abuse of power, fraud, embezzlement of public funds. The team is known for accompanying a number of resonant, politically-motivated prosecutions. The firm representated Kazakhstan journalist and opposition activist Zhanara Akhmetova. The team also defends investors, victims of fraudulent actions by a residential construction company. The firm handles the defense of clients in accusation of improper advantage. The practice is managed by partner Yevhen Hrushovets, endorsed for his busy practice over this past year.

Arzinger’s white-collar crime team is a point of choice for Ukrainian branches of firm’s international clients and a bench of companies with foreign investments from different economic sectors, as well as top-management and private clients. The firm continues to demonstrate diverse practice, and includes cases related to extortion and misappropriation of property, fraud, theft, embezzlement, tax evasion. In particular, the team is involved in cases preventing illegal takeovers of its clients. Partner Kateryna Gupalo heads the WCC practice, and also deals with cross-border cases, represents her clients before international investigative authorities, including Interpol.

The core focus of multi-office Barristers attorneys at law is criminal defense with an explicit focus on political leaders, state officials, judges and businessmen. Among the resonant representation are cases involving Boryslav Rozenblat, Genadiy ­Korban, Nadiya Savchenko, ­Vyacheslav Kobalev. The firm has a raft of corporate clients facing criminal investigations. The firm represents Yandex Ukraine in court on accusations of conspiracy with feelers and exposed threat to territorial integrity and immunity of Ukraine through tapping into telecom networks. The sizeable team includes practical criminal defense attorneys Kostiantyn Hloba, Oleksiy Shevchuk, Andrii Levkovets, Denys Ponomarenko, Illia Novikov, Oleksandr Shadrin, Iryna Kuzina.

Ukrainian law firm ESQUIRES renders business protection from criminal legal risks in economic activity and comprehensive protection from criminal prosecution. The firm often represents its corporate clients as victims of economic crime and initiates subsequent criminal proceedings. The recent experience also encompasses protecting the interests of a large logistics center in Ukraine for a group of goods requiring a special temperature storage regime during a raiding attack and seizure of equipment; initiation and support of a pre-trial investigation of criminal proceedings aimed at protecting a client from unlawful disposal of immovable property belonging to him in Kyiv. Opanas Karlin is the partner responsible.

During the last 12 months GOLAW protected dozens of clients at all stages of criminal proceedings; provided legal support to the negotiation process on the return of retained assets and documentation; represented the interests of companies before law-enforcement agencies; organises the process of determining sums of financial damages caused by criminal punishable actions. The recent caseload of the practice team includes sophisticated international fraud cases, asset embezzlement, improper advantage, protection against raiding with parallel criminal proceedings. The team is supported by the firm’s huge expertise in compliance and corporate investigations. The head of criminal law and WCC defense practice Igor Glushko was promoted to partner in October 2018. Partner Angelika Moisieieva is recognized as a highly-focused practitioner.

Ilyashev & Partners, one the market’s leading Ukrainian firms in dispute resolution, has a comprehensive offering for clients seeking representation in criminal proceedings. The firm possesses experience of conducting independent financial investigations, in particular, crimes committed by unscrupulous client management bodies. Recent significant projects of note include supporting international the criminal prosecution and extradition of former top managers of BTA Bank (Kazakhstan), as well as supporting criminal cases in Ukraine against former senior managers of BTA Bank. The firm also protects the interests of officials of National Credit Bank in criminal proceedings; represents ROSHEN in criminal proceedings opened as a result of the destruction of the corporation’s property after an arson attack by the FEMEN organization’s scenery activist near shops of the ROSHEN brand in Vinnytsia and Kyiv; protects the interests of the group of companies Rostok Holding, its beneficiary and officials within the framework of criminal proceedings on fraud charges. The team is supervised by two partners, Mikhail Ilyashev and Roman Marchenko.

Alongside strengthened positions in dispute resolution and separate corporate security practice on board, Sayenko ­Kharenko commands a sizeable white-collar crime defense team. The firm represents its solid clientele of multinational corporations, boards of directors and corporate executives on high-profile white collar criminal defense matters, in particular fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, corruption, malfeasance, embezzlement. Most recently the firm protected the interests of a Fortune 500 company in criminal proceedings related to a pre-trial investigation carried out by the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine against some of the client’s contractors; advised Porsche Ukraine Group companies on business security issues. Forensic issues are another strong focus. Recent mandates also demonstrated the firm’s growing expertise in cross-border investigations. The WCC practice is led by two partners — Sergey Pogrebnoy and Sergiy Smirnov (promoted in July 2018). Igor Voronov and Volodymyr Adonin are also key practice team members.

Kharkiv-based Shkrebets & Partners renders services in a wide range of criminal proceedings related to WCC. The firm focuses on representing political figures, municipal and state officials as well as corporate clients and their officials. In 2018 the protection practice team was led by partner Oleksiy Meniv.

Sokolovskyi & Partners has been providing legal support in criminal proceedings for many years and is particularly known for tax evasion cases given the firm’s extremely well-versed tax litigation practice. In addition, the firm conducts corporate investigations to reveal fraud and embezzlement, improper advantage. Tetiana Lysovets, senior partner, leads the practice.

Ukrainian dispute resolution heavyweight Vasil Kisil & Partners utilizes criminal law mechanisms with its huge litigation scope. The team provides representation in the field of national criminal procedure and international human rights standards, representing top international and Ukrainian companies, their top managers and owners. Its recent caseload commands notable representation in cases of tax evasion, embezzlement of state budget funds, fraudulent actions and forgery, asset recovery. Dedicated partner Vitaliy Kasko has considerable experience of public service and private practice. Andriy Stelmashchuk, managing partner, is another significant figure in this practice.

DLA Piper’s Kyiv team represented companies, their shareholders, as well as individual corporate leaders in significant white-collar crime investigations and prosecutions involving allegations of fraud, tax evasion, corruption, financial offences. The team works alongside other offices and gained experience acting for blue chips in conducting comprehensive internal investigations and defending clients before formal, adversarial government-led investigations initiated in Ukraine, abroad in several jurisdictions in parallel. Recent work examples include current representation of a professional services company in alleged professional misconduct involving several jurisdictions and representation of a global pharmaceuticals company in criminal proceedings regarding abuse of authority by State Enforcement Service officials in Ukraine. Partner Olga Vorozhbyt heads the litigation and regulatory practice.

The priority focus of EUCON Legal Group is representation in criminal proceedings related to crimes in the sphere of official and economic activities, most often related to violation of tax and customs legislation. The firm represents clients in tax evasion cases, and also acts on cases evolving professional negligence, forgery, misappropriation and abuse of authority. Notably, the team has experience of providing legal assistance to victims in criminal proceedings. In particular, last year the firm provided legal aid to victims in criminal proceedings for violation of traffic safety rules, resulting in the death of several persons. The main practitioners are Yarolav Romanchuk, managing partner, and Yevhen Petrenko, partner.

Gramatskiy & Partners represents corporate entities during searches and investigative actions, interrogations, answering inquiries of investigative authorities. The firm has two units: business protection led by Oleksandr Koval and criminal defense headed by Mykola Voitovich. Most instructions were devoted precisely to the criminal law protection of clients’ officials and employees in various economic criminal proceedings. The firm is often enlisted for representation in the course of financial investigations carried out by tax authorities.

The white-collar crime practice of INTEGRITES is centered to complex collaboration alongside its well-versed dispute resolution team. The team is present in criminal proceedings that often arose from sophisticated corporate and commercial cases as well as bankruptcy proceedings. The team has a significant track record of counsel work for Ukrainian senior managers and state officials. This past year the criminal defense team acted on behalf of clients in cases on misappropriation, alienation, fraudulent behavior, embezzlements, tax evasion, alleged undue benefits. Volodymyr Rudnychenko led the practice at the firm1.

The Kyiv office of Kinstellar defends Ukrainian high net worth individuals and corporate clients in economic and financial crime cases in Ukraine and abroad. The team’s focus is bribery, fraud, money laundering, theft cases. The team advises Stockman Interhold S.A. a former investor of a second largest shopping mall in Kyiv — Sky Mall in connection with multiple criminal proceedings for alleged misappropriation of the main asset of a joint business, namely this shopping mall. The firm also represents a Ukrainian high net worth individual in proceedings regarding fraudulent actions and conspiracy committed by a group of individuals, including market competitors aimed at driving out a client’s former business from the market. The firm has a strong compliance offering and a separate compliance, risk and sensitive investigations practice. Kostiantyn Likarchuk, office managing partner and the head of the dispute resolution practice firm-wide, leads the practice.

Juscutum Law Firm is focused, inter alia, on economic crimes. In 2018 the firm defended officials during the investigation by the National Police; represented clients in proceedings initiated by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine. The firm has highly specialized teams. Partner Dmytro Onuchenko leads the business security practice, supported by Kseniia Prokonova, partner of the conflict management practice. The firm is known for supporting clients during searches by law-enforcement agencies.

KM Partners, prominent in taxation, have profound experience of defense of clients in сriminal proceedings on tax evasion. Particular interest in two pre-trial investigations merit successful challenging of a court resolution on provision of temporary access to belongings and documents of one of the clients upon a petition by an investigator, that is not a common practice and usually such resolutions are not subject to challenge. Partners Alexander Minin and Alexander Shemiatkin are key contacts.

Legal Alliance Company has a distinctive focus on pharmaceuticals and healthcare sector, providing representation and protection for the employees of its corporate clients within the framework of pre-trial criminal investigations and in courts of law. One highlight case was returning to a principal seized original documents of materials in a registration dossier for a medicinal product and leveling claims made by law-enforcement agencies about alleged violation of the rights protected by a patent for an invention. The team is led by partner Illya Kostin.

MITRAX, dynamic Ukrainian attorneys at law with offices in Kyiv, Odesa and Zaporizhzhya, develops its caseload of business protection and resistance of corporate raiding. In 2018 the team appealed against the arrest of bank accounts and clients’ property. Partner Dmytro Syrko, head of the business protection practice, handled cases. Managing partner Kyrylo Fesyk is the key contact.

Vdovychen & Partners, as led by Oleg Vdovychen, was active in various criminal issues. The spectrum of recent representations takes in fraud, theft, tax evasion, appealing against property arrests and property seizure. One current significant case is protecting the interests of bank officials in criminal proceedings related to the theft of funds. The firm regularly renders legal aid during searches and interrogations.

Dynasty Law Firm criminal law practice, as led by Vyacheslav Kokhlyakov and Antonina Selivanova, partners, supported corporate clients in criminal proceedings related to economic activities, including tax evasion. The team acts to issue appeals against the arrest of assets and bank accounts within criminal proceedings.

The white-collar crime practice run by Jurvneshservice focuses on administrative and criminal cases relating to corruption offences, property crimes, and economic and service offences. Its recent track record includes representation of interests of individuals in cases on accusation of corruption, financial control, economic offenses, blackmail, declaration of false information, etc. New partner Natalia Vdovychenko is the core practitioner.

Law Offices of OMP provide legal aid to its corporate clients in criminal proceedings in pre-trial investigation and searches by Security Service of Ukraine and prosecutor’s office and in courts. Valeriy Bitsyuk and Igor Ogorodniychuk are lead partners.

In 2018 Ante Law Firm saw more incoming requests for defending clients and their officials in a handful of criminal proceedings. The team advised ticket sales agents regarding the sale of tickets from/to Crimea as such sale is subject to investigation by the Security Service of Ukraine. The firm has prominent airlines among its clients and renders them constant support on the increasing number of different requests from the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, the National Police and other authorities. Andriy Guck and Roman Storonskiy.

SDM Partners has experience in criminal law and corporate criminal defence. The latest case concerned a fraud case involving a former top manager. Partner Felix Aronovich is practice lead.

Odesa-based ANK Law Office has long-term experience of supporting clients across criminal investigations, including developing a strategy for a defendant under a criminal case, collecting evidence, legal assistance during interrogations and other investigation activities. Raisa Shitikova is the practice head.

Jurline, located in Odesa, is focused on supporting its corporate clients during searches, property seizure and freezing of bank accounts within criminal proceedings. The firm renders representation to leading enterprises in Southern Ukraine. Maxim Kapelist is practice head.

Kharkiv-based Krolevetskyi & Partners provides legal assistance to both individuals and officials of large state-owned production enterprises in criminal proceedings on accusation of misappropriation and abuse of power at the stage of pre-trial investigation and court proceedings; accompanies clients during investigative actions and other legal proceedings. Igor Tkachenko heads the practice.

Lviv-based Matviyiv and Partners is a litigation firm with experience in criminal defense, notably present in advising both the defense and prosecution. The team represented a public officer in a pre-trial investigation relating to charges of embezzlement. Serhiy Matviyiv, managing partner, is the core point of contact.

Sheverdin & Partners, a Kharkiv-based local law firm, is experienced in providing legal aid to individuals in criminal proceedings. The expertise in this practice encompasses extradition, abuse of authority and illegal trafficking.

Alekseev, Boyarchukov and Partners strengthened its white-collar crime practice after merging with the Stolychniy Advocate law firm. Partner Kostyantyn Rybachkovskiy leads the practice.