Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) Litigation Defense - Federal Lawyer
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Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) Litigation Defense

Our Lawyers Defend Sovereign Wealth Funds Against Private and Governmental Litigation in the U.S. and Abroad

Dr. Nick Oberheiden
Attorney Nick OberheidenSovereign Wealth Funds
Team Lead
envelope iconContact Nick

Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) can face litigation on multiple fronts. This includes litigation arising out of governmental investigations as well as litigation arising out of disputes with portfolio companies and other private entities. At Oberheiden P.C., we represent domestic and foreign SWFs in litigation in the U.S. and abroad, providing defense representation for cases filed with all state, federal, and international tribunals.

Experienced and Strategic Litigation Defense Counsel for Sovereign Wealth Funds

Just as sovereign wealth funds face multiple risks for litigation, litigation presents multiple risks as well. Whether forced to defend against allegations of statutory violations or breach-of-contract claims, SWFs can face substantial liability, injunctive relief, loss of statutory protections and privileges, and various other consequences. When targeted in criminal enforcement litigation (i.e., litigation alleging fraudulent mismanagement or criminal bribery), SWF managers and other individuals can face fines and prison time as well.

Regardless of the specific allegations involved, avoiding these consequences requires a strategic approach to litigation defense. At Oberheiden P.C., our lawyers bring relevant experience to the table. All of our senior lawyers are proven litigators, and we have a long record of success in both private and governmental litigation.

We Defend Sovereign Wealth Funds In All Types of Litigation

Our sovereign wealth fund litigation practice encompasses all types of litigation, with a primary focus on defending SWFs and their managers against civil and criminal allegations. This includes litigation involving general corporate, commercial, and compliance issues as well as issues that are unique to sovereign wealth funds:

Anti-Corruption and Anti-Bribery Litigation

We defend sovereign wealth funds, their managers, and other clients against civil and criminal allegations under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) routinely pursues litigation under the FCPA alleging violations of the statute’s anti-corruption and anti-bribery provisions, and these allegations can have either civil or criminal implications depending on the specific circumstances involved.

Contract Litigation

We also defend sovereign wealth funds in contract litigation involving portfolio companies, financial institutions, and other commercial parties. Sovereign wealth funds can face a broad range of allegations in contract litigation; and, due to their size and nature, they are often attractive targets for prospective plaintiffs. Our lawyers take a forceful and relentless approach to contract litigation defense—using discovery, counterclaims, and other litigation tools to our clients’ advantage as warranted.

Distressed Asset Litigation

Sovereign wealth funds will often find themselves in litigation related to distressed assets—including litigation arising out of SWFs’ efforts to offload these assets before being forced to endure liquidated losses. We handle distressed asset litigation both within and outside of the context of third-party bankruptcy proceedings.

Fraud Litigation

Due to their nature, sovereign wealth funds are also common targets of fraud allegations. We have seen lawsuits filed against SWFs involving allegations ranging from supposed promises to invest in start-up entertainment ventures to alleged failures to follow through with commitments to facilitate large-scale international trade development projects.

OFAC and CFIUS Litigation

Like other entities involved in global investing and international trade, sovereign wealth funds will occasionally find themselves facing OFAC and CFIUS litigation in the United States. Our lawyers have extensive experience handling matters involving these agencies—including defending clients in high-stakes litigation.

Regulatory Litigation

Beyond OFAC and CFIUS litigation, domestic and foreign sovereign wealth funds can find themselves facing various other types of regulatory litigation in the United States as well. With our lawyers’ extensive experience in this area—including prior experience as DOJ trial lawyers—we offer insightful, practical, and strategic representation focused on demonstrating our clients’ good-faith regulatory compliance efforts when possible, and mitigating our clients’ exposure when necessary.

Securities Litigation

Our lawyers represent sovereign wealth funds in all types of securities litigation. This includes litigation involving claims filed by employees and other individuals, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and other regulatory authorities. The U.S. securities law regime is exceedingly complex, and successfully defending against alleged statutory violations will often involve demonstrating that a particular provision of the law either applies or doesn’t apply to the circumstances in question.

Sovereign Immunity Litigation

In many types of litigation, asserting an SWF’s sovereign immunity will prove to be both an essential and highly efficient defense strategy. But, questions of whether sovereign immunity applies can lead to protracted litigation as well, and successfully asserting sovereign immunity requires skilled and knowledgeable defense counsel.

Other Civil and Criminal Claims

Along with the types of litigation listed above, we defend sovereign wealth funds in many other types of litigation as well. This includes (but is by no means limited to) litigation arising in connection with:

  • Buyouts, mergers, and acquisitions
  • Equity investments
  • Indemnity obligations
  • Infrastructure investments
  • Joint ventures
  • Public-private partnerships (PPPs)
  • Tax obligations
  • Venture capital investments

Put our highly experienced team on your side

Dr. Nick Oberheiden
Dr. Nick Oberheiden



Lynette S. Byrd
Lynette S. Byrd

Former DOJ Trial Attorney


Brian J. Kuester
Brian J. Kuester

Former U.S. Attorney

Amanda Marshall
Amanda Marshall

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

Joe Brown
Joe Brown

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

John W. Sellers
John W. Sellers

Former Senior DOJ Trial Attorney

Linda Julin McNamara
Linda Julin McNamara

Federal Appeals Attorney

Aaron L. Wiley
Aaron L. Wiley

Former DOJ attorney

Local Counsel

Roger Bach
Roger Bach

Former Special Agent (DOJ)

Chris Quick
Chris J. Quick

Former Special Agent (FBI & IRS-CI)

Michael S. Koslow
Michael S. Koslow

Former Supervisory Special Agent (DOD-OIG)

Ray Yuen
Ray Yuen

Former Supervisory Special Agent (FBI)

Why Choose Oberheiden P.C. for Sovereign Wealth Fund Litigation Defense?

Sovereign wealth funds need to engage experienced counsel for litigation defense. Here are some of the reasons why SWFs in the U.S. and abroad choose Oberheiden P.C.:

  • Our Lawyers’ Prior Experience as DOJ Trial Lawyers – With prior experience as DOJ trial lawyers, we understand federal enforcement litigation from the government’s perspective. Our defense team also includes former high-ranking agents with the DOD, DOJ, FBI, IRS, and other federal agencies who consult on our clients’ cases as needed.
  • Our Lawyers are Highly Experienced in High-Stakes Litigation – Together our lawyers have notable experience representing clients in high-stakes litigation. This includes experience at the federal level in the United States and in various jurisdictions around the world.
  • Our Focus on High-Stakes Federal and Cross-Border Matters – Unlike many other law firms, we focus our practice on high-stakes federal and cross-border matters. As a result of this focus, we are intimately familiar with the issues that tend to lead to litigation for sovereign wealth funds.
  • Our Strategic and Forward-Thinking Approach to Litigation – When representing SWFs in litigation, we take a strategic and forward-thinking approach designed to secure a specific, targeted outcome as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
  • Our Record of Success as Litigators – Ultimately, most of our litigation clients choose us because of our record of success in court. From securing favorable defense verdicts in private civil litigation to getting indictments dismissed in federal criminal cases, we have protected our clients’ interests at every stage of the process.

FAQs: Defending Sovereign Wealth Funds in Private and Governmental Litigation

How often do governmental investigations lead to litigation against sovereign wealth funds?


This question is difficult to answer. There are no relevant statistics, and the outcome of a governmental investigation is hugely dependent not only on the facts at hand, but also the sovereign wealth fund’s choice of defense counsel. With that said, there are several reported cases involving governmental litigation against SWFs; and, when facing investigations, SWF managers must acknowledge that litigation is a very real possibility.

When are sovereign wealth funds entitled to immunity in litigation?


The question of when sovereign wealth funds are entitled to immunity in litigation is one that remains largely unresolved. As sovereign wealth funds are a relatively new phenomenon, and as sovereign immunity doctrines vary greatly amongst the nations that have sovereign wealth funds, assessing an SWF’s right to immunity remains a challenging question that requires careful case-by-case analysis.

When can sovereign wealth funds force litigation claims into arbitration?


Forcing litigation claims into arbitration can be an effective defense strategy for sovereign wealth funds in many cases. Without comprehensive discovery and the inherent unpredictability of going before a jury, SFWs can often gain more control in arbitration—while having the plaintiff’s claims decided by an arbitrator who is well-versed in the governing legal doctrines. Whether a sovereign wealth fund can force a plaintiff’s claim into arbitration is also a matter that must be addressed case-by-case, as contract terms, state and federal laws, and international laws may all come into play.

What are the risks of litigation for sovereign wealth funds?


As is the case for all defendants, the risks of litigation for sovereign wealth funds depend on the specific allegations and facts involved. In private civil litigation, plaintiffs may claim tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, of dollars in damages. In governmental litigation, risks can range from civil monetary penalties (CMP) and injunctive relief to criminal fines and imprisonment.

How should sovereign wealth funds choose outside litigation defense counsel?


There are several important factors to consider when choosing outside counsel for a litigation matter. Most important, however, is relevant experience. There are several unique aspects to defending sovereign wealth funds in litigation, and it is imperative that SWFs choose defense counsel who can hit the ground running. Along with having relevant experience, an SWF’s chosen defense counsel should also have adequate personnel and resources to handle the SWF’s litigation efficiently, and the firm’s lawyers should be available on an as-needed basis.

Speak with a Sovereign Wealth Fund Defense Attorney at Oberheiden P.C.

If you would like more information about our firm’s litigation defense representation for sovereign wealth funds in the U.S. and abroad, we encourage you to contact us promptly. Call 888-680-1745 or inquire online to speak with a senior litigation attorney at Oberheiden P.C. today.

Why Clients Trust Oberheiden P.C.

  • 2,000+ Cases Won
  • Available Nights & Weekends
  • Experienced Trial Attorneys
  • Former Department of Justice Trial Attorney
  • Former Federal Prosecutors, U.S. Attorney’s Office
  • Former Agents from FBI, OIG, DEA
  • Serving Clients Nationwide
Email Us 888-680-1745
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