The managing partner of Martin Kenney & Co Solicitors, BVI, Martin is an international fraud and asset recovery lawyer. His firm of 25 has been described by the UK’s Wired magazine as being among the “world’s sharpest fraudbusters”. Martin is a founding member of ICC FraudNet and winner of the 2014 ACFE Cressey Award, given in recognition of lifetime achievement combatting fraud. OffshoreAlert says he is probably one of the best-known lawyers of his type in the world.
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO GET INVOLVED IN INTERNATIONAL ASSET RECOVERY WORK?
Unlike most acquisitive crimes, fraud sees victims taking an active role in assisting the fraudster and being fundamental to their own downfall, leading to personal and professional embarrassment. Fraudsters tend to be entrepreneurial, clever and imaginative; it can be extremely challenging and therefore satisfying when you can right the wrong.
HOW HAVE YOU BUILT AND MAINTAINED A HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL PRACTICE IN THIS AREA?
Our area of expertise is quite narrow; we have built a small but experienced team of lawyers whose knowledge in this arena is unmatched elsewhere. We have an investigations unit comprising veteran police detectives. We offer clients a one-stop shop of investigative support and fraud and asset recovery litigation services.
WHAT CHALLENGES ARE CURRENTLY FACING PRACTITIONERS IN THE MARKET AT THE MOMENT?
Austerity has seen law enforcement losing staff, preventing them from offering the investigative services once provided. We can help fill that void. The main challenges are fiscal, supporting clients who are unable to fund litigation. We use third-party funding and will consider success fees to give the client a fighting chance.
HOW IMPORTANT IS CASE STRATEGY IN ASSET DETECTION AND RECOVERY?
We need to determine the likelihood of success. Our initial job is to explore litigation possibilities, and manage client expectations. We are not in the business of seeing victims throwing good money after bad.
WHICH REGIONS ARE OF PARTICULAR INTEREST TO PRACTITIONERS AT THE MOMENT?
In some ways we are a global law firm, membership of ICC FraudNet guarantees unrivalled reach and penetration. There is almost nowhere globally where we cannot consider assisting in an investigative or legal undertaking.
FORENSIC AND DIGITAL EXPERTS ARE PLAYING AN INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT ROLE IN PROCEEDINGS. HAS THEIR INVOLVEMENT IMPROVED THE EFFICIENCY AND SUCCESS OF THE PRACTICE?
Economic globalisation makes digital forensics an integral tool in our investigative strategy. We access teams of forensic experts who can tease apart the evidential threads that will sway a court in our client’s favour.
ASSET RECOVERY WORK IS, AND HAS BEEN FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS, AN INCREASINGLY INTERNATIONAL PRACTICE. DO RELATIONSHIPS AND ALLIANCES SUCH AS THE ICC FRAUDNET HELP IMPROVE SERVICE TO YOUR CLIENTS?
ICC FraudNet is an incredible network to access; with 77 specialist fraud lawyers in 66 countries we can deploy a rapid response team of expert lawyers 24/7, without any concern as to their competence. There is no other team that this capability.
TACKLING GRAND CORRUPTION SEEMS TO BE AT THE FOREFRONT OF POLITICAL CONSCIOUSNESS ON THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE RIGHT NOW. IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT IMPACTS WILL THIS HAVE ON THE FIELD AT LARGE?
Grand corruption is a crime against humanity, sucking the life blood out of the poor and lining the pockets of the rich and powerful. Private sector involvement in recovering sums lost to grand corruption is the next frontier, and the only solution I can see. We will happily represent governments seeking to repatriate assets lost to their people.