During the last few years, a new, powerful tool has emerged to “trace” U.S. dollar wire transfers made from any person or entity in the world to any person or entity in the world.
We call the technique “Intermediary Bank Discovery” and it is particularly useful in domestic and international debt enforcement and fraud cases.
With certain exceptions that are not generally relevant, all U.S. Dollar wire transfers, made from any bank account in the world, sent to any bank account in the world, are “cleared” or “processed” by so-called intermediary banks in New York.
The trail need not end when funds are removed from the United States. Intermediary Bank Discovery is a lawful way around the red-tape associated with foreign discovery and investigation, not to mention foreign bank secrecy statutes.
Intermediary Bank Discovery effectively allows a creditor, trustee or other litigant to recreate the (USD) transactional and financial history of any person or entity in the world. The results are easy to use and navigate, and the records are often supplied in native electronic format (read: searchable).
When Intermediary Bank Discovery is properly executed: all of the target’s worldwide bank accounts that engaged in USD transactions are revealed, along with all of the “references” associated with all wire transfers, which references can often be revealing (or incriminating).
Moreover, all of the target’s counterparties and their (worldwide) bank accounts will be revealed (i.e., entities or persons sending to the target or receiving from the target USD wire transfers). This allows a creditor or trustee to fashion a “worldwide” potential garnishee list.
For good cause and upon proper application to a court, where necessaries, when suspicious transfers are noted—for example, because the counterparties are in fact insider persons or entities to whom assets of the target have been preferentially or fraudulently transferred—it is possible to “follow the money” to its final destination or hard asset.
Because of the records’ obvious relevance to most debt enforcement, claim security, judgment or arbitration award enforcement, receivership, insolvencies and bankruptcies, and fraud litigation, intermediary bank discovery is available for use in any such proceeding, regardless of whether the proceeding is based in the United States or abroad.
As a pioneer of Intermediary Bank Discovery in the civil context, by us Intermediary Bank Discovery requests have been successfully made pursuant to subpoena and/or court order on dozens of occasions in the past four years.
Given the wealth of experience in executing the process and navigating banking legal departments, we have never failed to obtain Intermediary Bank Discovery requests we deemed appropriate and lawful. Moreover, the United States Supreme Court has recently issued a decision implicitly approving the theoretical underpinnings of Intermediary Bank Discovery. See Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital, Ltd., 134 S.Ct. 2250 (2014).
In NML, the Supreme Court analyzed a more simplistic, single-bank wire transfer record request. The plaintiff expressly sought information relevant to the foreign debtor’s foreign assets. The Supreme Court, nevertheless, rejected sovereign debtor’s objection to the discovery. See also, http:// swissprivatewealth. ch/ us-supreme-court-gives-green-light- intermediary -bank-discovery/.
The most significant uses for Intermediary Bank Discovery Include:
- A Lawful Way Around Foreign Bank Secrecy Laws.
- Discover every one of a target’s bank accounts that originates or receives U.S. dollar wire transfers, worldwide.
- “Trace” Money from Transferee to Transferee.
- The technique allows for multiple rounds and follow-up, so it is possible to “follow” the money.
- Cost- and time-effective method for piecing together financial history
- Identify fraudulent and preferential transfers in the context of international insolvency.
- Develop evidence of commingling, under capitalization and fraud to pierce the corporate veil.
Recent Intermediary Bank Discovery Success Stories Include:
- Reveal worldwide counterparty and bank account list of Chinese major; discover intra-corporate or related-party transfers and secret shell entities to pierce the corporate veil of obtain mid-8-figure settlement on 8-figure claim.
- Reveal worldwide counterparty and bank account list of Chinese major, contributing to 8-figure settlement.
- Reveal counterparties and business contacts list/seize receivables and establish jurisdictional predicates.
- Dispute allegations/catch lies (many still do not realize these records can be obtained).
- Complete recovery against Venezuelan entity on mid-7-figure claim.
- Reveal and trace approximately $75 million in fraudulent transfers from defunct British Virgin Islands entities through numerous shell entities into hard assets seized by creditors—obtain confidential recovery.
- Obtain directed verdict after demonstrating sworn denials of United States contacts to be materially false.
- Reveal “perpetual insolvency” asset shifting schemes in complex, offshore shipping group structure, including $1B in suspect transfers, sufficient to obtain global freezing injunction.
- Trace $600M in assets hidden through 40+ shell entities in high profile divorce.
- Reveal alleged Greek bankruptcy fraud: receivables in excess of $200M were wrongfully diverted through offshore vehicles, and trace funds through to hard assets seized by creditors—trial on allegations upcoming.