Robin Rathmell, Co-Chair of Kasowitz’s International Disputes team, is a renowned international litigator representing high-net-worth individuals and institutions in litigation involving allegations of fraud, money laundering and other forms of misconduct. Dual-qualified as an English barrister and U.S. lawyer, Rob formulates offensive and defensive global litigation strategies for international clients, including in relation to civil and criminal asset forfeiture, trusts, commercial and insolvency litigation, INTERPOL, and international sanctions regimes. He also has extensive experience handling parallel reputation management and crisis communications issues arising from these engagements.
Rob's engagements always span multiple jurisdictions, legal systems and asset-holding structures. Recently, Rob has acted as counsel in cases involving the world’s key offshore financial centers, as well as Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas. In addition to his regular interface with U.S. regulatory and intelligence agencies, Rob has extensive experience coordinating legal strategies in matters involving actions brought by non-U.S. authorities, requiring sensitive negotiations with government agencies across multiple jurisdictions.
Described in Chambers as “a fantastic lawyer” who is “great at solving clients’ problems” and “very astute in dealing with cross-border proceedings,” and in Legal 500 as a “go-to person whenever the most difficult knots need undoing” who is a “a master of several different areas,” Rob has led numerous high-profile matters spanning multiple jurisdictions, legal systems and asset-holding structures, involving all of the world’s key offshore financial centers. He is ranked Band 1 for Financial Crime: High Net Worth Individuals in the UK in Chambers’ High Net Worth Guide. Rob is recognized as a Leading Litigator in America by Lawdragon and ranked as a leading lawyer in The Legal 500, Spear’s 500, Legal Week’s Private Client Global Elite, Who’s Who Legal and Citywealth. His rankings are in diverse practice areas reflecting the breadth of his practice including white collar defense, international litigation, trusts litigation, reputation management and private client litigation.
Prior to joining Kasowitz, Rob was a partner at an international litigation firm. Before that, he practiced as a barrister at Serle Court in London. At Serle Court, he focused on offshore trusts disputes and international commercial litigation and appeared as an advocate in 15+ trials and 100+ contested hearings. He is a trust and estates practitioner of STEP and a Fellow of the International Compliance Association.
International Private Client
- Jho Low, an international businessman, in global legal matters arising out of the “1MDB” matter, which involve criminal charges and civil asset forfeiture proceedings brought by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), as well as additional legal action from authorities located in Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and various other countries, involving several billions of USD in controversy. Rob has resisted ongoing forfeiture and confiscation efforts for several years, and engaged in counter-offensive litigation in the Cayman Islands and New Zealand to secure more favorable positioning for the family’s assets.
- Several executives of Unaoil, a company operating in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa, in providing a strategy to release and protect assets in the U.S., the UK, the Cayman Islands and several other offshore jurisdictions in light of a foreign bribery investigation being conducted by the DOJ and UK authorities. In a major victory, Rob helped secure an order from a court in an offshore jurisdiction allowing for the replacement of the trustee at the request of the trust settlor and the distribution of once frozen funds.
- A prominent European businessperson in exploring offensive litigation strategies against adversaries conducting a derogatory public relations campaign by alleging the client’s involvement in a money laundering investigation being conducted by Spanish authorities, as well as deploying various reputation management efforts to aid the client’s factual and legal defenses.
- Private wealthy individuals in providing asset-related litigation advice in relation to an investigation being conducted by Brazilian authorities.
- A government source in successfully protecting highly sensitive, confidential information sought by Russian defendants in a civil money laundering and fraud lawsuit brought by the U.S. government.
Trust and Estates Litigation
- Certain New Zealand trusts in anticipating and developing strategies for preempting or defending against claims in numerous jurisdictions arising from allegations about the trusts’ settlor.
- Brazilian parties subject to seizure of their UK-based assets and in establishing an asset repatriation mechanism involving the UK, Jersey, Switzerland and Brazil.
Prior to joining Kasowitz:
International Private Client
- Two Russian businessmen in connection with an investigation by Russian authorities into the Russia-based financial institutions founded by our clients. The Russian Federation made numerous politically motivated legal assistance requests against our clients around the world in both onshore (e.g., the U.S.) and offshore (Mauritius and the Cook Islands) jurisdictions. Rob coordinated the global defense of those requests. Rob also acted as counsel in a civil case in the U.S., as well as implemented defensive strategies, including a “clean funds” analysis, with respect to cross-border asset forfeiture proceedings.
- An ultra-high-net-worth businessman in coordinating global counter-offensive litigation and reputation management strategies across the UK, Israel, the U.S., Switzerland and Brazil to combat substantial commercial litigation attacks and government investigations worth over $1.7 billion in claims.
- An individual in an investigation conducted by the U.S. DOJ and other authorities into alleged bribery with respect to vendor contracts awarded to a state-owned oil company and money laundering regarding the same, in which Rob performed a “clean funds” analysis in aid of anticipated forfeiture and confiscation efforts against his client.
Trust and Estates Litigation
- A Chinese family and an international trustee bank in a $300 million litigation in Jersey.
- The beneficiaries of several large family trusts in providing strategic advice in the context of divorce proceedings between the settlor of the trust and his wife, which involved active monitoring of multijurisdictional proceedings and strategic insertion of counter-offensive strategies to strengthen the clients’ position.
- A well-known, high-level former Brazilian political figure charged in the U.S. with fraud-related offenses in negotiating with the New York District Attorney’s Office concerning offshore trust structures related to the client’s business interests.
- A billionaire in a dispute over shares in British Virgin Islands companies concerning international energy interests.
International Judgment Enforcement & Offshore Asset Recovery
- Clients challenging the UK’s recognition of Russian insolvency on the grounds that the recognition was manifestly contrary to UK public policy. Rob obtained the first-of-its-kind award ordering the foreign liquidator to post substantial security for our clients’ costs, which significantly changed the litigation’s dynamics in the clients’ favor.
- A Fortune 50 company in implementing global insolvency and enforcement strategies against a company accused of funding and supporting a multibillion-dollar fraud.
- A European individual in defending against the enforcement of a foreign judgment entered in the New York Supreme Court for approximately $378 million in relation to allegations of both civil and criminal fraud.
- An energy and natural resources company in relation to global claim monetization efforts against perpetrators of technology theft worth in excess of $500 million.
- Chevron in the successful enforcement of an investment treaty arbitration award against the Republic of Ecuador for $100 million+ (with interest), culminating in Ecuador’s paying Chevron the entirety of the original award plus interest.