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Kobre, Thompson & Knight, White & Case: Business of Law

Sean Casey, of litigation boutique Kobre & Kim LLP is representing Kareem Serageldin, the ex-global head of Credit Suisse Group AG’s CDO business who was arrested by London police as he was negotiating his surrender to U.S. authorities yesterday.

Serageldin, a U.S. citizen who lives in England, was charged in February with masterminding a scheme to fake collateralized debt obligations. He was taken into custody yesterday outside the U.S. consulate, a person with knowledge of the matter said. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because the arrest isn’t public.

Melissa Seitter, a spokeswoman for Kobre & Kim, said Casey had no comment.

Casey was the Deputy Chief of the Business and Securities Fraud Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, according to his firm biography. He also was Senior Counsel in the Division of Enforcement at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the bio.

Serageldin, who couldn’t be immediately reached for comment, may appear in court as early as today on a U.S. extradition request, one of the people said. Earlier this year when he was indicted in Manhattan federal court, Serageldin said through his lawyers that he was surprised by the charges since he had been cooperating with U.S. investigators for four years.

Jerika Richardson, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan, whose office is prosecuting the case, declined to comment. A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police in London declined to comment immediately on the arrest.

For more, click here.

Enea Board Says CEO Breached Standards With Law Firm Deal

Enea SA Chief Executive Officer Maciej Owczarek breached ethical standards while awarding a contract to law firm Kancelaria Adwokacka D. Uberman, according to documents published by the Polish state-owned utility.

Poland’s third-largest power producer paid 94,800 zloty ($29,442) to the Warsaw-based company owned by Dominika Uberman for legal services from December 2011 to March 2012, the documents showed. During this period, Owczarek had a “personal relationship” with Uberman, according to his statement to the supervisory board, which probed the contract after a request from the Treasury Ministry in April. The government holds a 51 percent stake in Poznan, western Poland-based Enea.

The results of the probe were included in the management’s letter to the Treasury Ministry dated Sept. 14 and published as a regulatory statement to the Warsaw Stock Exchange Sept.25. Enea shareholders will meet on Oct. 22 to discuss the letter and vote on changes to the supervisory board, the company said in a separate regulatory filing.

Magdalena Kobos, a spokeswoman for the Treasury Ministry, said by phone yesterday that it was up to the supervisory board to make further decisions on Owczarek after the probe.

Dagmara Prystacka, an Enea spokeswoman, declined to comment when contacted by phone yesterday. The management agreed to terminate the contract with Uberman’s law firm in March, according to the letter.

“There was no conflict of interest,” Uberman said in an e-mailed response to Bloomberg News questions yesterday. “The fact that I canceled the agreement myself as soon as the relationship became serious should be interpreted as proof of our responsibility and not as a reason for attacks.”

Firm News

Thompson & Knight Opens L.A. Office Led by Shelly Youree

Thompson & Knight LLP is opening a Los Angeles office, on Oct. 1, which will be led by partner Shelly A. Youree. A Crowell & Moring LLP litigator joins the Century City office as of counsel.

Youree will serve as relationship manager and represent clients in tax, executive compensation, employee benefits, and equity and incentive plans both within and outside of California. Her practice encompasses tax and ERISA issues involved in executive compensation and benefits issues in mergers and acquisitions; consulting, design, drafting, and implementation of executive and employee compensation and benefit arrangements, the firm said.

Bruce J. Zabarauskas joins the firm as counsel from Crowell & Moring, where he has represented institutional lenders, including national banks, special servicers, and investment banks, in commercial real estate foreclosure actions and Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. He also has experience, at both the trial and appellate levels, litigating corporate breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, defamation, and First Amendment issues.

“The opening of a California office and the addition of Bruce further strengthen our geographic reach, enhance the services we provide, and demonstrate our commitment to current and prospective clients located in or doing business in California,” says Emily A. Parker, managing partner at Thompson & Knight.

Thompson & Knight will provide a range of legal services to its clients including banking, corporate, mergers and acquisitions, oil and gas, real estate, labor and employment, trial, and health care law. The firm has approximately 330 attorneys with 11 offices in Texas, New York, California, Michigan, and in Mexico, Algeria, and Europe.


White & Case Adds Oracle and CODA Automotive Lawyers Global

White & Case LLP has expanded its mergers and acquisitions and capital markets capabilities with the addition of Eric Hwang, formerly of Oracle Corp., and Christopher Rose, formerly of CODA Automotive, as partners in the Silicon Valley office.

As director of corporate development at Oracle Corp., Hwang was involved in managing Oracle’s acquisitions, including its purchase of social media marketer Vitrue, project portfolio management vendor Skire, telecommunications software provider GoAhead Software and knowledge management vendor InQuira.

At electric-vehicle maker CODA, Rose served as senior vice president of corporate development, in addition to managing CODA’s legal, risk management, and environmental, health and safety departments

With the arrival of Hwang and Rose, White & Case has added 11 new partners this year to its global mergers and acquisitions practice. The firm has lawyers in 38 offices in 26 countries.

Jones Day Expands in London With Nabarro Employment Team

Jones Day hired former Nabarro LLP employment head Jules Quinn, and a team of associates, as a partner in London. She will join the firm on Nov. 5.

Quinn has experience advising on both non-contentious and contentious employment matters for financial institutions and corporations, with a particular emphasis on U.S. companies based in the U.K., the firm said.

The firm couldn’t provide further information on the number of associates joining Quinn.

In the last 18 months, Jones Day has hired 12 lateral partners in London. Five associates were promoted to the partnership in January. The firm has more than 2,400 lawyers in 35 offices worldwide.

Hogan Lovells Adds to Technology, Media and Telecoms Practice

Hogan Lovells LLP hired Trey Hanbury, former Director of Government Affairs for Sprint Nextel, as a partner in the technology, media and telecom practice in the Washington office.

During his time at Sprint Nextel, Hanbury was regulatory counsel in rulemaking proceedings, mergers and acquisitions, and cases, before the Federal Communications Commission, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the Department of Commerce, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, Congress, and federal courts.

Hogan Lovells has more than 2,300 lawyers in more than 40 offices worldwide.

Orrick Expands Emerging Companies Practice in New York

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP announced that David L. Concannon has joined the firm as a partner in its emerging companies group, in the New York office. Formerly with Andrews Kurth LLP, Concannon’s practice focuses on general corporate and securities work with an emphasis on capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, and venture capital transactions for technology companies.

Concannon advises on the formation and organization of startups, venture capital financings, public offerings of debt and equity securities, public and private mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, joint ventures and other corporate partnering arrangements.

Orrick represents more than 1,200 emerging companies worldwide, the firm said. The firm has more than 1,100 lawyers 25 offices in nine countries in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Paul Hastings LLP Hires Finance and Capital Markets Partner

Finance and capital markets lawyer Neil Hamilton is joining Paul Hastings LLP as a partner with the finance and investment management practices in London. Hamilton was previously a partner with Clifford Chance LLP, the firm said.

Hamilton focuses his practice on securitizations and structured finance. His work has a cross-border element, primarily involving the U.S., Germany, France and Spain, the firm said.

Paul Hastings has 19 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

K&L Gates Bolsters Intellectual Property Practice in Seattle

K&L Gates LLP has added Hugh H. Matsubayashi as a Seattle partner in the intellectual property procurement and portfolio management practice. Matsubayashi joins K&L Gates from NeuroVista Corporation, where he was Vice President of Legal Affairs and Intellectual Property, the firm said.

As a member of the executive management team and chief IP counsel at NeuroVista, Matsubayashi developed the company’s strategy to secure protection for its implantable neuromonitoring and seizure prediction devices, in addition to managing all of the company’s legal affairs, including its licensing efforts and venture and debt financings, the firm said.

K&L Gates has almost 2,000 lawyers in 41 offices in North America, Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East.


Ex-Goldman Programmer Sues for $2.4 Million in Legal Fees

Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. computer programmer Sergey Aleynikov, charged twice with stealing confidential trading code, sued the bank for payment of more than $2.4 million in legal fees.

Goldman Sachs should pay fees and expenses incurred during Aleynikov’s federal prosecution, which resulted in a conviction that was later overturned, his lawyers argued in court papers filed Sept. 25 in federal court in Newark, New Jersey.

Aleynikov, who is unemployed, relies on the charity of friends for shelter and doesn’t have the funds to fight the state case or pay his attorney Kevin Marino’s law firm an initial retainer of $500,000, Marino said in the complaint.

Aleynikov was freed from federal prison earlier this year after the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York reversed the 2010 conviction in federal court in Manhattan. He was subsequently charged by New York state prosecutors in Manhattan over the same matter.

Aleynikov is entitled to indemnification because of his previous employment as an officer of Goldman Sachs, according to the complaint. Aleynikov, a vice president in the bank’s Global Equities Division until June 30, 2009, was part of a team responsible for developing and improving source code related to high-frequency trading, according to the complaint.

Aleynikov pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The case is Aleynikov v. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., 12-cv-05994, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark).

For more, click here.

SEC Fraud Lawsuit Deadlines Draw Review From U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal that seeks to force the Securities and Exchange Commission to move more quickly in pressing fraud lawsuits.

The justices said Sept. 25 that they will hear arguments from two Gabelli Funds LLC officials seeking to block SEC claims that they improperly let a client engage in market timing, a practice of making frequent, short-term trades at the expense of other investors.

Marc J. Gabelli and Bruce Alpert contend that the SEC sued after the five-year window for seeking penalties had expired. A federal appeals court in New York said the suit could go forward because the window doesn’t open in fraud cases until the SEC has reason to know a violation has occurred.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s Lewis Liman is counsel of record for the petitioners. Dechert LLP’s Kathleen Massey is also counsel representing Alpert.

The case raises issues similar to those addressed by the Supreme Court in 2010, when it ruled that the two-year period for shareholder fraud suits doesn’t begin until investors have indications of intentional company wrongdoing. The new case concerns SEC enforcement actions, rather than private suits.

Gabelli and Alpert contend that, under the appeals court ruling, “the SEC would be able to bring an ancient claim on the mere allegation that it did not discover and could not have discovered the violation earlier.”

At the time of the alleged wrongdoing -- from 1999 to 2002 -- Gabelli was the portfolio manager for the Gabelli Global Growth Fund and Alpert was chief operating officer of Gabelli Funds. The SEC filed its complaint in 2008.

The SEC and the Obama administration urged the high court not to take up the case. They said the court has “repeatedly recognized” the so-called discovery rule in fraud cases.

The case is Gabelli v. SEC, 11-1274, U.S. Supreme Court (Washington).

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