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Sebastian is a leading commercial chancery junior specialising in commercial litigation.
He is frequently instructed on high-profile, complex business and commercial disputes with an international element. His cases often involve allegations of fraud or breach of fiduciary duties and asset tracing. He is also regularly instructed in relation to company and partnership disputes, claims against directors or amongst shareholders as well as claims relating to investment vehicles.
The cases with which Sebastian has been involved over the years have also enabled him to build up a detailed understanding of capital structures and different forms of business financing.
Notable cases include:
- Star Poland Limited (in liquidation) v Mr Felice and others: acting for the former directors of a Gibraltarian trust company brought by its liquidators in relation to various alleged breaches of duty;
- British Airways plc v Airways Pension Scheme Trustee (CA): acting for British Airways in a large and high-profile dispute concerning the application of the improper purposes doctrine to the exercise of discretionary powers;
- Michael Martin v Idverde Holdings Ltd: acting for the Defendant in proceedings concerning the construction of an SPA of a business with a large employee incentivisation scheme;
- advising a number of high-profile corporate entities in the energy sector on the terms of an SPA and the operation of a joint venture agreement with a Russian counterparty;
- The Silentnight Pension Scheme: acting on the high-profile claim brought by the Pensions Regulator for a Contribution Notice against various private equity owned corporate entities;
- Wolverhampton City Council v Mitie Property Services (UK) Ltd: acting on behalf of the Defendant in proceedings brought under the terms of commercial agreement for the provision of services for alleged unpaid pension contributions to the Local Government Pension Scheme;
- Madoff Securities International Ltd v Raven: acting on several pieces of litigation arising out of the massive international fraud perpetrated by Bernard Madoff through the largest ever Ponzi scheme in which investors lost almost $65bn. This has included acting on behalf of investment fund managers in a claim brought against them by individual investors for having invested and lost the entirety of the sums in fund in Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and on behalf of the private individual, Mrs Sonja Kohn, in defending claims worth US$19bn that were brought by the trustee in the US liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC;
- Ertan Sami v Taskin Hamit: acting for the Defendant in proceedings brought for a claim in unjust enrichment;
- acting for a high-profile individual in relation to his multi-million pound claim against his former hedge fund employer;
- BHS: acting for Sir Philip Green QC in relation to various aspects of the claims brought by the Pensions Regulator for a Financial Support Direction and a Contribution Notice in relation to the sale of BHS;
- advising the FCA on the status of funds held in a client account on an insolvency;
- In re MF Global: acting for a creditor in the MF Global administration, which was the first special administration;
- Generics (UK) Ltd v Yeda Research and Development Co Ltd: acting for the Claimant in proceedings to restrain former internal legal advisers with access to confidential information from acting for the other party to litigation;
- Maxfield v (i) HLB Kidsons and (ii) Baker Tilly: acting for an individual pursuing a multi-million pound negligence claim against accountants/tax advisers in relation to deficient tax advice and a failure to disclose “secret commission”;
- Langstone Leisure Ltd v Willers: acting for a company against its former managing director in a claim based on breaches of fiduciary duty and negligence in relation to the costs incurred by the company in funding litigation brought by the liquidator of a debtor company;
- Withers v Langbar International Ltd and Rybak: Advising on the proprietary interests in monies held in a solicitor’s client account in respect of unpaid legal fees and appearing in the High Court before Mr Justice Morgan (with Joanna Smith QC);
- Letsure Limited v Moneynotion Limited: Advising the defendant insurance broker in relation to alleged premiums payable to the claimant insurance provider and in relation to a counterclaim for damages for breach of the terms of an agency agreement;
- Langbar International Limited v Rybak: Advising on various FCA aspects that applied to the case concerning allegedly forged Certificates of Deposit of over US $600m;
- Pierse Developments Limited v Liberty Property Investment Limited: acting for a property investment company in relation to the construction of contracts for the development and sale of 28 properties;
- acting for a Singaporean building developer in relation to the purchase of a multi-million pound development;
- advising a party to a long-standing trading arrangement as to rights of set-off in relation to its trading debts and as to the effect of the assignment of those debts on the right of set-off;
- advising on the construction of various debt and other financial instruments;
- advising lenders in relation to potential liabilities under the consumer credit legislation;
- advising in professional liability proceedings involving a number of insurance companies potentially liable to cover the insured’s breaches of duty.
Sebastian’s broad commercial and chancery background, particularly in the fields of company, trusts, financial services and pensions law puts him in a good position to deal with the legal issues surrounding hedge funds, and other collective investment vehicles.
Sebastian is frequently instructed on cases that involve corporate entities within the financial services industry and persons regulated by the FCA.
Regulatory & Public Law
Sebastian does a significant amount of regulatory work for UK regulatory bodies, including advising the FCA and the Pensions Regulator. These cases often involve public law and related issues together with an appreciation of the strategic ways in which regulatory proceedings differ from ordinary commercial litigation.