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Walkers' Global Asset Finance Group Acts on 6 Award Winning Deals

Walkers' global Asset Finance Group was honoured for 6 deals at the recent Airfinance Journal Awards and Airline Economics Awards, with multiple deals honoured across both awards. The market-leading group comprising Walkers' legal team and Walkers Professional Services had significant roles to play on deals honoured in the awards including:

Airfinance Journal Awards 2021
  • Overall Deal of the Year 
  • New Fund/Alternative Financing Platform Deal of the Year 
  • ABS Deal of the Year 
Airline Economics Aviation 100 Awards 2022
  • Debt Deal of the Year 
  • Asia-Pacific M&A Deal of the Year 
  • Asia-Pacific Freighter Deal of the Year 
  • Americas Capital Markets Deal of the Year 
Commenting on the recent award wins, Matt Hedigan, partner in Walkers' Irish office said, "We are proud to have our global team and our clients recognised in these important industry awards once again. 2021 was a busy year for the aviation industry as activity returned to pre-pandemic levels, and the awards are an endorsement of our market-leading legal and professional services advice across the globe."

Sarah Humpleby, partner in Walkers' Cayman Islands office commented, "Congratulations to all of our clients who were recognised in these awards. It is a privilege to work on such innovative deals for our clients across our global network."

Kristen Kwok, partner in Walkers' Hong Kong office also commented saying, "We are delighted to have been involved in these award winning deals. These transactions demonstrate the resilience of the industry as it recovers from the pandemic and we look forward to supporting our clients as they continue to grow."

Walkers' market leading asset finance team comprises more than 50 lawyers across ten offices. Together with our experienced fiduciary colleagues in Walkers Professional Services, Walkers can provide a comprehensive solution across all major aviation jurisdictions for the establishment and ongoing operation of asset finance platforms and SPVs.

Walkers' Guernsey Employment Law Team Boosted By Arrival of New Senior Counsel

Danielle Brouard has joined Walkers' Guernsey Employment Law Practice Group as a Senior Counsel, making the team one of the largest in the Island.

Danielle has 14 years' experience as an employment lawyer with international firm Baker McKenzie, and is the third employment law specialist in the team alongside Group Partner Sarah Ash and Senior Counsel Victoria Pratt.

Danielle, who was born and educated in Guernsey before moving to London, advises on all aspects of employment law, focusing in particular on discrimination and employment-related disputes.

Matt Sanders, the managing partner of Walkers' Guernsey office, said: "We are delighted that Danielle has joined us to further strengthen our leading employment law practice.

"Her long experience with one of the major employment law teams in London is directly relevant to the work that we're seeing in Guernsey as our employment law group led by Sarah Ash continues to develop and win market share."

Danielle's core practice involves drafting and negotiating employment documentation, assisting with HR processes and employee relations matters, advising on the enforceability of restrictive covenants, representing clients in employment tribunal litigation and advising on employment aspects of transactions.

Her arrival as part of Walkers' strategic growth in Guernsey follows the recruitment of two senior partners - private client specialist David Cooney, and funds lawyer Craig Cordle - who joined the firm this month from competitors.

First BVI Freezing Order Granted Against 'persons unknown' in Crypto Fraud Case

On 4 May 2022, the BVI Commercial Court handed down its judgment in ChainSwap v Persons Unknown.  This judgment marks the first time that the BVI court has granted a freezing order over assets held by persons unknown in relation to crypto fraud and follows similar decisions in the UK and other commonwealth countries where such relief is now commonly granted.  Given the nature of the respondents as 'persons unknown', the Court permitted ChainSwap to serve the respondents outside the jurisdiction by alternative methods.

In this case, ChainSwap, a BVI incorporated entity that provides a service that allows cryptocurrency tokens to be transferred between different blockchains, known as a cross-chain bridge, was the subject of two hacks in July 2021: the first hack allowed fraudsters to divert cryptocurrency from recipient wallets to private wallets that they controlled and the second hack allowed the fraudsters to effectively mint unlimited new tokens and redirect these to their private wallets.

The consequence of the hacks carried out against ChainSwap’s cross-chain bridge was that hackers were able to misappropriate assets from: (i) private users that had authorised their wallets to interact with the bridge (pursuant to the first hack); and (ii) projects issuing digital tokens that had used the bridge to offer cross-chain operability on their tokens (pursuant to the second hack).

The hackers then traded, exchanged or otherwise dissipated some of the stolen tokens.  One method used by the hackers to attempt to obfuscate the dissipation of the tokens was by using a mixer or 'tumbler' service.  The BVI Court was ultimately satisfied that ChainSwap had established a good arguable case that it had identified the destination wallet for the transactions which were mixed through the tumbler service.  A link between this wallet and an exchange in Croatia was then identified, which led to the court signing a letter of request addressed to the Croatian Courts for any available KYC in relation to the wallet.

The judgment noted that although ChainSwap did not seek a proprietary injunction, since it was not asserting a proprietary right in the digital assets, had it been able to establish an arguable case that the stolen tokens were its property then that is a form of relief which this Court would have been able to grant (following its own findings in Philip Smith v Torque Group Holdings Ltd that cryptocurrencies are a form of property).

This decision builds on the BVI's mature and pragmatic approach to crypto disputes and demonstrates the Court's willingness to assist those who may have been the victim of fraud.

Walkers Sr. Counsel Joins Leading Professional Services Team as Director of Legal

Walkers and Walkers Professional Services (WPS) are pleased to announce that Senior Counsel, Andrew Gibson, has been appointed to the role of Director of Legal at WPS.

WPS works in tandem with Walkers law firm to deliver integrated, best-in-class legal and professional services to clients across global financial centres. The appointment will enhance legal and risk operations given the increasingly complex and expanding regulatory landscape facing all corporate service providers. It also reflects the continued growth of WPS, which recently launched a series of new service lines and opened a new office in the British Virgin Islands as part of its client focused approach to providing high-quality corporate, corporate governance, regulatory compliance and fiduciary services.

Andrew brings a wealth of experience to his new role as Director of Legal, WPS, where he will lead a team responsible for navigating the constantly evolving regulatory landscape. He will assess and advise on legal, competitive, operational and technological risks while ensuring continued adherence to all regulatory compliance requirements.

Prior to joining WPS, Andrew was Senior Counsel in Walkers' Insolvency & Dispute Resolution group, where he practiced for nine years in commercial litigation and alternative dispute resolution, with a focus on fraud and high value asset recovery. Andrew is an arbitration specialist and an accredited commercial mediator, and was recently recognised as a rising star in leading legal directory, the Legal 500.

Andrew's career with Walkers commenced in 2013 when he joined the Cayman Islands office as an Associate in the Insolvency and Dispute Resolution group. Prior to that, Andrew worked in the Litigation practice of a prominent firm in Dubai.

Cayman Islands Managing Partner, Tim Buckley, stated: "Risk management is an intrinsic part of all that we do at Walkers and WPS. Andrew's abilities and skillset will add to our in-house legal and risk management function, while further strengthening the team at WPS and its outstanding reputation in the market."

Andrew commented: "I am delighted to be joining the dynamic team at WPS and look forward to collaborating to advance our legal and risk capabilities within the complex regulatory environment. The experience I have gained working offshore and with Walkers' acclaimed dispute resolution practice is second to none and has prepared me well for this challenging new role."

Steven Manning, WPS' CEO, remarked: "WPS continues to invest heavily in its people, technology and focus on client service, to accommodate the increasing demands of modern business. This role will 'future proof' our operations from a legal and risk perspective and we are delighted to welcome Andrew to the team."

Creditflux's CLO Symposium 2022

Walkers is pleased to be an exhibitor at Creditflux's CLO Symposium in London on 10 May 2022. The CLO Symposium connects CLO investors with arrangers, managers and advisors in global structured finance to help them deploy capital and achieve investment goals. The symposium aims to provide an outlook on the major trends in both the US and European CLO market, looking at hot topics in primary and secondary opportunities.

To learn more about this event or to register, click here.

Please get in touch with any of the contacts listed on this page to arrange a meeting.

Our Finance & Capital Markets Group is a multi-award winning team and has one of the largest dedicated CLO teams in Ireland. We pride ourselves on providing high quality, responsive and dependable service and we are grateful to have been recognised by our clients in Creditflux’s CLO Census as the top CLO service provider (2021) for the fourth year in a row.

Global Managing Partner Ingrid Pierce Elected to the Lex Mundi Board of Directors

Global Managing Partner Ingrid Pierce was elected to the Lex Mundi Board of Directors at the April 2022 Lex Mundi Annual Meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Lex Mundi is the world's leading network of independent law firms with 150+ member firms and more than 22,000 lawyers worldwide. Walkers is the exclusive Lex Mundi member firm for the Cayman Islands and this appointment will see Ingrid Pierce serving a four-year term as a member of the Board.

Commenting on her new appointment, Ingrid said: "I am delighted to have been recently elected to the Lex Mundi Board of Directors. During my term, I look forward to representing the strength of Lex Mundi as an unparalleled network of top-tier firms around the globe for handling complex issues with cross-border implications for clients."

Read more about Lex Mundi here: https://www.lexmundi.com