Skip to main content


Defending against threats, managing the risks

The world’s biggest businesses trust us to defend them against serious commercial and reputational threats. Why? Because we have advised on some of the most politically sensitive, high-profile litigations, arbitrations and investigations in recent history.

Our team of leading attorneys strives to bring efficient and innovative solutions to our clients’ most pressing legal challenges.

As a critical component of the world’s premier international litigation practice, our US litigators routinely handle complex multijurisdictional and cross-border matters and are alert to the specific concerns and collateral consequences of disputes in non-US regions as well as with global regulators.

Our world-renowned, global Freshfields platform complements our knowledge of the US litigation system, and our nearly 800 litigators work with the entire Freshfields network. We have US-qualified litigators in the major economic centers that matter to your business, including London, Germany, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Client successes

Freshfields secured a $1.39bn award on behalf of Canadian gold mining company Crystallex International Corporation – one of the largest awards in ICSID’s history. The Tribunal awarded Crystallex damages of $1.202bn plus pre- and post-award interest due to Venezuela’s unfair and inequitable treatment and unlawful expropriation of Crystallex’s investment in the Las Cristinas mining project.  

We not only defeating entirely Sebastian’s US$8 billion counterclaim but also obtaining a judgment debt and costs award of over US$300 million ([2013] EWHC 3463 (Comm)).

These proceedings have since resulted in leading judgments on the English court’s jurisdiction to attach conditions to an appeal ([2014] EWCA Civ 1100) and in making one of the largest ever non-party costs orders ([2016] EWCA Civ 23).

The Bank was then granted a CPR Part 71 Order, entitling it to cross-examine Mr Vik about Sebastian’s means of paying the judgment debt. The Bank intends to apply for a suspended committal order against Mr Vik for giving untruthful evidence and failing to provide full disclosure of documents and information in that context. In March 2017, the High Court handed down an important new judgment ([2017] EWHC 459 (Comm)), finding that the “special circumstances” existed to grant DBAG permission to serve its application for committal by alternative means.

We have also been assisting the Bank in enforcing the judgment debt against specific assets of Sebastian both in this jurisdiction and abroad, including:

  • in Norway, in proceedings aimed at enforcing against all of the shares in a Norwegian company, which Mr Vik had first caused to be transferred from Sebastian to himself, and then to his father. The Oslo Enforcement, Bankruptcy and Probate Court handed down judgment in December 2016 dismissing Mr Vik’s father’s complaint, upholding an execution lien in the Bank’s favour over the shares and awarding the Bank all of its costs claimed; and
  • in England and Wales, by means of the Bank’s successful application, in February 2017, for the appointment of receivers by way of equitable execution over interests in certain private equity partnerships which Mr Vik had caused to be transferred from Sebastian to closely connected entities. This receivership appointment was recognised by the Guernsey Court in March 2017.

In January 2015, the High Court decided that Sotheby’s, representing by Freshfields, had won its battle against Lancelot William Thwaytes, the former owner of an alleged ‘Caravaggio’ painting, ‘The Cardsharps’.

Our team