Sequor Law Shareholder Leyza Florin Blanco, and IWIRC International’s Immediate Past Chair was this month’s IWIRC Florida’s member spotlight. Did you know Leyza started her career as a public school teacher?
How helpful is it for Sequor Law to have an in-house investigator?
In-house investigation capabilities are very beneficial to Sequor Law and its clients for multiple reasons:
- We are able to obtain information more readily than other firms that have to employ investigators to conduct public record searches;
- We are able to obtain records in multiple offshore jurisdictions known to be used to conceal the beneficial owners of assets;
- We are able to not only identify assets but also identify any legal impediments to seizing those assets and incorporating this information to develop our legal strategy;
- We are able to identify connections that may be overlooked by other firms given that we have both the legal and investigative capabilities in-house and are in constant communication regarding our cases.
What is your role when it comes to domestic and international asset tracing and recovery investigations?
At Sequor Law, I serve a dual role as an attorney and an investigator. Thus, I not only oversee and/or conduct asset tracing and recovery investigations, I also litigate judgment and arbitral award enforcement cases that require asset tracing and recovery. In my capacity as an investigator, I conduct certain investigations in-house, as well as coordinate and manage investigations conducted by third-party firms we may use to obtain information in both domestic and foreign jurisdictions.
Tell us about the types of cases that require the work of a Director of Investigations.
I think all cases require some level of investigation. Nonetheless, the cases within Sequor Law’s expertise, fraud, corruption, judgment and arbitral award enforcement, foreign bankruptcy domestications, etc., in particular, require a higher level of investigation to identify connections that may lead to recoverable assets or value.
What skills do you draw upon when it comes to asset tracing and recovery cases?
My inquisitive nature allows me to continue digging for links. I am also detail-oriented and keep notes throughout the case, which allows me to make connections between individuals and/or entities as we continuously obtain more information.
What has been the most challenging case you’ve worked on at Sequor Law?
Every case in our practice has its challenges given the nature of what we do. Fraudsters continue to employ methods to obfuscate their ownership of assets across multiple corporate layers in various offshore jurisdictions. Notwithstanding, I have worked on a case where the debtor lived an expensive lifestyle with no discernable income. He operated completely outside of the conventional banking system and changed nominees often, making it difficult to identify assets.
What is the most rewarding part about your job?
At the end of the day, my motivation for becoming an attorney was being able to assist people in difficult times. Providing clients with a solution is the most rewarding part of my job.
How has Sequor Law allowed you to continue to advance in your career?
As previously indicated, my dual role allows me to not only advance as an investigator, but also as an attorney as I continue to use both skill sets on a daily basis.
What inspired you to pursue this path in your law career?
I consider it more divine intervention than a conscious decision on my part. I stumbled upon this opportunity after working as an investigator for several years and discovered that the practice area fit my interest.
What advice would you give to young attorneys who are looking to pursue this legal specialty?
I would recommend that they attend conferences like OffshoreAlert and C5 to develop connections with individuals and firms in this field, as well as learn from the presenters’ different methods they employ in these types of cases.
If you weren’t practicing law, what would you do?
As far back as I can remember, I always told my parents that I would be an attorney due to the hardships that my father faced in Cuba, so it is difficult imagining any other path. I guess I would probably be a veterinarian, given my love for animals. My family is filled with animal lovers and I always had a variety of animals growing up. I currently have dogs, cats and fish, which I love, so that would probably have been the alternate path I would have chosen.
In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that two arbitration tribunals—one private and one investor-state—did not constitute “foreign or international tribunal[s]” under 28 U.S.C. § 1782. The statute is widely used by litigants to obtain discovery “for use in a proceeding in a foreign or international tribunal.” The decision came after years with a split among the Courts of Appeals on the issue, particularly in the area of international private arbitration.
In its 17-page decision, the Court analyzed the language of the statute and its history noting that § 1782’s purpose is comity. The Court reasoned that a broad reading of §1782 “would open district court doors to any interested person seeking assistance for proceedings before any private adjudicative body—a category broad enough to include everything from a commercial arbitration panel to a university’s student disciplinary tribunal.” Opting for a narrower construction, the Court held that “only governmental or intergovernmental adjudicative bodies constitute a ‘foreign or international tribunal’ under § 1782”, adding that, “[s]uch bodies are those that exercise governmental authority conferred by one nation or multiple nations.”
More on the decision can be found here.
Sequor Law es una firma internacional de abogados con sede en Miami que representa instituciones financieras, gobiernos soberanos, empresas estatales, empresas públicas y privadas, profesionales de insolvencia y clientes individuales en las áreas de recuperación de activos, fraude financiero, insolvencia y litigios de servicios financieros.
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