Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and International Financial Institutions (IFIs), such as the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, each have their own investigative offices and have established their own sanctions and debarment frameworks in order to pursue entities alleged to have engaged in prohibited practices (such as fraud and corruption) on MDB-funded projects.

Outer Temple’s Business Crime and Regulation team has extensive experience representing respondent entities accused by the investigative offices of MDBs and IFIs of prohibited practices. The team’s work includes strategic advice, advocacy and litigation throughout all stages of the sanctions framework including the Sanctions Board (or equivalent), negotiated resolution settlement discussions, red flag review and investigations, show cause letter responses and criminal referrals. Given our experience of domestic law enforcement and regulators, we are especially well-placed for cross-over work that involves the SFO, CPS, FCA and HMRC.

Members of the team have represented companies and individuals before both the World Bank’s Sanctions Board in Washington DC and the Asian Development Bank’s Integrity Oversight Committee in Manila, and have also been instructed by the investigative offices of MDBs themselves (including the African Development Bank). Two members of the team were appointed Sanctions Officer and Sanctions Appeals Officer respectively at the Caribbean Development Bank in 2020. The Business Crime and Regulation team is also regularly instructed to conduct internal investigations for UN-specialised agencies. With fluent Spanish and French speakers and admissions to non-English bars (e.g., New York), as well as considerable experience of the Latin American and Caribbean region, the Business Crime and Regulation team members have an excellent cultural understanding of different business practices.

The team includes a trustee of Transparency International UK and several regular contributors to well respected practitioners guides including ‘Global Investigations’ (published by GIR) ‘Millington and Sutherland Williams on the Proceeds of Crime’, ‘Lissack and Horlick on Bribery and Corruption‘ (the 3rd edition of which includes the new chapter of the Sanctions Regimes of MDBs) and the Government’s Public Sector’s Counter Fraud Journal (Vol. 6). The team also contributes to regular training and discussions on this subject and has authored headnotes for Oxford University Press on the Sanctions Procedures of the African Development Bank Group, the World Bank Sanctions Procedures and the Enforcement Policy and Procedures of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Multilateral Development Bank Sanctions & Debarment Regimes Experience

Our work includes matters relating to:

  • Representation of respondents before the Offices of Suspension and Debarment (or equivalent)
  • Representation of respondents before Sanctions Boards (or equivalent)
  • Representation of consultants in audits and investigations conducted by MDBs
  • Conduct of internal investigations into alleged misconduct on MDB-financed projects
  • Assisting with negotiated resolution agreements and voluntary disclosure issues
  • Redesign of integrity compliance programmes
  • Assistance with criminal referrals by MDBs to national authorities
  • Mitigating the risks of cross-debarment
  • Post-sanction representation and assistance
  • Advice on the privileges and immunities of MDBs

Members of our Business Crime and Regulation team have been involved in a number of MDB and international organisations investigations cases including the following:

  • The debarment of Crown Agents by the World Bank
  • The debarment of SNC-Lavalin by the African Development Bank
  • The debarment of Hitachi Ltd by the African Development Bank
  • Advisory work on World Bank referrals to UK-enforcement agencies
  • World Bank Group Sanctions Board Decision No. 96 (Sanctions Case No. 386)
  • Investigations into consultants by the Inter-American Development Bank
  • Investigations into alleged fraud in UN-specialised agencies headquartered in Geneva
  • Settlement negotiations with the Asian Development Bank

Multilateral Development Bank Sanctions & Debarment Regimes Barristers

John McKendrick KC

Call: 1999 Silk: 2016

Oliver Powell

Call: 2006 (England & Wales); 2010 (Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (BVI))

Alex Haines

Call: 2007 (England & Wales); 2019 (New York); 2020 (Ireland); and 2024 (District of Columbia)

Sophie O’Sullivan

Call: 2011

Jeremy Scott-Joynt

Call: 2018

Salomé Lemasson

Call: 2014 (Paris); 2020 (Berlin)

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