White Collar Compliance Practice

CKR’s Global Government Enforcement & White Collar Practice Group (GEWCPG)

CKR’s Government Enforcement and White-Collar Group’s Global Practice provides innovative, cutting edge, practical advice, guidance, and investigative services for clients drawing on the breadth of the experience of its team.  The Group’s partners have worked at some of the top law firms in the US and is comprised of former US Attorneys and in-house counsel for leading INGOs and Fortune 100 companies.

CKR’s attorneys assist clients in responding to government inquiries and investigations, conducting internal investigations, and designing and implementing global compliance programs, specializing in areas common to global entities, such as anti-corruption, export compliance, sanctions, anti-money laundering, data privacy and human trafficking.  Attorneys serve as Compliance Monitors; and provide active and ongoing advice and guidance to corporations, international organizations, NGOs and governments on business risks, and compliance responses. Our attorneys also specialize in FATCA Tax advice and representation. Attorneys have gained deep practical experience in the field in roles within companies and government on the front lines where most compliance issues arise in the first instance. Our attorneys also have experience in CFIUS having represented parties on foreign investment in the U.S. and sales of US based companies and assets abroad.

Our GEWCPG helps companies in all aspects of their compliance regime and anti-corruption and anti –fraud strategy, from conducting assessments of current internal controls; to making recommendations on improvements; to advising on risk strategy; conducting internal investigations when allegations of impropriety are raised; engaging with enforcement and investigation authorities to mitigate and minimize penalties and sanctions; and representing and defending companies in local, state, federal and foreign criminal, civil and administrative cases.

CKR’s team members have conducted hundreds of assessments, thousands of internal investigations; and helped countless corporations avoid debarment, severe penalties and criminal sanctions.

Robert Appleton, the GEWCPG Practice Leader, has:

  • Served as a Compliance Monitor for companies sanctioned by international organizations, such as the United Nations, and the World Bank; and succeeded in helping clients avoid sanctions in countless cases.
  • Successfully defended a Canadian national charged in the Northern District of California with bribery, corruption and fraud in connection with his role with the International Atomic Energy Administration, a division of the United Nations.  The case was dismissed based upon the arguments set forth in the Motion to Dismiss, drafted by Mr. Appleton.
  • Was appointed to conduct internal investigations of a large international NGO, under investigation in connection with its activities in the Syrian relief program, funded by the United States Administration for International Development’s Office of Inspector General (USAID/OIG); the European Union’s Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF); the United Kingdom’s Department of Foreign International Development (DFID); and then serve as Interim Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer while the INGO successfully resolved the compliance issues identified in the investigation.
  • Served as a Monitor for a large international company coming off of a debarment with the United Nations.  The entity was successfully re-registered on the UN’s active vendor roster.
  • Successfully recovered tens of millions of dollars of assets of clients that were diverted or wrongfully seized by third parties in matters in the United States, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia.
  • Engaged to conduct assessments of the Compliance Program of several Fortune 500 companies; and provide advice and guidance on adjustments to compliance programs.
  • Engaged to provide advice and guidance for companies that have received whistleblower complaints from within their organization, and conducted follow on investigations in appropriate cases.
  • Engaged to undertake an asset recovery exercise for the relatives of victims of the Holocaust and an Israeli Foundation seeking restitution and recovery of assets held in foreign banks.
  • Investigated Swiss banks as part of the Independent Inquiry Committee’s Investigation into the Iraqi Oil for Food Programme Scandal, identifying assets stolen by Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi Regime.
  • Represented whistleblowers in reward submissions to the U.S. Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service.

Mr. Appleton is regularly featured on panels; in symposiums and conferences, as well as speaking engagements throughout the world focused on anti-corruption compliance; recovering assets diverted by criminal thefts and schemes; and conducting investigations, including:

  • The upcoming CKR/ICC “Meet the Enforcers” Symposium taking place in Sao Paolo Brazil February 5 - 6, 2018
  • Yusen Logistics on January 16, 2018, Secaucus New Jersey
  • “Meet the Enforcers” Panel discussion with the FBI and DOJ in April 2016, Stamford, Connecticut

Mr. Appleton also  joined Edward Snowden[1] this past November in Stockholm, Sweden on a panel at this year’s International Internal Auditors Conference.


[1] Snowden joined through a video-feed from Russia.

Jill Williamson

Ms. Williamson focuses her practice on white collar defense, investigations and anti-corruption, privacy, export, AML and sanctions compliance. She has experience in house as Chief Compliance Officer at Liquidity Services, Inc., and Deputy Chief Compliance Officer at Cigna Corporation. Prior to going in house, Ms. Williamson worked at several top law firms, including Patton Boggs (now Squire Patton Boggs).

Kristie Blase

Kristie Blase regularly advises privately- and publicly-held companies, their directors and officers, and financial services industry clients to help them minimize and address business risks. Kristie’s goal is to create positive outcomes for her clients. She assists clients with complex commercial litigation, white collar and securities enforcement, internal investigations, and bankruptcy litigation. Kristie regularly litigates employment-related issues, including non-competes, non-solicits, trade secrets, and finders’ fees. She also represents high net worth individuals in business and personal disputes.

Kristie has a strong commitment to pro bono service, focusing her efforts on arts, education, and access to justice issues. Kristie was the lead attorney with the NYCLU in the historic settlement of a class action seeking systemic reform of the public defense system in New York State that has led to major changes across New York State.

Before joining CKR Law, Kristie was an attorney at Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP in New York and worked in-house at Och-Ziff Capital Management. She earned her Juris Doctor degree from The George Washington University Law School, where she served on the Moot Court Board. Kristie also earned an engineering degree from the University of Maryland with Honors and Gemstone citations. She spent part of her undergraduate time at the École Nationale Supérieure de Mécanique et d'Aérotechnique (ENSMA) in France and at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RuG) in the Netherlands.

Notable Representations include:

  • Private equity fund in 13D litigation and proxy fight litigation in Delaware Chancery Court and US District Court, including obtaining TRO to stop challenged transaction and installing new board at public company.
  • Large international telecommunications company in internal bribery and corruption investigations involving subsidiaries and third party contractors in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, including self-reporting to the DOJ and SEC in the US and FSA in the UK, resulting in no action taken by US or UK Governments against the company.
  • Large private real estate investment company in multiple disputes with former joint venture partner, ending in positive global settlement for client.
  • Private equity company and CLO/CDO collateral managers in Delaware Chancery Court trial concerning investor access to manager files.
  • Law firm in connection with litigations and government investigations arising from failure of multiple CLOs and CDOs, successfully avoiding liability for the firm.
  • Several international companies on revamping corporate anti-corruption, bribery, and whistleblower policies, designing and implementing trainings for companies, and assisting companies in hiring the appropriate internal staff to monitor and maintain the compliance programs.
  • Investment advisor arm of a large national bank in connection with an SEC investigation concerning alleged disclosure violations, resulting in no action taken by the SEC.
  • Funds and managers in connection with fraudulent conveyance actions stemming from Tribune and Lyondell bankruptcies.
  • Offshore fund directors in connection with SEC and DOJ investigation and litigation concerning fund’s manager and its principal.
  • Group of investors in investigating criminal and fraudulent activities of an investment manager.
  • Pension funds in connection with corruption and fraud recoveries.
  • Private company in connection with DOJ, DOL, and ICE investigation into employment and immigration issues, including conducting full internal investigation to assess scope and risks.
  • Large private equity fund in connection with Mervyn’s bankruptcy and subsequent fraudulent conveyance litigations.
  • Insurance company in dispute concerning liability for vehicle service contract obligations following Chrysler bankruptcy, ending with settlement in favor of insurance company.
  • International sporting governing body in dispute and arbitration with country-member entity, resulting in complete award for governing body.
  • Charitable fund in disputes arising from real estate investments, resulting in positive settlement for fund.

Distinctions

  • New York Super Lawyers — Rising Star (2013-2017)
  • New York Law Journal’s 2015 Lawyers Who Lead by Example Award
  • New York State Bar Association Empire State Counsel Honoree