Anthony Akiwumi,

Breadth of experience

Anthony is a founding partner at Etienne Blake with over twenty-eight (28) years at the Bar as a Barrister and an Attorney-at-Law, having been admitted as a Member of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple in 1988 and called to the Bar of England and Wales in July 1989.  Until 1997, Anthony was in full time practice at the English Bar, establishing an expert knowledge across the fields of Common, Administrative and Criminal law.

Criminal & Regulatory Law

In 1997, Anthony was appointed as specialist Crown Counsel to the Honourable Attorney General of the Cayman Islands.  In this capacity, Anthony represented the Cayman Islands Government at the public bar in various Courts and regulatory arenas with a particular emphasis on white collar crime, including fraud, asset recovery and cross jurisdictional mutual legal assistance matters. Reported cases such as R v McCorkle 1998 [an asset forfeiture case following a request for Mutual Legal Assistance by the US Department of Justice], R v Euro Bank [a prosecution of a regulated Class A Bank and its officers for money laundering offences], Governments of Switzerland & France v Falcone [an international cause célèbre which resulted in the successful discharge of restraint orders issued following a request for assistance under the designated countries regime of the Proceeds of Criminal Conduct Law] are examples of Anthony’s involvement as leading advocate in cross jurisdictional asset recovery cases.

Financial Services, Insolvency and Restructuring Engagements

In private practice at the Cayman Islands Bar, Anthony was engaged initially as a Senior Associate in the Commercial Litigation Team at Hunter & Hunter (now Appleby).  In March 2004, he was invited to head the newly established Litigation Team at Stuarts Walker Hersant Humphries, where, over the next eleven (11) years, he developed a strong reputation in commercial, corporate, financial services, regulatory and human rights litigation, before leaving to form Etienne Blake.

Anthony has appeared in numerous high profile and prestigious cases in a distinguished career at the Bar, including the landmark decision in Culross Global Ltd v Strategic Turnaround Master Partnership Ltd, where Anthony’s innovative arguments were approved by the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal and continue to be the yardstick by which investment fund creditor and investor rights are analysed under Cayman Islands Law.

Other examples where Anthony has obtained definitive and successful outcomes at Grand Court and Court of Appeal levels include Reserve International Liquidity Fund v Walker & Carter (where he represented the Manager of a money market fund in a multi-jurisdictional dispute about control of the fund’s $2 billion dollar assets); In re Soundview Elite Ltd. Et al (where Anthony represented shareholders and officers in their application to stay winding-up petitions in the Cayman Court in the wake of parallel Chapter 11 proceedings in the USA and ancillary proceedings in the British Virgin Islands; and In Re Trikona (where Anthony represented a shareholder in a petition to wind up the company on just and equitable grounds, namely the loss of sub-stratum).

Enforcement, Norwich Pharmacal, Forum non Conveniens and Breach of Duty Engagements

Anthony also appeared in Masri v Consolidated Contractors International Company SAL (on behalf of a judgment creditor seeking to enforce by way of freezing and receivership orders judgments obtained in the English Commercial Court); Cadogan Petroleum PLC v Tolley and others(successfully obtaining freezing injunctions in support of English Chancery Division claims alleging breach of fiduciary duty, bribery and breach of contract); Arnage & Brooklands v Braga (successfully discharging Bankers Trusts orders wrongfully obtained by a foreign trustee in bankruptcy in support of a $2 billion dollar alleged fraud); Arnage & Brooklands v Walkers (representing the plaintiffs in their $500 million claim against the defendant, their previous legal advisor, for breaches of confidence and fiduciary duties resulting in catastrophic damage to the plaintiffs); and Navarro v Navarro (a cross jurisdictional estate dispute concerning the disposition of assets created by the patriarch of a Bolivian / Argentinean family).

Insurance and Reinsurance Engagements

Recent instructions in this area include advising a US / Bermuda Captive in arbitration and ancillary proceedings in the Financial Services Division in connection with the resolution of a dispute over the payment of collateral in excess of $24 million.  Anthony has also advised reinsurers in connection with a defective design and construction of a landmark commercial building in the Cayman Islands with a claim value in excess of US$100 million; and in an avoidance claim, he advised and represented a reinsurer in respect of confiscation of assets (marine / aircraft) by overseas enforcement agents, respectively from the USA and Brazil.

Public Law and Tribunal Engagements

One of Cayman’s top litigation attorneys, Anthony has a breadth of experience rarely found amongst practicing advocates in the Cayman Islands.  While his professional career has primarily focused on complex commercial litigation, he has the distinction of also having appeared before the Privy Council in criminal and constitutional proceedings. Of particular note in the public law context is Anthony’s expertise in matters concerning “good governance” and the “administration of justice” including in the discrete area of the Codes of Conduct applicable to the Higher Judiciary.  In this regard, Anthony was briefed to appear before the unprecedented Tribunal of established under section 49J of the Cayman Islands (Constitution) Order 1972 in order to inquire into the question of the Removal of Madam Justice Levers as a Judge of the Grand Court.  He then subsequently appeared in the contested proceedings before a seven-member Board of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which gave rise to the leading authority for the removal of Judges on the grounds of “Misbehaviour” and the application of The Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct to the determination of the Removal of Judges.

Separately, in 2008, Anthony represented the former Leader of Government Business before the Commission of Enquiry, instituted by the Governor of the Cayman Islands and headed by Sir Richard Tucker, to consider principles of “good governance” in the wake of an unauthorised disclosure of Government records.

Serious Non-Financial Services Crime Engagements

As a practitioner at the local Defence Bar, Anthony is a respected advocate, having appeared in publically funded criminal proceedings involving serious crimes including murder, armed robberies, fraud and money laundering. In R v Carrillo, in the only known instance in the context of the “double jeopardy rule”, Anthony successfully obtained acquittals for a defendant twice tried for the same murder, in the result establishing, as a matter of Common Law, the unreliability of fingerprint opinion evidence for lack of a scientific foundation. Anthony was a Founding Member of the Cayman Islands Criminal Defence Bar Association.

Fiduciary Advisory Engagements

Separately, Anthony has developed a niche counselling service advising fiduciaries, partners and shareholders, particularly in the investment funds context, on their rights, duties and obligations generally and in the restructuring and litigation context.  In addition to advising independent directors on duties (regulatory, legal and fiduciary) in circumstances of credit risk induced by the margin and catastrophic redemption calls during the financial crisis that ensued between 2007 and 2010, Anthony has also advised on the merits of complex residential mortgage backed security litigation concerning regulated financial institutions and banks in the United States and the appropriateness of issuing proceedings in the Cayman Islands.

Speaking & Public Service Engagements and Appointments

Anthony’s expertise in insolvency has been recognised internationally by the International Association of Restructuring, Insolvency & Bankruptcy Professionals (“INSOL”).  In June 2009, Anthony was the sole representative from the Cayman Islands invited to speak on cross-border insolvencies and restructuring (recognition and appointment of Liquidators and the impact of Centre of Main Interests comparative jurisprudence and the UNICITRAL Model Law on Cayman Islands law) at the plenary session of the Eighth World Quadrennial Congress of INSOL in Vancouver, Canada.

From 1993 to 1997, Anthony was a Member of the Bar Human Rights Committee and assisted with Death Penalty Amicus Briefs in the United States and Human Rights investigations in Nigeria, Kenya and Turkey.

Whilst a member of the Attorney-General’s Chambers, Anthony was part of the team that successfully represented the Cayman Islands in its presentations to the OECD and the FATF resulting, ultimately, in the removal of the Cayman Islands from the list of non-cooperating jurisdictions.  This experience has provided Anthony with an excellent command of the issues arising in the context of an increasingly regulated offshore environment.

Anthony has often been called upon to speak on offshore litigation at prominent events in the United States and has been a regular participant at the Cayman Islands International Funds Conference.  He has also been pleased to accept invitations to deliver lectures for the Case Western Reserve University and the University of Illinois.

Alongside his speaking engagements, Anthony has volunteered his time locally to serve on the Cayman Airways Board of Directors, the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands Board of Directors, the Financial Services Consultative and Legislative Committee and the Cayman Islands Human Rights Committee.

Other Appointments & Admissions

Notwithstanding his successful career in the Cayman Islands, Anthony has retained his professional connections in the United Kingdom, where he remains an Associate Member of Pump Court Chambers, London. He is also admitted as a Barrister of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in the British Virgin Islands.

Anthony Akiwumi
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