Offshore Law

Knowledge

A substantial portion of Tim Scrantom's law practice over the years has been in the offshore world. He has published extensively in this field and has worked in litigation, transactions, and investigations touching on most of the 50+ countries considered "offshore." He has advised seven countries, from St. Vincent to the Seychelles and Fiji, on their offshore financial systems and regulation. He was a tenant at 2 Harcourt Buildings in Middle Temple in London (which included authors of several offshore jurisdiction's laws), where he formed the Offshore Development Group in 1995 with Barrister John Goldsworth. In 1999, Scrantom was under contract with Warren Gorham & Lamont to write a definitive two-volume treatise entitled Offshore Structures and Strategies, but publication was interrupted by worldwide changes in offshore regulation in 2000.

Frederick Dulles is bi-lingual in French and lived and worked in Switzerland, the most prominent offshore jurisdiction, for 12 years. In the course of his practice he worked extensively in the emerging markets in Eastern Europe, opening an office in St. Petersburg, Russia, for a major law firm, McDermott Will & Emery. Dulles prepared privatization legislation for the government of Madagascar.

There are only a few offshore countries (in the South Pacific) where Scrantom and Dulles have not personally worked in and visited. In the course of their careers, they have been involved with virtually every conceivable offshore investment structure and investment transaction.

International Tax Disputes. Scrantom was admitted to the U.S. Tax Court in 1986 and has a depth of experience in international tax, which includes many years as an adjunct professor of international business law and international tax at the University of South Carolina School of Law. We have acted as special counsel in tax audits involving offshore structures and multinational transactions in the U.S., the U.K. and the Caribbean and have advised on most aspects of U.S. fiscal and financial reporting. We have advised and appeared in cases before the U.S. Tax Court, other U.S. federal courts, tax investigations in the United Kingdom, and tax and information exchange treaty negotiations in the Caribbean.

International Criminal Matters. Scrantom and Dulles have advised clients in matters relating to extradition in high-profile cases and have acted as special counsel in defense of matters involving international crime, ranging from offshore internet gaming to international investment and tax fraud. On several occasions, we have been hired as expert witnesses in criminal prosecutions involving international crime. Scrantom completed his pupilage to become a practicing barrister at 3 Raymond Buildings (Gray's Inn), a leading international crime set.

International Investigations and Asset Recovery. We have vast experience in international due diligence and "know your customer" requirements, as well as the day-to-day mechanics of international and offshore finance. We apply this expertise as legal strategists in cross-border litigation and arbitration, in asset investigations and recovery projects, and in the development of transnational compliance systems for professional services firms and financial institutions. Our extensive knowledge in this field led to the creation and development of a joint venture with Lexis-Nexis® specializing in international KYC regulatory compliance for international banks and businesses. For many years, a company formed by Scrantom owned the U.S. Federal Trademark for "know your customer."

Experience

  • Designing a law-oriented international media campaign to counter negative press in connection with a highly publicized death penalty/murder case in a Caribbean nation.
  • Coordinating strategy in litigation pending simultaneously in three European countries and several countries in the Caribbean between a financial institution and a pharmaceutical company, resulting in a US$700 million asset sequestration.
  • Providing strategic litigation advice to the owners of a foreign port facility following the attempted government expropriation of its assets in the Republic of Panama.
  • Advising lawyers in the U.S. and the U.K. in numerous civil actions involving offshore-based fraud.
  • Acting as lead investigative counsel in connection with a US$50 million investment fraud by a U.K. financial services company, involving hidden accounts and structures in 12 countries.
  • Advising the ICC and various financial institutions and professionals on solicitations received concerning offshore high-yield investment and "advance fee fraud" schemes.
  • Acting as special counsel to the CEO of a NYSE-listed public company in a criminal tax investigation concerning a series of offshore annuity structures.
  • Acting as special international tax counsel with respect to defective international investment structures created by other tax and legal advisors.
  • Advising on extradition treaty and asset forfeiture issues relating to offshore internet gaming owners.
  • Advising accountants and lawyers in connection with numerous tax audits of offshore structures and transactions.
  • Acting as special counsel to a firm of accountants in a wide-ranging criminal tax investigation in the U.K. involving U.S.-U.K. dual nationals.
  • Advising a BVI-Bermuda company on its English and Swiss financial operations.
  • Advising and rendering opinions on ship mortgages, gaming, and securitizations in several Caribbean countries.