Fountain Court Chambers

London & Singapore

Leonora SaganCall Date: 2012

Leonora Sagan has a broad commercial and business crime practice representing corporations and high-net-worth individuals in complex cross-border disputes. She has particular experience in litigation involving allegations of fraud, money laundering, corruption and bribery, including in connection with civil and criminal asset forfeiture actions, contentious trust matters, and underlying arbitral proceedings.

Leonora has represented clients in connection with proceedings in Russia, Brazil, Cyprus, Austria, Liechtenstein, Cayman, the BVI, the Cook Islands, New York, Greece, and New Zealand. In the English Courts, she has appeared as counsel at all levels and has a particular interest in appellate and interlocutory work.

Areas of Expertise

  • Commercial Crime
  • Fraud: civil
  • Commercial dispute resolution
  • Arbitration
  • Financial services

Recent Practice

Civil Fraud & White-Collar Crime Matters

  • Representing a Russian businessman subject to criminal and civil proceedings and mutual legal assistance treaty requests launched by the Deposit Insurance Agency of Russia in multiple jurisdictions (Russia, Austria, Liechtenstein, Cyprus, New York) for fraud, embezzlement, and money laundering
  • Representing a Brazilian family subject to seizure of their UK-based assets in connection with “Operation Car Wash” and establishing a trust asset repatriation mechanism involving the UK, Jersey and Switzerland to satisfy fines levelled for alleged corruption under a deferred prosecution agreement.
  • Representing individuals subject to DOJ and SFO investigations following allegations of bribery in defending against asset forfeiture actions and civil recovery regimes under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. The case also involved contentious trust issues that prompted several applications before the courts of the relevant off-shore jurisdiction.
  • Representing the audit committee of a NYSE-listed company in pursuing a former director who had embezzled $300 million. The case involved the offensive use of insolvency strategies; liaising with the US government to advocate for a government-driven asset forfeiture scheme; and drawing up a global asset recovery strategy that anticipated the use of world-wide freezing orders and money laundering investigations in multiple jurisdictions.
  • Representing a HNWI in disputes with a former sovereign over allegations of improper receipt of commissions in state contracts. The case also focused on criminal investigations initiated in two jurisdictions over illicit financial transactions potentially involving money laundering.


Commercial Dispute Resolution

Leonora has a broad range of experience in commercial litigation (including in trials, appeals, and interlocutory applications) at all levels. Representative matters include:

  • National Iranian Oil Company v Crescent Petroleum Company [2016] EWHC 510 (Comm) – acting for NIOC in an application to set aside an arbitral award arising out of a gas supply agreement governed by Iranian law on grounds of fraud, corruption and bribery.
  • Sabbagh v Khoury[2014] EWHC 3233 (Comm) – representing a number of defendants in their challenge to the jurisdiction of the English court. The underlying claim alleged that they had conspired to deprive the claimant of over USD500m of assets.
  • Triple Point Technology Inc v PTT Public Co Ltd [2017] EWHC 2178 (TCC) – acting on a claim for payments under a software development contract where key questions arose as to entitlement to liquidated damages and the construction of a damages cap.
  • Acting for the BBC in defending against an interim injunction arising from a contract for the construction of a film set.
  • Christo v Marathon Advisory Service [2015] EWHC 1971 (QB) – acting as sole counsel in a High Court trial to resolve a dispute as to whether an estate agent was entitled to commission on the sale of a commercial property.



Leonora has extensive experience of arbitral proceedings as well as appeals to the High Court in connection with the same under sections 67, 68 and 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996. She has acted in arbitrations under LCIA, LMAA, SIAC, GAFTA, FOSFA, Sugar Association and IBA rules.

Particular examples include:

  • Representing a US real estate advisory firm in an LCIA arbitration to recover damages for breach of contract by a global telecoms company.
  • Glencore International AG v PT Tera Logistic Indonesia [2016] EWHC 82 (Comm) – acting for the successful appellant under s.69 Arbitration Act 1996 against a Tribunal’s finding that counterclaims were time-barred for the purposes of s.14(4) Arbitration Act 1996.
  • National Iranian Oil Company v Crescent Petroleum Company [2016] EWHC 510 (Comm) – acting for NIOC in 67 and s.68 Arbitration Act 1996 challenges raising issues of illegality and public policy in respect of a contract said to have been procured by bribery.
  • X v Y, Z [2015] EWHC 395 (Comm) – acting for the Respondent in an application for preliminary issues in a challenge to an arbitration award under sections 67 and 68 Arbitration Act 1996.


Shipping & Commodities

Leonora has experience in the fields of shipping and commodities, including general voyage and time charterparty and bill of lading disputes; vessel arrest cases; LMAA arbitrations; cargo and guarantee claims; and disputes over jurisdiction. Other examples include:

  • Bunge v Nidera [2015] UKSC – acting for the Respondent in an appeal to the Supreme Court in connection with a dispute under the prohibition and default clauses of a GAFTA contract. The case involved complex questions as to whether the decision of the House of Lords in The Golden Victory [2007] UKHL 12 applied to a case of anticipatory breach.
  • Advising on issues arising from the OW Bunkers collapse.
  • Glencore International AG v PT Tera Logistic Indonesia [2016] EWHC 82 (Comm) – acting for the successful appellant under s.69 Arbitration Act 1996 against a Tribunal’s finding that counterclaims were time-barred for the purposes of s.14(4) Arbitration Act 1996.
  • Lakatamia Shipping v Su [2014] EWHC 3611 (Comm); Su v Lakatamia Shipping [2015] EWCA Civ 511 – acting for the defendant in a dispute over freight forwarding agreements.
  • Advising on the prospects of obtaining or setting aside anti-suit injunctions in the context of charterparty disputes with underlying arbitration clauses.


Financial Services

  • Advising a US-based investment firm on English-law causes of action arising out of a Bank’s “last look” practices in foreign exchange trading.
  • Acting for RBS/NatWest as part of a s.166 skilled person team in the FCA-approved review of sales of Interest Rate Hedging Products.


  • LLM, Harvard Law School
  • BA (Philosophy and Modern and Medieval Languages), Wadham College, Oxford University (double first class honours, ranking first in year).
  • BPTC, BPP College
  • GDL, BPP College

Appointments, Memberships, Prizes

  • Harvard Law School Long Paper Prize for Private Law (2018)
  • Dean’s Scholarship for Private Law Workshop (2018)
  • Dean’s Scholarship for Legal Profession (2018)
  • BPP College Director of BPTC Programmes’ Scholarship (2012)
  • Oxford University Gibbs Prize for Best Performance in Philosophy Finals (2010)
  • Wadham College, Oxford University, Takashi Kisaki Prize for Philosophy (2010)
  • Oxford University Apollo Grant for Academic Excellence (2008)
  • Scholar of Wadham College (2006, 2007, 2009, 2010)
  • Hellenic Society Essay (First Place, 2007)
  • Oxford University Gibbs Prize for Best Performance in Literature Prelims (2006)

Other Experience

  • Employed barrister at Kobre & Kim LLP (New York and London) (2016-2019)
  • Pupil Barrister and Barrister at 20 Essex Street Chambers (2013-2016)


Greek (fluent)
Spanish (basic)

BSB Barristers' Register