Leonora Sagan

Leonora Sagan

Call 2012

"She has a sharp, systematic mind and deep knowledge of her area."


The Legal 500

For enquiries please contact

Alfie Harper

Alfie Harper
Team Leader
+44 (0)20 7842 3806
Click here to email

Sam McCrone
Team Leader's Assistant
+44 (0)20 7583 3335
Click here to email

Expertise

Notable Administrative & Public Law Cases


Advising Vladimir Chernukhin on both civil and criminal aspects of the continuing litigation with Oleg Deripaska. Leonora also represented Mr Chernukhin (together with Richard Lissack QC) in the private prosecution brought against him for allegedly perverting the course of justice and in the subsequent judicial review proceedings by which Mr Deripaska sought to challenge the DPP’s decision to discontinue the private prosecution.

Notable Banking & Finance Cases


Public Institution for Social Security of Kuwait v Man Group

Concerning allegations of large-scale bribery against more than thirty individuals and financial institutions.


Stifel Nicolaus Europe Limited v Continental Capital LLC

Representing Continental Capital in a claim concerning the sale of Russian bonds which gives rise to sanctions issues (ongoing).


Aircastle v Unicredit

Representing Aircastle subsidiaries (together with Akhil Shah QC) in a High Court claim for payment under certain Letters of Credit (ongoing).


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.

Notable Civil Fraud Cases


1 MDB

Advising the key individual in multi-jurisdictional proceedings arising from worldwide litigation into what the US Department of Justice alleges to be the largest fraud it has ever investigated, with issues spanning the full gamut of civil and criminal action around the world and collaborating with lawyers in several different regions and legal systems.


T1 Visa Scheme Fraud

Representing HNWIs in a dispute over possible fraud in respect of their UK Tier 1 Visa applications.


FCA v (1) Kostis Papadimitrakopoulos (2) Dimitris Gryparis (ongoing)

Acting (together with Andrew Hunter QC) for the former CFO of Globo Plc in a civil claim for restitution to investors for misleading statements to the market brought by the FCA.


Public Institution for Social Security of Kuwait v Man Group (ongoing)

Concerning allegations of large-scale bribery against more than thirty individuals and financial institutions.


Tonstate v Wojakovski [2021] EWHC 1122 (Ch)

Representing the successful respondent solicitors against allegations of contempt of court and breaching a Worldwide Freezing Order in failing to disclose the source of third-party funds received on behalf of a client who was subject to the WFO. In Tonstate v Wojakovski [2021] EWHC 1995 (Ch) Leonora succeeded in recovering 100% costs on the indemnity basis on behalf of her client.


Advising a top tier law firm (together with Timothy Dutton QC) on its professional duties and potential liabilities on discovering that its client had advanced a knowingly false case of fraud before the Commercial Court.


Representing a Russian entrepreneur and banker 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 offshore 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.

Notable Commercial Crime Cases


1 MDB

Advising the key individual in multi-jurisdictional proceedings arising from worldwide litigation into what the US Department of Justice alleges to be the largest fraud it has ever investigated, with issues spanning the full gamut of civil and criminal action around the world and collaborating with lawyers in several different regions and legal systems.


FCA v (1) Estelle Croft (2) Tim Coleman (3) Fraser Fisher (Redcentric LLC)

Acting for Fraser Fisher, the former CEO of Redcentric Plc, in the prosecution by the FCA for false and misleading statements to the market. Mr Fisher was unanimously acquitted by a jury at Southwark Crown Court following a fourteen-week trial.


T1 Visa Scheme Fraud

Representing HNWIs in a dispute over possible fraud in respect of their UK Tier 1 Visa applications.


FCA Investigation

Advising an UHNWI and major shareholder in respect of a possible FCA investigation into the circumstances surrounding the collapse of a public listed company.


FCA v (1) Kostis Papadimitrakopoulos (2) Dimitris Gryparis (ongoing)

Acting (together with Andrew Hunter QC) for the former CFO of Globo Plc in a civil claim for restitution to investors for misleading statements to the market brought by the FCA.


R (On the application of Oleg Deripaska) v (1) DPP (2) Vladimir Chernukhin (3) The Crown Court at Southwark [2020] EWHC 2918 (Admin)

Advising Vladimir Chernukhin on both civil and criminal aspects of the continuing litigation with Oleg Deripaska. Leonora also represented Mr Chernukhin (together with Richard Lissack QC) in the private prosecution brought against him for allegedly perverting the course of justice and in the subsequent judicial review proceedings by which Mr Deripaska sought to challenge the DPP’s decision to discontinue the private prosecution.


Representing a private equity fund in an FCA investigation into cultural failings and potential misstatements to the market (ongoing).


Representing a top tier law firm in connection with allegations of malicious prosecution and fraudulent conduct under s. 2 Fraud Act 2006.


Representing a leading accountancy firm in connection with allegations of bribery and professional misconduct arising from an internal investigation.


Advising a global commodity trading firm in connection with freezing orders issued pursuant to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.


Advising a multinational corporation in connection with an FCA investigation into a subsidiary and the scope of its obligations pursuant to information requests issued under sections 171 and 172 of FSMA 2000.


Advising a HNWI on the consequences of a failure to provide information and documents to the SFO pursuant to a notice under section 2(3) Criminal Justice Act 1987.


Advising the Board of Directors of a listed company in connection with possible criminal and regulatory exposure following an act of default under financial instruments.


Representing a Russian entrepreneur and banker 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 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 offshore 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.

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

Notable Commercial Disputes Cases


Axis Corporate Capital v ABSA Group Limited [2021] EWHC 861 (Comm)

Defending (with Ben Lynch QC) against an anti-suit injunction issued to restrain South African proceedings. The case is ongoing as parallel proceedings are still on foot in both jurisdictions.


Representing a private equity firm in an action for injunctive and declaratory relief against a former employee for misappropriation and wrongful retention of confidential documents (with Adam Tolley QC).


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 represented and advised clients in both shipping and commodities matters, including in respect of general voyage and time charterparty and bill o lading disputes; vessel arrest cases; LMAA arbitrations; cargo and guarantee claims; and disputes over jurisdiction.

Notable Commercial Disputes - Shipping & Commodities Cases


Bunge v Nidera [2015] UKSC 43

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.

Notable Financial Services Cases


FCA v (1) Estelle Croft (2) Tim Coleman (3) Fraser Fisher (Redcentric LLC)

Acting for Fraser Fisher, the former CEO of Redcentric Plc, in the prosecution by the FCA for false and misleading statements to the market. Mr Fisher was unanimously acquitted by a jury at Southwark Crown Court following a fourteen-week trial.


FCA v (1) Kostis Papadimitrakopoulos (2) Dimitris Gryparis (ongoing)

Acting (together with Andrew Hunter QC) for the former CFO of Globo Plc in a civil claim for restitution to investors for misleading statements to the market brought by the FCA.


Stifel Nicolaus Europe Limited v Continental Capital LLC

Representing Continental Capital in a claim concerning the sale of Russian bonds which gives rise to sanctions issues (ongoing).


Aircastle v Unicredit

Representing Aircastle subsidiaries (together with Akhil Shah QC) in a High Court claim for payment under certain Letters of Credit (ongoing).


T1 Visa Scheme Fraud

Representing HNWIs in a dispute over possible fraud in respect of their UK Tier 1 Visa applications.

Notable Insurance Cases


Representing Natwest Bank in an insurance dispute arising in connection with the Bernard Madoff Ponzi Scheme fraud (ongoing – with Stephen Moriarty QC).


Axis Corporate Capital v ABSA Group Limited [2021] EWHC 861 (Comm)

Acting (with Ben Lynch QC) in both the anti-suit injunction proceedings and in the underlying insurance dispute in the Commercial Court.

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.

Notable International Arbitration Cases


A v C [2020] EWCA Civ 409

Representing the successful appellants in which the Court of Appeal held that a non-party witness to an arbitration could be compelled to give evidence by deposition under s.44(2)(a) Arbitration Act 1996 in support of a foreign-seated arbitration.


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.

Leonora regularly advises on privilege, confidentiality and the collateral use of information and documents at the interstices of civil, criminal and regulatory law (arising from litigation, investigations, and private prosecutions). She is currently representing a defendant in a dispute in the Chancery Division over whether documents procured through Mutual Legal Assistance can be used to found civil proceedings.

"She approaches complex problems with clear thinking and sharp solutions."


The Legal 500

"incredibly smart, she's very clear, and very good on the detail,"


Chambers & Partners

"She's always making herself available, and she's easy to work with; she's more practical than most. It's obviously highly technical, thoughtful and considered advice but it's practical in its delivery."


Chambers & Partners

The Legal 500
  • Business & Regulatory Crime (including Global Investigations)
Chambers & Partners
  • Financial Crime: High Net Worth Individuals

  • 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

  • Harvard Law School Long Paper Prize for Private Law (2018)
  • Harvard Law School Dean’s Scholarship for Private Law Workshop (2018)
  • Harvard Law School 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 Competition (First Place, 2007)
  • Oxford University Gibbs Prize for Best Performance in Literature Prelims (2006)
  • Appointed to the SFO’s Proceeds of Crime and International Cooperation Panel (2021)
  • Member of the Private Prosecutors’ Association
  • Member of the Young Fraud Lawyers’ Association
  • Member of Women’s White Collar Defence Association

  • Co-author of the chapter on ‘Adequate Procedures in Practice’ in Lissack & Horlick on Bribery & Corruption (3rd edition, 2020). The chapter analyses the defence to corporate criminal liability for bribery under s.7 Bribery Act 2010.

  • Greek (fluent)
  • Spanish (conversational)

For enquiries please contact

Alfie Harper

Alfie Harper
Team Leader
+44 (0)20 7842 3806
Click here to email

Sam McCrone
Team Leader's Assistant
+44 (0)20 7583 3335
Click here to email

"She approaches complex problems with clear thinking and sharp solutions."


The Legal 500

"incredibly smart, she's very clear, and very good on the detail,"


Chambers & Partners

"She's always making herself available, and she's easy to work with; she's more practical than most. It's obviously highly technical, thoughtful and considered advice but it's practical in its delivery."


Chambers & Partners

The Legal 500
  • Business & Regulatory Crime (including Global Investigations)
Chambers & Partners
  • Financial Crime: High Net Worth Individuals

  • 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

  • Harvard Law School Long Paper Prize for Private Law (2018)
  • Harvard Law School Dean’s Scholarship for Private Law Workshop (2018)
  • Harvard Law School 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 Competition (First Place, 2007)
  • Oxford University Gibbs Prize for Best Performance in Literature Prelims (2006)
  • Appointed to the SFO’s Proceeds of Crime and International Cooperation Panel (2021)
  • Member of the Private Prosecutors’ Association
  • Member of the Young Fraud Lawyers’ Association
  • Member of Women’s White Collar Defence Association

  • Co-author of the chapter on ‘Adequate Procedures in Practice’ in Lissack & Horlick on Bribery & Corruption (3rd edition, 2020). The chapter analyses the defence to corporate criminal liability for bribery under s.7 Bribery Act 2010.

  • Greek (fluent)
  • Spanish (conversational)

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