With over 17 years’ experience advising on commercially and politically sensitive disputes, Joana is skilled at developing investigative strategies and gathering evidence in support of complex litigation, arbitration, and high-value asset recovery. Joana is ranked Band 1 in Chambers’ 2023 guide for Litigation Support, and Band 1 for Asset Tracing & Recovery (Global Investigations).
Joana works closely with Claimants, their legal counsel, PR, third-party funders and other disputes specialists. Her work focuses on the support of legal processes including discovery/disclosure and other interim relief; fraud and corruption investigations; sanctions-related actions; and other special situations. Given the multi-disciplinary nature of these disputes, Joana’s work is often channeled into PR and government relations campaigns. She has given evidence and provided witness statements in support of her and the team’s findings.
Combining creativity and precision in her approach to high value asset recovery, Joana advises clients on potential enforcement targets and pressure points to develop efficient recoverability strategies. Highly experienced in the enforcement of awards against sovereign States and state-owned companies, Joana has helped clients with evidence and solutions addressing complex commercial transactions involving sovereigns, veil piercing, alter-ego arguments and evidence of the commercial purpose of assets.
Recognised in Chambers as “outstanding”, “thorough and meticulous” and “adept at getting quick results” clients’ praise Joana’s “ability to analyse complex matters and excellence in pursuing alternative investigative strategies” adding that she is “very responsive, incisive and brings to group conversations a view that challenges things”. “The quality of her work is next level”.
Joana is frequently invited to speak on asset recovery, fraud and corruption investigations at leading industry conferences.
Prior to co-founding Raedas in 2016, Joana was a partner and co-chair of the dispute consulting group at GPW in London. She was previously an investigator for Diligence in Brussels and London. She began her career working in international development cooperation at the OECD and the United Nations.
Litigation and arbitration support
Acted for a pharmaceutical multinational in a dispute with a Contract Manufacturing Organisation which was in breach of the multinational’s IP with respect to a patented molecule. Evidenced the infringement and testified in court in support of the client.
Led an investigation into a Latin American UHNW accused of fraud. Provided evidence supporting disclosure applications and freezing injunctions in the Caribbean and investigated the UHNW’s operations to evidence dissipation of assets.
Acted for counsel to recover funds from a group of South American individuals. Interviewed potential witnesses in multiple jurisdictions, developing evidence of the individuals’ asset profiles. Identified assets in the US, Spain and Panama and provided evidence to support §1782 application in the US.
Acted in a multimillion-dollar construction arbitration for a natural resources firm against a contractor. Identified and interviewed former employees and other contractors across Europe, the Middle East and Russia. Obtained witness statements in support of the client’s argument for negligence helping shape and evidence a more accurate narrative of events.
Acted for counsel on behalf of a natural resources multinational in a multimillion-dollar claim against a Far Eastern business partner. Evidenced relationships in the UK which allowed counsel to establish jurisdiction and initiate ancillary legal proceedings. Identified and supported expert witnesses.
Acted for a client in multimillion-dollar arbitration against an African counterparty seeking to evade proceedings through the use of forged documents. Evidenced the wrongdoing and coordinated with a local expert witness to attest to the forged nature of documents.
Asset tracing and recovery
Acted for counsel in support of a multibillion-dollar claim against a sovereign state. Prepared an enforcement plan and recovery strategy, identified and interviewed key witnesses who provided documentary and testimonial evidence demonstrating the flow of funds between the state and a state-owned company. These funds were used to service debt, pay suppliers and corporate loans, and replenish the sovereign wealth fund. Worked on evidencing the commercial purpose and intended use of the relevant accounts and pierce the state-owned company’s corporate veil.
Prepared recoverability assessments on EU jurisdictions, presenting roadmaps for possible enforcement targets outside the EU.
Acted for counsel in the enforcement of a multimillion-dollar award against a West African service provider. Evidenced the existence of key trading and banking relationships in Europe which supported third party debt orders.
Acted for counsel on behalf of a natural resources company to evidence oil shipments into European locations, providing evidence required for attachment orders. The frozen cargos in turn generated additional financial pressure through accruing chartering fees.
Other contentious situations
Acted for UK counsel on behalf of a European conglomerate alleging breach of contract by a politically powerful joint venture partner in the CIS. Prior to engaging in costly arbitration, client sought to evidence cause of action and misconduct by the counterparty.
Acted for counsel in a multimillion-dollar claim against a Latin American businessman. Strategy focused on putting pressure on the counterparty by openly contacting former employees and individuals from his network in country. One of these individuals provided a detailed schedule of movable and immovable assets which added weight to the client’s settlement negotiations.
Acted for counsel on behalf of a group of investors being investigated by a tax regulator as part of a clampdown on tax efficient investments. Evidenced that the investors had been misled in renewable energy projects and that monies thought to have been invested in land, equipment and staffing were in fact embezzled. The evidence was not exculpatory, but it facilitated negotiations with the regulator.
Acted for a contractor disputing the cancellation of its license in Africa. Rather than take legal action (which may have led to debilitating litigation costs) we helped the client develop a PR and government relations strategy aimed at stirring investor activism.