Rekha – tell us a bit about yourself
I’m a 4th year associate with quite a broad practice. Since qualification, I’ve worked on a variety of matters across a number of industries and sectors, including financial services and securities, energy and infrastructure, and data protection and cybersecurity, which have involved multiple jurisdictions and varying clients.
I have a real interest in environmental protection and so am working with the firm to further develop our ESG litigation practice. Given the real shift in global sentiment towards recognising and taking action to combat climate change across both private and public sectors, it’s no secret that companies, funds and governments are preparing to face a tidal wave of litigation in this area.
I think this represents a real opportunity for Pallas to help drive positive change in this space. Particularly in light of the emerging cynicism and politicism of certain players in the market, I really believe helping to craft solutions is increasingly important.
I’m also working with Fiona (Partner) to develop our low carbon and sustainable business operations policies.
Tell us more about your experience – what are you working on currently?
I’m working on a few different matters. One that has been of particular interest is the Mozambique tuna bond scandal which gets a lot of publicity, particularly because it adds to the slate of scandals that have emerged relating to Credit Suisse and its failure to implement proper corporate governance and risk controls.
The “scandal” arises from nearly USD 2 billion worth of loans that Credit Suisse arranged, issued to and subsequently syndicated on behalf of the Republic of Mozambique between 2012 and 2016.
The loans were issued to three special purpose vehicles (“SPVs”) incorporated and beneficially owned by the Republic of Mozambique and were said to be aimed at funding contracts entered into between the SPVs and a Lebanon/UAE based shipbuilder, Privinvest, for the supply of equipment for various maritime security projects and a tuna fishery.
It was then revealed that a number of individuals involved in negotiating the debt facilities, including Credit Suisse investment bankers and former Mozambican government officials, received significant “kick-back payments” to push the debts through, that the debts had been concealed from the IMF, and that they may also not have followed proper Mozambican law procedures.
A number of different cases are currently before the Commercial Court that broadly relate to the same factual issues and so are being case managed together with ours. We represent investment funds that purchased interests in the debt on the secondary market.
Are these the types of matters you enjoy?
Absolutely – I really enjoy these types of thorny factual and legal issues. Law is always at its most interesting when the issues you’re dealing with are complicated.
What else do you like about the law?
The relative plasticity of the law has always been intriguing to me. The practice of law is about the interpretation of language – which is fascinating. There is a creativity to litigation which I often think is underappreciated outside the disputes sphere (though I am aware that I’m biased!).
I also like the optimism of legal practice. As Paul Steinberg said: ‘If you want to change the world, change the rules’.