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Betto Seraglini

11 February 2015

The young Paris boutique continues to soar

Pending cases as counsel: 9
Value of pending counsel work: US$16 billion
Treaty cases: 0
Current arbitrator appointments: 9 (of which 4 are as sole or chair)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator: 3

Betto Seraglini was formed in 2013 by Jean-Georges Betto, formerly of Hogan Lovells, and Christophe Seraglini, who came from White & Case.

Both men have an impressive track record at their former firms. In 2010, Betto helped French naval defence contractor DCNS settle a billion-euro arbitration with Spanish state-owned shipbuilder Navantia over the alleged theft of trade secrets concerning a new model of submarine. Two years later, he helped the same company knock out the bulk of a €45 million ICC claim brought by the Taiwanese government under a spare parts contract.

Seraglini, meanwhile, was part of the White & Case team that helped a Lebanese businessman win a €550 million award against the Republic of the Congo in 2013 in a dispute over a 30-year old debt.

The new boutique also includes partners Thierry Tomasi and Gaëlle Le Quillec, and six associates.

Who uses it?

In addition to DCNS, the firm continues to represent French aircraft engineering company Safran Group in several disputes relating to the civil aviation industry. The firm has also acted for railway company Alstom Transport, French hospitality group Accor, the United Kingdom’s ABB (Energy) and the government of Gabon.

Track record

The team led DCNS to victory in an ICC claim against a subsidiary of Italian defence contractor Finmeccanica over a cancelled torpedo venture. In October 2014, a tribunal ordered the Italian company to pay €6 million to DCNS and dismissed a €78 million counterclaim.

The firm also helped DCNS prevail as respondent in a US$180 million claim brought over a failed joint venture in the Middle East. The claim was dismissed in its entirety, with costs awarded to their client.

The central African state of Gabon turned to Betto Seraglini to defend a US$1 billion ICC claim brought by Chinese-owned Addax Petroleum over oil field rights. The firm won an early round of that case in 2013, with the tribunal refusing to grant interim measures in Addax’s favour. The dispute settled in January 2014.

Recent events

Betto Seraglini was also retained by Accor Group in June 2014 for a €10 million ICC claim against the west African state of Togo. The claim focuses on the non-renewal of a commercial lease for a seafront hotel in the capital, Lomé.

The firm also continued its work for controversial French businessman Bernard Tapie, helping him to defend a €403 million award against judicial review proceedings brought by the French government. In April 2014, the the Paris Court of Appeal dismissed one of three challenges against the award.

Christophe Seraglini co-authored a treatise on domestic and international arbitration in France with Supreme Court advocate Jérôme Ortscheidt, which earned them the prestigious Montesquieu Circle prize from the French legal business community in 2014.

Client comment

A client from Brazil says that the team impressed with their ability to grasp Brazilian law, in addition to French and international law.

Pascal Longy, in-house counsel at French aircraft manufacturer Snecma (part of the Safran Group) singles out Betto for his “particular care” in all aspects of the arbitration and praises him for his detailed preparation of the case.

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