Consultant | ONTIER UK · London
Ashley is an experienced commercial and insolvency litigator. Ashley has over 35 years’ experience as a solicitor and spent the major part of his career as a partner at Clifford Chance specialising in commercial and banking/financial services and insolvency. He headed the Clifford Chance litigation practice in Hong Kong between 1985 and 1990 and then its London insolvency practice for 8 years.
Ashley has particular experience in multi-jurisdictional and cross-border disputes and has worked on many cases across a large number of commercial and business sectors.
- Acted for a U.S. receiver to recover assets stolen from a company whose investors included a number of high profile Hollywood personalities, where injunctive relief was obtained in several jurisdictions.
- Acted for RTZ against Westinghouse Corporation in relation to the uranium cartel letters rogatory litigation, including applications in both the English and U.S. Courts and hearings at the US Embassy before a Federal Judge sitting as his own Special Master, culminating in a successful hearing in the House of Lords The Court of Appeal and House of Lords judgments were reported: 1977 3 All ER 703 and 1978 1 All ER 434. The applications also dealt with claims to privilege under English and European law, the privilege against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution (including unsuccessful attempts by the US Attorney General to force testimony to be given by intervening to offer immunity from prosecution.
- Acted for a property company in an appeal to the Privy Council in relation to a dispute over the design and construction of the Sydney Stock Exchange.
- Acted for a financial institution in litigation with other banks and the ultimate customer over the allegedly fraudulent calling of performance bonds and counter indemnities which led to litigation against the customer, the appointment by the Court of receivers and subsequent insolvency proceedings.
- Acted for a financial institution in relation to a dispute between two connected customers involving allegations of fraud, including liaising with the police and conducting complicated settlement negotiations in Athens leading to the taking of security over a small Greek island.
- Acted for the liquidators of a construction company in relation to litigation over the construction of two power plants in the Sudan.
- Acted for one of the two joint liquidators of Laker Airways until his resignation and then acted for the same individual as the administrative receiver of various Laker companies and particular aircraft and acted for Midland and Clydesdale Banks and members of the various syndicates for which they were agent bank. In particular, this involved proceedings threatened by the Laker liquidator in the U.S. against Midland alleging a conspiracy on the part of the bank and others to bring about the collapse of Laker. Urgent successful applications were made to the English Court for injunctive relief to prevent the proceedings being brought and the orders obtained were confirmed by the Court of Appeal QB 689.
- Acted for the liquidator of a failed deposit taking company and pursuing a claim for negligence against the company’s former auditors.
- Acted for a firm of accountants charged by the regulatory authorities with investigating the affairs of a Hong Kong bank whose directors were suspected of committing substantial fraud such that the bank was unlikely to survive, conducting a comprehensive investigation and avoiding insolvency by securing an assumption of the bank’s assets and liabilities by a third party.
- Acted for the Special Managers (later liquidators) of a large dyeing and weaving company which resulted in a variety of claims in the liquidation proceedings, the private examinations of members of the family who held a controlling interest in the company and a successful claim to set aside a fraudulent preference upheld by the Court of Appeal in Hong Kong HKCFI 150,  HKCA 245.
- Acted for the Hong Kong Futures Guarantee Corporation (whose shareholders were all major banking institutions) at the time of 1987 crash. The matter was extremely high profile and political and involved giving insolvency advice, helping the Corporation to secure a HK$2 billion lifeboat (which had later to be increased) and securing the support of shareholders for the rescue package. Subsequently proceedings were brought separately against over 40 brokers to recover unpaid margin monies. Some of the proceedings were settled and a number of brokers had to declare themselves insolvent. The litigation continued against the rest of the brokers until settled after about two years by the application of a complicated formula designed to ensure that monies collected by and from the brokers (many of whom had pursued their own customers) were divided in an appropriate manner between the Corporation, the Regulators (who had acquired partial rights of subrogation as against the brokers through the operation of a restricted statutory compensation scheme) and the customers of the brokers who had lost money as a result of the brokers’ default.
- Acted for the provisional liquidators (subsequently the liquidators) of a Bermuda insurance company in litigation brought against certain of the company’s former directors, the auditors, the solicitors and its shareholders in relation to a transaction whereby the company had divested itself of the profitable parts of the business leaving behind a mass of creditors and insufficient assets to meet their claims.
- Acted for a firm of US attorneys representing an insolvent estate in project managing asset tracing litigation in Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Holland, the BVI and the Bahamas involving the misappropriation of sums in excess of $60 million.
- Acted for the administrative receivers of a company to obtain the appointment of provisional liquidators and then to obtain relief in Florida to prevent garnishment of funds due to the company by two creditors to the detriment of the general body of creditors and in subsequent litigation in England by the two creditors seeking to question the rights of the provisional liquidators to prevent the garnishment.
- Acted for a number of institutions in respect of problems arising out of the collapses of both Rafidain Bank and BCCI, including complicated conflict of laws issues and set off arguments.
- Acted for a group of Japanese financial institutions defrauded by Payroll Services Limited, including the formation of a creditor group to petition for the appointment of provisional liquidators and subsequently advising the provisional liquidators on assessing claims and difficult tracing issues and devising a scheme for the settlement of claims that was subsequently sanctioned by the Court. The matter also involved litigation against the principal behind the company in respect of wrongful trading claims.
- Acted for Polly Peck International at the time of its collapse, including advice on the setting up of a Steering Committee to review available options and subsequently drafting documentation for the successful application for an administration order.
- Acted for a Dutch bank in investigating a fraud by a customer, securing the appointment by the Court of provisional liquidators of the customer and receivers of over 80 separate companies directly owned by the principal shareholder of the bank’s customer ; subsequently acted in preparing evidence for the SFO which led to the conviction and imprisonment of the principal shareholder of the customer.
- Acted for Citibank and the syndicate of banks for which it was agent bank in relation to the collapse of ILG/Air Europe, including pre-insolvency planning, the appointment of administrative receivers to special purpose vehicles holding individual aircraft under complicated tax leases, dealing with the recovery of possession of a number of aircraft in various jurisdictions including Malaysia, Spain, Norway and the US, and dealing with various claims to liens over individual aircraft and fleet liens by various airport authorities and Eurocontrol.
- Acted for Credit Suisse in relation to the collapse of the Maxwell empire. This included proceedings brought by Macmillan Inc. and related to two tranches of shares In Berlitz Inc. held as security for Maxwell loans and concerned difficult issues relating to priorities and notice under both English and US law. The trial lasted 120 days and a successful outcome was secured:  3 All ER747. There then followed an appeal to the Court of Appeal as the correct law to be applied as a matter of conflict of laws:  1 All ER 585.The matter also involved further challenges to the bank’s security made by the trustees of the Mirror Pension Fund and by Bishopsgate Investment Trust. After 160 days of trial settlement was reached with the trustees of the Mirror Pension Fund derived from extraneous commercial considerations. The Judge then raised a long list of questions that he required answering by Bishopsgate Investment Trust in its closing submissions and shortly thereafter the case collapsed.
- Acted for the provisional liquidators (subsequently the liquidators) of a Cayman company in litigation in London, Seattle and Pusan in South Korea relating to a dispute between joint venture partners (the ultimate shareholders of the Cayman company) engaged in the Russian factory trawler industry; this involved obtaining world-wide freezing orders against various parties, obtaining restraining orders in Korea and instituting proceedings both in the Federal Court and the Bankruptcy Court in Seattle.
- Acted for British Airways and Air Miles Promotions Limited in litigation resulting from attempts to replace a major participant in the BA Miles and Air Miles loyalty programmes in seeking and defending applications for urgent injunctive relief.
- Acted for Crystal Palace on various matters following the club’s purchase from administrators, including appearances at Football League Tribunals and litigation to enforce a gardening leave provision in the Manager’s contract of service ( the first time this had ever been successfully accomplished).
- Acted for a Taiwanese telecommunications company in a dispute involving sums in excess of US$200 million arising out of a syndicated loan agreement: Deutsche Bank AG and others v Asia Pacific Broadband Wireless Communications Inc and another  EWCA Civ 1091;  2 Lloyds Rep 619.
- Acted for a Malaysian public company in proceedings in London arising out of its involvement with MAS in setting up and managing Royal Air Cambodge (the Cambodian national carrier) and defending claims for breach of contract involving issues of Cambodian law.
- Acted for two Lebanese companies in contempt proceedings brought in the High Court; which matter also included conspiracy proceedings, an appeal to the Privy Council from the Court of Appeal of Bermuda and related proceedings in 12 jurisdictions worldwide:  EWHC 2458 (Comm),  EWHC 2640 (Comm),  EWHC 409 (Comm),  EWHC 1024 (Comm),  EWHC 1780 (Comm);  EWCA Civ 21,  EWCA Civ 64,  EWCA Civ 898;  UKPC 29 (Bermuda).
- Acted for a travel company and related property companies in litigation against a former finance director for an account and payment of sums found to be due from the finance director.
- Acting for Grupo Mexico, one of the largest mining companies in the world, in proceedings brought in England arising out of the mis-use of an English SPV and advising in relation to connected proceedings in Mexico.
- Oxford University (BA Jurisprudence) 1973
- College of Law London 1974
- Admitted as a Solicitor in England & Wales 1976
- Admitted as a Solicitor in Hong Kong 1985
- Consultant since 2010