“‘Very analytical’ …regularly engaged in cross-border matters, and is a ‘real expert on OFAC issues.’”Legal 500
Alex Lakatos is a partner in the Washington DC office of Mayer Brown’s Litigation & Dispute Resolution and Financial Services Regulatory & Enforcement practices. Alex practices in complex litigation, particularly in matters arising under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and in other matters on behalf of leading financial institutions.
Alex focuses on complex class and derivative actions under ERISA, including fiduciary and others benefits actions. Alex represents benefit plans, plan sponsors, fiduciaries, and service providers against claims relating to defined contribution (401(k) and 403(b)) plans, as well as in ERISA class actions alleging excessive fees, imprudent investments, and other claims relating to the administration of plan assets and fiduciary responsibilities.
He has significant experience in high stakes cross-border litigation, including issues related to terrorism, sanctions, and international law. He also defends financial institutions wrongly alleged to be responsible for fraud, civil RICO violations, breach of fiduciary duty, and other commercial torts, and brings suit to recover on behalf of clients who have been defrauded or victimized by the misconduct of others. He leads asset recovery and judgment enforcement efforts, both domestically and abroad. He is experienced in contesting issues of particular concern to non-US financial institutions, such as financial privacy, data protection, multi-jurisdictional discovery, choice‑of-law conflicts, OFAC compliance, money laundering and asset forfeiture. Alex frequently has assisted clients with internal investigations, particularly related to the aforementioned areas. He has represented clients as both plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal courts throughout the country.
Alex also counsels clients on issues related to the implementation and utilization of artificial intelligence.
Alex was recognized as a "Client Service All-Star" reported by BTI Consulting Group. BTI commended its winners for their "commitment to client service and ability to surpass the needs and expectations of the world’s most demanding clients" and lauded them for "standing above all others in the eyes of their clients." Alex is also recommended by Legal 500 and noted as an “'excellent communicator' who specialises in advising foreign financial institutions in enforcement actions and litigation.”
Alex is co-chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee and a hiring partner in the Washington DC office.
- Represent a national entertainment company and two related committees in litigation challenging the investment options offered to participants in its savings and retirement plan and alleging breach of fiduciary duty arising from the plan’s decision to offer company-affiliated investment options to participants.]Represent a global engineering and consulting business in a putative ERISA class action challenging the administration of its 401(k) plan with more than 18,000 participants and $2.4 billion in assets. The plaintiffs challenge the plan’s investment structure and particular investments in the plan’s investment lineup.
- Represent a global oil and gas company and its affiliates in a highly publicized class action challenging the administration of its 401(k) plan with more than 33,000 participants and $10 billion in assets. The plaintiffs challenge many administrative actions in administering and operating the plan and the trust, including the plan’s recordkeeping fees, its investment structure, and particular investments in the plan’s investment lineup.
- Secured a major victory for Georgetown University by obtaining dismissal of a class action lawsuit alleging they had mismanaged its retirement plan for faculty and staff. Plaintiffs alleged that they were entitled to hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, but we convinced the court that the claims did not warrant discovery.
- Convinced a California federal court to dismiss all of the plaintiff’s claims alleging that the Board of Directors of the Motion Picture Industry Pension Plans (“MPI”) breached its fiduciary duties by offering a retirement plan with a pooled-asset design and by investing a portion of the plan’s assets in hedge funds and other alternative investments. In granting MPI’s motion to dismiss, the court found that the plan’s pooled-asset design complied with ERISA and that investing in the alternative investments was consistent with the plan’s stated purpose of generating consistent returns in all market environments.
Cross-border litigation (terrorism, sanctions, and international law)
- Represented leading Swiss bank in Anti-Terrorism Act suit based on allegations of provision of banknotes to Iran in violation of US sanctions, resulting in dismissal and affirmed in precedent setting Second Circuit decision.
- Represented Lebanese bank in suit based on allegations that it funded terrorists, resulting in dismissal for lack of jurisdiction.
- Represented major non-US bank in Anti-Terrorism Act suit based on allegations that it processed wire transfers for Iranian counterparties in violation of US sanctions law, resulting in dismissal.
- Represented trade associations in submitting amicus briefs in various Anti-Terrorism Act litigations, supporting favorable decisions.
- Representing major non-US bank in defense of Helms-Burton Act claim, alleging that the bank trafficked in assets expropriated by Cuba.
- Represented Swiss bank, Swiss industrial company, and US automaker in defense of claims alleging liability for human rights violations committed by the government of South Africa, resulting in dismissal and affirmance on appeal.
- Represented Swiss banks in defense of claims alleging liability for human rights abuses by Nazi regime during WWII.
- Represent individual subject to US sanctions for alleged trafficking in Iranian oil; individual was delisted.
Commercial torts (fraud, False Claims Act, civil RICO, breach of fiduciary duty)
- Represented Latin American bank in defense of civil RICO and fraudulent conveyance claims arising from its relationship with a former head of state, resulting in dismissal.
- Represented one of the largest US banks in defense claim that it was negligent in failing to prevent a customer’s Ponzi scheme.
- Represented mid-Western bank in defense of claim that it had a rogue employee who aided and abetted a Ponzi scheme, resulting in dismissal at summary judgment and affirmance on appeal.
- Represented Swiss bank in defense of claim that it laundered money for fraudsters, resulting in dismissal.
- Represented major US bank in defense of claim that it breached fiduciary duties in handing of assets of customer subject to OFAC sanctions, resulting in dismissal and affirmance on appeal.
- Represented mid-Western bank in defending fraud-related claims, recovering assets for the bank from a labor union responsible for the losses.
- Represented Swiss bank in defending False Claims Act litigation seeking over $1 billion, resulting in dismissal.
- Represented various mortgage companies in defending False Claims Act suits.
- Represented Latin American bank in bringing civil RICO claim against former head of state’s agent.
- Represented Swiss private bank in obtaining judgments against parties that defrauded the bank through a Ponzi scheme.
- Represented sustainable technology investment firm in successfully asserting claims against parties that defrauded it in connection with a Mexican hydro project.
- Represent investment fund in connection with fraud claims relating to blockchain investment.
- Represented cryptocurrency exchange to recover money lost due to bitcoin theft.
- Represent former Asian head of state (democratically elected, and subsequently deposed by a coup) in successful efforts to have leading media company correct misstatements about him.
Asset recovery and judgment enforcement
- Represented central bank of Southeast Asian government to recover assets looted by former head of state and secreted in offshore accounts.
- Represented Middle Eastern bank in recovery efforts based upon several non-US judgments.
- Represented Swiss bank in enforcing judgment and recovering assets globally, e.g., United States, Gibraltar, Switzerland, Spain, Vanuatu.
- Represented investment company to enforce New York arbitral award, resulting in recovery of material assets in Hong Kong.
- Represented large US bank in interpleader action concerning the disposition of assets blocked pursuant to US sanctions, and claimed by terrorism judgment holders.
- Represented leading US bank in various garnishment and forfeiture proceedings.
- Represented leading US insurance company in for-cause termination of investment advisor, defeating advisor’s motion for an order precluding termination.
- Represented leading international chemical company in dissolution of joint venture with US partner.
- Represented non-profit organization in termination of vendor and successfully avoided early termination penalty sought by vendor.
- Represented Swiss bank in litigating dispute arising in US court due to its termination of contract with third party provider.
- Represented Fintech company to develop strategy for termination/replacement of vendor whose performance was not satisfactory.
- Represented Fintech start-up to terminate relationship with ICO promotor and avoid termination penalties.
- Represented Caribbean bank in connection with termination of manager who violated company policy.
- Represented Mexican insurance company in developing strategy, negotiating, and raising prospect of litigation against its JV partner, a Netherlands insurance company.
- Represented a casino with international locations, investigating fraud against the casino and possible insider involvement.
- Represented various banks in the Caribbean, Israel and Switzerland, investigating possible aiding and abetting of tax evasion by US customers.
- Represented Canadian bank, investigating potential OFAC violations.
- Represented hedge fund, investigating potential market manipulation.
University of California, Hastings College of the Law, JD, Valedictorian
University of Maryland, BA
- District of Columbia
- US Supreme Court
- US District Court for the District of Columbia
- US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- Board Member, Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, 2009 to present
- Project HOPE International, 2006 Partner of HOPE, for leadership in the provision of pro bono legal support in efforts to fight human trafficking
- American Bar Association