Lee G. Dunst is a litigation partner in the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Mr. Dunst is a member of Gibson Dunn’s White Collar Defense and Investigations Practice Group. His practice covers a wide range of government investigations and white-collar criminal and regulatory matters, as well as general commercial litigation, including securities class action cases, accountants’ liability cases, and general business matters. Mr. Dunst’s extensive experience includes white collar criminal and regulatory investigations on behalf of numerous clients across the globe, including Fortune 500 companies, accounting firms, corporate executives, and special board committees. Mr. Dunst has a particular focus on matters involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), including investigations of alleged violations and general compliance advice and evaluations. Additionally, he regularly represents major accounting firms in connection with regulatory investigations of complex accounting and audit issues.
Mr. Dunst has been recognized in The Legal 500 US for his work in connection with Gibson Dunn’s White Collar Defense and Investigations practice. The publication has described Mr. Dunst as “knowledgeable and responsive,” and noted that he “provides a broad range of expertise and regularly advises clients accused of corporate fraud and alleged accounting irregularities, as well as FCPA violations.” He has been named a “Litigation Star” and “Local Litigation Star” by Benchmark Litigation in its 2017-2020 editions, which has noted that he has “been responsible for a lot of big investigations.” In March 2020, The Am Law Litigation Daily named Mr. Dunst as “Litigator of the Week” for obtaining a successful jury verdict on behalf of a Fortune 250 company. Mr. Dunst also speaks and writes extensively on white collar regulatory issues, as well as matters concerning civil commercial litigation. He also serves as an Adviser to the American Law Institute’s Principles of the Law of Compliance Enforcement & Risk Management project.
He has represented various corporations, accounting firms and individual clients in connection with white collar criminal investigations by federal and state prosecutors (including the Department of Justice and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office), as well as civil investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the New York Attorney General’s office, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the Public Company Accounting Board and various state regulators. His cases have included the representation of senior business executives and corporate entities in connection with criminal and regulatory investigations of various types of alleged corporate fraud, whistleblower allegations and alleged accounting irregularities, as well as alleged violations of the FCPA. He also has conducted numerous internal investigations of alleged misconduct at many United States and international companies and personally has traveled to nearly twenty countries on five continents for these investigations. Notably, Mr. Dunst has served in major leadership roles in the FCPA compliance monitorships of Statoil ASA and Alliance One International.
Mr. Dunst also has been involved extensively in the successful defense of several securities class action lawsuits filed against major accounting firms, underwriters, and corporate executives in federal and state courts in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland. He also has defended members of boards of directors in several litigations relating to their performance of their fiduciary duties as board members.
Prior to joining the Firm, Mr. Dunst served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of New York from 1995 through 2000, and was involved in a series of significant criminal investigations and prosecutions. He led the investigation and prosecution of an international money laundering organization that operated in the United States and Switzerland, resulting in numerous convictions and the imposition of financial penalties of nearly $10 million, which he successfully defended upon appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In another case, Mr. Dunst received the Director’s Award for Superior Performance from the Department of Justice for the successful prosecution of an insurance fraud scheme that resulted in the payment of $20 million in restitution. During his tenure with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Dunst also served as the Deputy Chief of the Narcotics Section and was widely quoted in the national and international media, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and The Times of London.
Mr. Dunst has served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Pro Bono Panel and was appointed to represent pro se plaintiffs for purposes of several appeals to the Second Circuit. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Democracy Prep Charter School, which has been ranked as one of the leading public schools in New York City. Mr. Dunst also serves on the Advisory Board of the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, which is the first primary-care program in New York City specifically designed for the health needs of adolescents.
Mr. Dunst graduated magna cum laude from Brown University in 1986 and cum laude from New York University School of Law in 1992. Following law school, Mr. Dunst clerked for the Honorable Reena Raggi, then of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York and now on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Significant FCPA Representations
- Och-Ziff: Represented Och-Ziff, a major hedge fund, in connection with the settlement of U.S. government investigations of possible FCPA issues in connection with its investment activities in Africa and the Middle East.
- Fortune 150 company: Serving as regular outside counsel for a Fortune 150 company and conducted multiple internal investigations concerning FCPA issues relating to its operations in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Russia.
- Statoil: Served in a senior leadership role in the compliance monitorship of Statoil, a major international oil and gas company, concerning FCPA issues relating to a deferred prosecution agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice.
- Alliance One: Served in a senior leadership role in the compliance monitorship of Alliance One, an international tobacco leaf company, concerning FCPA issues relating to a deferred prosecution agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice.
- Confidential corporate client: Conducted an internal investigation on behalf of a confidential corporate client into potential FCPA issues concerning the company’s activities in China.
- Confidential corporate clients: Regularly involved with due diligence reviews of potential FCPA issues in connection with numerous corporate transactions, including initial public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate debt transactions.
Significant White-Collar Representations
- Fortune 500 company: Representing an international company in connection with a Securities and Exchange Commission of possible revenue recognition issues at its operations across North America.
- Accounting firm: Representing a non-U.S. accounting firm in connection with Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice investigations of possible revenue recognition issues relating to a major pharmaceutical company.
- Accounting firms: Representing several non-U.S. accounting firms in connection with Public Company Accounting Oversight Board inquiries regarding possible independence issues.
- Investment Management Firm: Representing a global investment management firm in connection with Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission investigations relating to alleged improper conduct concerning the U.S. government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (better known as “TARP”).
- Dewey & LeBoeuf law firm: Represented several witnesses in connection with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office prosecution of former management of the Dewey & LeBoeuf law firm.
- Fortune 500 company: Conducted an internal investigation concerning allegations of ethical misconduct by a senior executive.
- Accounting firm: Represented a non-U.S. accounting firm in connection with a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board inquiry regarding revenue recognition issues.
- Fortune 250 company: Represented a Fortune 250 company in connection with government investigations and civil litigation regarding its former asset-based lending division.
- Confidential corporate client: Represented a confidential corporate client in connection with an investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey into alleged sales of commercial products to sanctioned countries.
- Audit Committee of a Fortune 50 company: Conducted an internal investigation concerning senior executive compensation-related issues.
- Accounting firm: Represented a non-U.S. accounting firm in connection with a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation concerning the China operations of a publicly traded corporation.
- Major international reinsurance company: Represented a major international reinsurance company in connection with a state attorney general investigation of alleged civil antitrust violations.
- Confidential corporate client: Represented a confidential corporate client in connection with an investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York into issues relating to the subprime meltdown in the real estate market.
- Confidential corporate client: Represented a confidential corporate client in connection with an investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York into alleged sales of commercial products to sanctioned countries.
- Confidential client: Represented a confidential client in connection with an investigation by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
- Deloitte Netherlands: Represented Deloitte Netherlands in connection with various matters arising from the disclosure of improprieties at Royal Ahold, a Dutch company and the world’s third largest supermarket group, including securities class action litigation and investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (class action dismissed and no regulatory actions filed).
- Major international reinsurance company: Represented a major international reinsurance company in connection with industry-wide investigations into the use of “finite reinsurance” and related insurance products by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and numerous state regulators, as well as related private civil litigation (no regulatory actions filed).
- Tyco International: Represented Tyco International in connection with the prosecution of former management’s improper conduct by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
- Pharmaceutical products company: Represented the former Chief Executive Officer concerning an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission of alleged accounting improprieties (no regulatory action filed).
- Special litigation committee: Represented the special litigation committee of the board of directors of a pharmaceutical company concerning an investigation by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission of alleged accounting improprieties.
- Major international shipping company: Conducted an internal investigation at a major international shipping company concerning the activities of a former senior executive who pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges involving his conduct prior to joining the company.
- Former member of an internal New York Stock Exchange committee: Represented the former member of an internal New York Stock Exchange committee in connection with the litigation filed by the New York Attorney General’s Office against Richard Grasso, the former head of the New York Stock Exchange.
Significant Civil Litigation Representations
- Fortune 250 company: Representing a Fortune 250 company in connection with civil litigation arising out of financing related to an alleged “Ponzi” scheme.
- Senior executive of an international chemical company: Representing a senior executive of a global chemical company in connection with securities class action litigation concerning alleged FCPA issues with its operations in Africa.
- Senior executive of American International Group: Representing a senior executive of AIG in connection with securities class action litigation concerning the company’s credit default swap transactions and the 2008 bailout by the U.S. government.
- Accounting firm: Represented a non-U.S. accounting firm in connection with a securities class action relating to the financial statements issued by a Chinese reverse-merger company.
- Canadian-based company: Represented a Canadian-based company in connection with a securities class action relating to public statements regarding its business operations in Africa.
- Fortune 100 company: Represented a Fortune 100 company in connection with a securities class action relating to the initial public offering of a Canadian-based company.
- Foreign head of state: Represented the Emir of Kuwait in a civil lawsuit in connection with alleged violations of international law.
- Fortune 250 company: Represented a Fortune 250 company in connection with civil litigation regarding its former asset-based lending division.
- Major financial institutions: Represented several underwriters in connection with securities class action litigation arising from the initial public offering of Orion Energy Systems.
- Major financial institutions: Represented several underwriters in connection with the securities class action litigation concerning Star Gas, one of the largest home heating oil distributors in the United States (class action dismissed).
- Deloitte Canada: Represented Deloitte Canada in connection with United States securities class action litigation arising from the disclosure of misconduct at Livent, an international theatrical production company based in Canada.
- Nonparty witnesses: Represented nonparty witnesses in Canada and the Netherlands in connection with their depositions in the United States litigation resulting from the disclosure of improprieties at Parmalat.
- Various companies and corporate executives: Represented various companies and corporate executives in connection with governmental investigations and related civil suits concerning allegations of improper stock option backdating practices.
- “Update/Laws and Enforcement – Compliance in the Trump Era,” Statoil Integrity Compliance Forum (November 9, 2017).
- “FCPA Year in Review,” Lawline (October 5, 2017).
- “FCPA Year in Review and What to Watch for in 2017,” Strafford FCPA Seminar (February 1, 2017).
- “FCPA Investigations and Enforcement: Developments and Updates (moderator),” PLI’s White Collar Crime 2016 (September 30, 2016).
- “FCPA Flash – A Conversation With Lee Dunst Regarding Voluntary Disclosure And Cooperation,” FCPA Professor Podcast (September 14, 2016).
- “Managing the Challenges of Foreign Anti-Corruption Legislation,” Seminar with Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg (Toronto, Canada; June 2, 2016).
- “The Yates Memo – Individual Accountability for Corporate Wrongdoing,” Corporate Compliance and Ethics Council of the Conference Board (February 18, 2016).
- “Ethics & Disclosure Process in an International Environment,” International Operations Accounting Conference (October 27, 2015).
- “Managing Anti-Corruption Risk: Practical Advice for Addressing Issues Relating to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.” Eastern Regional Fall Conference of the Society of Corporate Secretaries & Governance Professionals (September 28, 2015).
- “M&A Transactions and Anti-Corruption Laws,” International Bar Association’s 14th Annual International Mergers and Acquisitions Conference (June 10, 2015).
- “Corruption and the FCPA,” Asia Business Conference at Harvard Business School (March 1, 2015).
- “Mastering Internal Investigations & Corporate Compliance,” Rossdale Group Webcast (January 7, 2015).
- “Regulators Roundtable,” PLI’s Internal Investigations Seminar (June 30, 2014).
- “Recent Trends in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Litigation, Enforcement & Compliance,” N.Y.C. Bar Center for Continuing Legal Education (April 2, 2014).
- “Anti-Bribery Enforcement Involving Companies and Individuals Outside the U.S.” Seminar with GKH Law Offices (Tel Aviv, Israel; October 8, 2013).
- “Global Fraud: Managing Internal Investigations,” The Japan Society Corporate Program (October 23, 2012).
- “Evidentiary Disclosures in Parallel Criminal and Civil Proceedings,” Strafford Webinar (July 18, 2012).
- “Corporate Governance in the Global Marketplace: New Players, Cross-border Investing, and Corporate Crime,” NYU Journal of Law & Business Symposium (January 27, 2012).
- “Staying Alert and Compliant—How to Adapt to the FCPA and UK Bribery Act Changes,” Thomson Reuters Accelus Webinar (November 9, 2011).
- “Chinese Reverse Merger Companies: Handling Government Investigations and Civil Litigation,” West LegalEdcenter Webcast (November 3, 2011).
- “Ensuring the Success of Your Anti-Corruption Compliance Program in China: Adapting Program Structure, Risk Assessment Procedures and Code of Conduct to Local Conditions,” American Conference Institute’s Global Forum on Anti-Corruption Compliance in Emerging Markets (June 16, 2011).
- “Foreign Corrupt Practice Act Compliance Programs and Corporate Compliance Monitorships—An Overview,” Thomson Reuters Governance, Risk and Compliance Forum (June 5, 2011).
- “Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Bank’s Responsibilities,” Florida International Bankers Association Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Conference (February 19, 2010).
- “Addressing Corruption Risk: The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Insurance Industry Perspective,” Webcast to the American Council of Life Insurers (December 9, 2009).
- “Financial Crime: Fighting the Next War,” Complinet’s Third Annual New York Customer Summit (October 30, 2009).
- “Overview of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Related Due Diligence Issues: The Financial Services Industry Perspective,” Deloitte AML Strategic Leadership Group Webcast (October 6, 2009).
- “Staying Out of Trouble: SEC Enforcement and Class-Action Litigation Update,” SEC Institute (May 29, 2009).
- “Addressing Corruption Risk: The Convergence of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Anti-Money Laundering Concerns,” In-House Presentation by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and Deloitte (May 28, 2009).
- “Managing Your Exposure to the Long-Arm Jurisdiction of the US Courts,” International Litigation and Fraud Conference (May 20, 2008; London, England).
- “Corporate Fraud Prosecutions: The Shifting Legal Landscape,” Practicing Law Institute Webcast (October 10, 2007).
- “Stock Options Backdating: Navigating the Criminal, Civil and Regulatory Landmines,” Teleconference by the Legal Publishing Group of Strafford Publications (January 10, 2007).
- “Challenges in Compliance and Corporate Governance” Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher Webcast (January 9, 2007).
- “Walking the Tightrope: Understanding Stock Option Backdating to Avoid the Fall,” Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher Webcast (August 7, 2006).
- “Staying Out of Trouble: SEC Enforcement and the Current Litigation Landscape,” SEC Institute (June 28, 2005).
- “White Collar Crime,” Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts, Fourth Edition (December 2016).
- “DOJ’s Expectations for Voluntary Disclosure and Cooperation: In Loco Parentis for Corporations?” NYU Law’s Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement, (August 31, 2016).
- “City of Pontiac v. UBS AG, The Continued Limitation of the Extraterritorial Application of U.S. Securities Laws,” Wall Street Lawyer (July 2014).
- “Border Insecurity: Searches and Seizures of Electronic Devices Entering the U.S.,” Bloomberg BNA Criminal Law Reporter (March 26, 2014).
- “Defending Claims Under the Securities Act of 1933,” Securities Litigation: A Practitioner’s Guide (September 2013, including 2014 & 2015 updates).
- “Evidentiary Disclosures in Parallel Criminal and Civil Cases in the United States,” Newsletter of the Litigation Committee of the Legal Practice Division of the International Bar Association (September 2013).
- “Avoiding and Navigating Compliance Monitorships,” Newsletter of the Anti-Corruption Committee of the Legal Practice Division of the International Bar Association (September 2013).
- “White Collar Crime,” Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts, Third Edition (December 2011, including 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015 updates).
- “Hot Off the Press: Resetting the Global Anti-Corruption Thermostat to the UK Bribery Act,” Business Law International (September 2011).
- “Alien Encounters – global companies must be wary of the controversial US Alien Tort Claims Act,” UK Legal Week (June 2, 2011).
Significant Pro Bono Representations
- Appointed by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to serve as amicus curiae counsel to defend a district court decision denying a criminal defendant’s motion to seal his sentencing proceedings and then successfully argued for and obtained affirmation of the district court’s decision.
- Appointed by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to represent a pro se plaintiff regarding his medical indifference claims against prison officials in the City of New York and then successfully argued for and obtained reversal of the district court’s earlier dismissal of his complaint.