Kenneth A. Caruso - White & Case LLP

Kenneth A. Caruso

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2012
Phone: 212-819-8853

Practice Experience

Kenneth Caruso is a partner in the White Collar and Commercial Litigation practice at White & Case. He has over 30 years of private and public legal experience. Mr. Caruso specializes in civil and criminal litigation and investigations, usually involving international and trans-national matters, primarily for financial institutions in the United States and around the world. He has been recognized in many guides to leading lawyers, such as Chambers USA, Benchmark Litigation, The New York Area's Best Lawyers and New York Super Lawyers. He is one of the few lawyers in New York to be recognized for both white collar and commercial work. The New York Law Journal has described him as a "prominent Manhattan litigator."

Before entering private practice, Mr. Caruso served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York where he prosecuted all phases of federal criminal litigation. He also served as Deputy Associate Attorney General at Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C., where he helped supervise and coordinate the work of the Criminal Division, the United States Attorneys around the country, the FBI and other criminal justice components of the Department of Justice.

In private practice, on the criminal side, Mr. Caruso has appeared in numerous domestic and international matters, often involving related civil litigation, including cases arising under US Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") regulations (and similar New York state laws), the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the anti-money laundering laws, the USA PATRIOT Act, the civil and criminal asset forfeiture laws, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations ("RICO") Act and federal and/or state banking laws, export control laws, anti-terrorism laws and extradition treaties. He also conducts and advises clients on corporate internal investigations and cross-border, asset-recovery investigations relating to the proceeds of fraud, insolvency, money laundering and bribery.

Mr. Caruso has substantial experience, both civil and criminal, in matters involvingfinancial and economic sanctions, including sanctions regimes administered by OFAC against Iran, Cuba, the former Yugoslavia, Belarus, Iraq and other countries. Mr. Caruso advises clients in these matters and -- unlike many lawyers in this field - he also litigates these issues. For example, as described in more detail below, he currently represents a foreign bank in litigation in New York and Miami involving sanctions against Cuba and certain U.S. anti-terrorism legislation. Hausler v. Republic of Cuba, No. 12-1264 (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit). He argued and won Bank of New York v. Norilsk Nickel, 14 A.D.3d 140, 789 N.Y.S.2d 95 (1st Dep't 2004), appeal dismissed, 8 N.Y.3d 918 (2007), a leading case in this field, involving title to electronic funds transfers blocked pursuant to sanctions against the former Yugoslavia. He also currently represents a German bank in a New York State criminal investigation into violations of sanctions against Iran.

On the civil side, Mr. Caruso has extensive experience with recurring issues in international and trans-national commercial litigation, such as the subject matter jurisdiction and the personal jurisdiction of U.S. courts, forum non conveniens, forum-selection agreements, international comity, choice of law, anti-suit injunctions, parallel proceedings, cross-border discovery and evidence-gathering, the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitral awards, foreign expropriation decrees, the Act of State Doctrine, the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and the Alien Tort Statute.

Mr. Caruso has leading expertise, in both civil and criminal matters, in discovery and evidence-gathering in the U.S. for use in foreign proceedings, and litigation involving enforcement of U.S.-issued subpoenas, writs of execution and other process seeking documents and property held offshore.

His matters, civil and criminal, have involved numerous foreign jurisdictions including Argentina, Australia, the Bahamas, Belarus, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, Chile, Dubai, England, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey and Venezuela.

Mr. Caruso appears in trial, bankruptcy and appellate courts in New York City and around the country. He has appeared as lead counsel in more than 35 civil and criminal appeals in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the New York Court of Appeals, the Appellate Division, First Department, and other appellate courts around the country and the State.

By court appointment, Mr. Caruso has served as a special master, as a receiver, as a mediator and as a special prosecutor in an attorney discipline proceeding.

Additional Information

Sanctions and Anti-Terrorism
  • Hausler v. Republic of Cuba, Docket No. 12-1264 (U.S Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit) (argued Feb. 11, 2013), and Hausler v. Republic of Cuba, 08-20197 (S.D. Fla.). In an interpleader proceeding in the Southern District of New York, a judgment creditor of the Republic of Cuba seeks to enforce the judgment against certain electronic funds transfers ("EFTs") blocked pursuant to OFAC regulations. Mr. Caruso represents a foreign bank that makes claims to the same blocked EFTs. The case presents the questions whether the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act ("TRIA") preempts Article 4-A of the Uniform Commercial Code ("UCC"), whether TRIA is unconstitutional under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment and whether TRIA has a retroactive effect. A related proceeding in the Southern District of Florida involves subject matter jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and standing to challenge the judgment as void for lack of such jurisdiction.
Part 2
  • Bank of New York v. Norilsk Nickel, 14 A.D.3d 140, 789 N.Y.S.2d 95 (1st Dep't 2004), appeal dismissed, 8 N.Y.3d 918 (2007), is a key precedent in Hausler and is a leading case in this field. Norilsk Nickel was an interpleader proceeding involving EFTs blocked pursuant to OFAC sanctions against the former Yugoslavia and later attached pursuant to private civil process. The case raised the question of title to the EFTs, whether the OFAC regulations preempted UCC Article 4-A and the constitutionality of UCC Article 4-A. The New York Law Journal reported the decision as its Decision of the Day. On appeal after remand, the Appellate Division also awarded the full amount of damages sought, including attorney's fees. Bank of New York v. Norilsk Nickel, 26 A.D.3d 201, 810 N.Y.S.2d 32 (1st Dep't 2006).
  • In re: Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, 714 F.3d 659 (2d Cir. 2013), counsel to an individual defendant in consolidated actions arising out of the 9/11 attacks, and winning dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction. The case also involves issues arising under the Anti-terrorism Act, the Alien Tort Statute, RICO and other federal statutes.
Part 3
  • Representation of a German bank in a New York state grand jury investigation into transactions with Iranian entities and into related alleged false statements.
  • Conduct of an internal investigation of another German bank, examining the bank’s compliance with U.S. sanctions against Iran.
  • Advising an Eastern European manufacturer of pipes, used in the petroleum industry, in connection with transactions with Iranian entities.
  • Representation of the former CEO of a publicly-traded company in an investigation involving trans-shipment of goods to Iran in alleged violation of federal export control laws and false statements made in a voluntary disclosure to a government agency, leading to closure of the investigation.
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Money Laundering and Related Issues
  • Representation of an executive of an airline based in Western Europe, in a grand jury investigation under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, involving activities in Mexico and other Latin American countries, leading to closure of the investigation.
  • Representation of an individual in a matter involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Travel Act, money laundering and forfeiture of accounts in offshore banks, arising in Latin America.
  • Representation of an individual charged in the United States and Italy with money laundering and related offenses. The matter involves extradition, and issues of speedy trial and double jeopardy.
  • Conduct of an internal investigation into allegations of foreign commercial bribery in Asia by employees of a U.S. private equity fund and officials of a foreign government. Subsequent advice regarding foreign-country investigations and indictments for securities fraud and bribery, tax disputes, and extradition.
  • Representation of an Eastern European bank in a proceeding brought by FinCEN involving allegations of money laundering and the constitutionality of the USA PATRIOT Act.
  • Conduct of an internal investigation into transactions by a New York State-regulated bank in alleged violation of tax, customs and currency laws of Argentina and representation in connection with a related federal criminal investigation.
  • Representation of an international pharmaceutical company in a grand jury investigation involving product contamination.
  • Advice concerning civil RICO and other claims arising out of a scheme to use Delaware and Pennsylvania corporations to defraud a Russian company. The matter arose out of the so-called Adamov affair and involved related indictments and criminal proceedings in Pittsburgh and Moscow. 
  • Defense of a federal criminal tax investigation involving the synthetic fuel industry, leading to closure of the investigation. 
  • Representation of the target of a fraud and embezzlement investigation involving a university in New York City. 
  • Defense of an attorney disciplinary proceeding involving alleged trial misconduct.
Banking and Commercial Matters
  • Morpheus Capital Advisors LLC v. UBS AG, 105 A.D.3d 145, 962 N.Y.S.2d 82 (1st Dep’t 2013) and Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co., defense of litigation seeking a "success fee" for a transaction between UBS and the Swiss National Bank arising out of the financial crisis of 2008. The case involves the legal effect of the government interventions to halt the financial crisis, the question whether a regulated entity can breach a private contract when that entity cooperates with the government, the doctrine of frustration of purpose and related issues.
  • Goldman v. BP Plc, No. 3:06-cv-260, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97286 (D. Alas. Sept. 18, 2007), and In re BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust, No. 4775 (Del. Chan. 2009), defense of litigation, and conduct of an investigation, on behalf of the Bank of New York Mellon ("BNYM"), as trustee for the holders of certain publicly-traded securities ("units"), into potential claims arising out of the shutdowns of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline system at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, in March and August 2006. Mr. Caruso negotiated a settlement, which called for BP to pay the current unitholders more than 99 cents on the dollar and to reimburse BNYM in full for its costs, including attorney's fees. In October 2009, Mr. Caruso argued a motion to approve the settlement, which, over the objection of a former unitholder, the Delaware Chancery Court granted in a ruling from the bench.
Part 2
  • Deutsche Bank AG v. Vitro Envases Norteamérica, S.A. de C.V. ("VENA"), et al., (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co. 2010), conduct of litigation against VENA, a Mexican company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The case involved defaults on derivative swap transactions totaling more than $29 million. The issues included illegality and unconscionability under the Commodity Exchange Act, choice of law, and issues of Mexican law and New York public policy. Mr. Caruso argued Deutsche Bank's motion for summary judgment, which the court granted in April 2010.
  • Application of Gianoli-Aldunate, 3 F.3d 54 (2d Cir. 1993), one of the leading precedents in the field of discovery for use in foreign proceedings. The discovery led to injunctions that froze assets held in trusts in Jersey, Guernsey and the Cayman Islands, and related civil proceedings on the merits in the U.S. and Chile. This case was the first in the country to allow discovery in the U.S. without regard to whether the evidence would have been discoverable in the foreign country. That decision started a trend, which culminated in Intel Corp. v. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., 542 U.S. 241 (2004), in which the Supreme Court agreed with, and cited, Gianoli. See id. at 254 n.7, 260.
Part 3
  • Downs v. Yuen, 298 A.D.2d 177, 748 N.Y.S.2d 131 (1st Dep't 2002), the first case in New York granting recognition to a Hong Kong judgment rendered after Hong Kong reverted to China. The case also involved parallel proceedings in Hong Kong, New York and New Jersey, a multi-jurisdiction asset search, fraudulent conveyances and issues of collateral estoppel.
  • In re New Cap Ins. Ltd., (S.D.N.Y.), winning affirmance on appeal from an order of the Bankruptcy Court. The case involved parallel proceedings in Australia, Pennsylvania and New York, issues of international judgment recognition, anti-suit injunctions and whether the McCarran-Ferguson Act allows state insurance law to reverse-preempt section 304 of the Bankruptcy Code.
  • In re Austrian and German Holocaust Litigation, 250 F.3d 156 (2d Cir. 2001), lead counsel to Dresdner Bank AG in defense of class actions arising out of World War II and the National Socialist era, resulting in the formation of an unprecedented private/government foundation for compensation of victims and related purposes.
  • In re South African Apartheid Litigation, (S.D.N.Y.), counsel to a Swiss company in class actions alleging violations of international law and aiding and abetting the Apartheid regime in South Africa.
  • International claims litigation, involving foreign expropriation decrees in Germany, Iran, Iraq and Turkey, as well as matters involving treaty interpretation and proceedings before claims tribunals.
Other Court Admissions
  • US Supreme Court
  • US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • US District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
  • Supreme Court of the State of New York
Columbia University School of LawJ.D. Rutgers CollegeBA
US District Court, Southern District of New YorkColumbia Law School Board of Visitors

Office Location

1155 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036-2787
United States

Practice Areas

Criminal Defense: White-Collar