The International Academy of Financial Crime Litigators


The International Academy of Financial Crime Litigators is a collaboration between public- and private-sector litigation professionals and the renowned Basel Institute on Governance. Members of The Academy aim to promote worldwide access to solutions in cases of economic crime by sharpening litigation skills and sharing research, experiences and best practices. Members have been handpicked for their extensive experience in the area of financial crime litigation or for their interest in research, data collection and analysis of corruption and other economic crimes.


The mission of The International Academy of Financial Crime Litigators is to be an independent non-partisan global center of excellence in all aspects of financial crimes by promoting international cooperation, access to justice and due process in the interests of victims and accused.


The Academy will unite academic and litigation professionals who are masters of financial crime defense and prosecution to promote access to justice in asset recovery and cases of economic crime.


The Academy holds these values as most paramount in achieving success:

  • Respect for members of the bar and professionals on “all sides” of economic crime cases.
  • Openness, collegiality and confidentiality to encourage members to freely discuss legal theories and litigation techniques.



As creators of The Academy, Stéphane Bonifassi, Lincoln Caylor and Elizabeth Ortega recognized the need for a multijurisdictional approach, based on ethical and intellectual principles, to navigating one of law’s fastest-evolving disciplines – financial-crime litigation. They saw the Basel Institute as a valuable and necessary partner to help The Academy expand the body of knowledge about economic crimes and how to address them.

Stéphane Bonifassi, founder of Bonifassi Avocats in Paris, has concentrated his practice on complex, international financial crimes for nearly three decades. Working in the criminal courts, Bonifassi combines targeted investigative and litigation tactics to track and recover stolen or hidden assets, as well as defend those accused of committing financial crimes. He has been recognized as the “dean of the Parisian Bar” for his mastery of all aspects of the French legal system, paired with his ability to manage corresponding proceedings abroad.

Lincoln Caylor, of Bennett Jones in Toronto, has similarly dedicated his practice to litigation involving international economic crimes and is regarded as the No. 1 asset-recovery lawyer in Canada. He leads groundbreaking asset-tracing investigations and pursues asset-recovery litigation and enforcement actions in prominent, high-value international financial frauds and other economic crimes. Caylor is regularly retained or invited to advise on complex, multi-jurisdictional asset-recovery strategies. For his contributions to Canada, he is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

With over 20 years in the legal field, 14 of them running ECO Strategic Communications in Miami, Elizabeth Ortega is a strategic communicator and leadership coach who counsels professional service firms and thought leaders worldwide. As an expert in business development strategies and litigation public relations, she advises and represents professional firms and their clients about communications related to high-profile international legal matters. Her aim is to seize the narrative on behalf of her clients–when and if appropriate–and set the record straight.


Basel Institute on Governance

The Basel Institute on Governance, an independent not-for-profit competence center associated with the University of Basel, collaborates worldwide with the public and private sectors to combat corruption and other financial crimes and improve the quality of governance. Membership Criteria

Basel institute on Governance

Membership criteria


Fellows have the highest ethical and moral standards, as well as unimpeachable character. To be considered for membership, a professional must have been fully engaged for at least 10 years and with a proven track record in the practice of litigation of financial and economic crime cases. Geographic distribution is open. Significantly, no qualified candidate will be excluded from consideration or denied membership due to race, gender, religion or national origin. The Academy and its fellows seek to treat every person with dignity and respect, and to facilitate an inclusive, collegial atmosphere that celebrates differences in its membership.

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