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Oran Gelb is Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner’s UK head of Banking Litigation. He has acted on high profile litigation and investigations for some of the largest global financial institutions as well as clients in a range of other sectors, including technology, telecoms, retail and transport.  He has represented clients in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. He has also represented firms and individuals in front of regulators and competition authorities in the UK, Europe, the US and Asia.

Oran has detailed insight into how global institutions operate. He has spent time working in-house on client secondments at Morgan Stanley, Barclays and The Royal Bank of Scotland.

Oran is recognised in Chambers and Legal 500 as a Leading Individual for Banking Litigation and Commercial Litigation. 

He is described in those directories as “incredibly intelligent and incredibly diligent - a star of the future” and combining “excellent analytical and tactical judgement with a commercial, client-friendly approach'”. Examples of recent work include: internal and regulatory investigations for global investment banks relating to a variety of matters including foreign exchange sales and trading, alleged mismarking, transaction reporting and competition breaches in bond markets, acting for a major telecoms provider in a ongoing legal proceedings with another major telecoms company, a contractual dispute for a hedge fund defending claims by a firm alleging it was owed introductory fees for bringing new investments to the fund; defending a major bank and its employee against claims for fraud, negligence and unjust enrichment by a victim of a substantial Ponzi scheme.

Oran is a contributing author to Financial Regulation: Emerging Themes in 2021 – an extensive collection of articles around the themes of Brexit; Regulatory Change; Regulatory and Litigation Risk; Technology; Governance; and Sustainability and People.


Representative Experience

  • Financial Services investigations - We acted for a leading global investment bank. The firm was required by regulators in various jurisdictions to conduct an extensive investigation into the client’s FX sales and trading business following industry-wide allegations of manipulation and anti-competitive behaviour in the foreign exchange spot market. Led a cross-practice BLP team, made up of financial regulatory, competition, financial crime and employment lawyers from different jurisdictions, to advise the bank on strategy, conduct the investigation alongside US Counsel and represent the firm in discussions with financial and antitrust regulators worldwide. We also advised the bank on its policies and procedures.
  • Corporate investigations - We acted for a listed commercial company on an investigation by the London Stock Exchange following a public profits warning. We conducted a detailed review of the relevant facts and prepared a submission to the Exchange. The investigation was subsequently discontinued by the Exchange without any action being taken against the company, its officers or employees.
  • High Court Litigation - Successfully defended NatWest and one of its employees in defending a High Court claim of breach of contract, negligence and dishonest assistance arising from a Ponzi scheme. The claimants alleged that the bank ignored evidence that its accounts were used to conduct one of Britain’s biggest larges schemes. The case culminated in a 4 week trial and all the claims were dismissed. The Court concluded that both NatWest and the relationship manager had acted entirely properly and honestly throughout.
  • Appellate Court Litigation - Acted for Eurosail, the issuer of £650m of loan notes in a structured finance transaction. The documents provided that a potential event of default may occur if the issuer is deemed unable to pay its debts within the meaning of Section 123(2) of the Insolvency Act 1986. We advanced the position that Eurosail was not insolvent within the meaning of the statute despite the net liabilities in its balance sheet. The Supreme Court unanimously confirmed what BLP had argued successfully at first instance and in the Court of Appeal; the solvency of Eurosail 3BL, and in doing so provided definitive clarification on the balance sheet test of insolvency. The ruling was extremely significant for the securitisation and insolvency markets; providing the seminal judgment on what constitutes balance sheet insolvency and the factors that need to be taken into account by directors and advisers of all companies, not just securitisation vehicles.
  • Overseas litigation - Acted for a leading global investment bank in defending a £20m claim by the Winding Up Board of Kaupthing. The claim arose following an event of default under various credit default swaps which referenced Kaupthing. The claimant is seeking to argue, amongst other things, that the swaps should be rescinded. Although the claim was brought in Iceland under Icelandic procedural law, we are working alongside Icelandic Counsel in managing all aspects of the claim, including drafting statements of case, collating and reviewing evidence and formulating strategy.