Bougartchev Moyne Associés AARPI
4 place Saint Thomas d’Aquin
75007, Paris, France
Kiril Bougartchev is praised by sources as "an excellent lawyer" who is specialised in criminal litigation.
Co-founder, in January 2017, of the law firm Bougartchev Moyne Associés, Kiril Bougartchev is, with 34 years of experience, one of the most renowned lawyers in the Paris market in criminal business law, commercial litigation and regulatory (AMF/AFA/ACPR) litigation. He has been involved in many notorious white-collar crime cases, including sensitive political and financial matters. He also advises clients in the conception, implementation and strengthening of their anticorruption and compliance programmes, and assists them in connection with controls undertaken by the AFA.
What do you enjoy most about practising corporate criminal law?
Firstly, the cases that we work on are complex matters, combining numbers and law, meaning that defining the best strategy necessarily requires an understanding of these two aspects. Besides, the stakes of such cases have become colossal, whether in monetary terms or for our clients’ image. Moreover, this is an area where defending companies, banks or financial institutions does not exclude the possibility of very high stakes on a human level. Finally, the cases that we deal with systematically have an international dimension, which means educating oneself in foreign legal systems. Taken together, it is a fascinating subject.
How has the market changed since you first started practising?
I would say that everything has changed except for one thing, our determination to defend the interests of our clients. Law firms have become a major player of the economic world. They have also undergone a digital revolution and have had to structure themselves accordingly (legal databases, increasingly dematerialised proceedings, etc.). Finally, they have had to accept becoming service providers who, like any other, are subject to heightened competition and, consequently, increasingly formalised selection processes.
What challenges accompany helping clients across a wide range of sectors in their anticorruption and compliance programmes?
When it comes to anticorruption and, more broadly, compliance, the difficulty lies in the fact that each company is different, not only in its activities but also in its organisation. The risks they face are not the same depending on the sectors and countries of activity and must therefore be approached differently. In the same way, the compliance system to be put in place must be adapted to the organisation and functioning of the company. Not taking this into account means running the risk of setting up a paper system, which is inefficient by nature. In other words, there are as many compliance systems as there are companies.
In your opinion, what are the benefits and challenges of virtual hearings? What role do you see them having in the future?
During the covid-19 pandemic, the use of virtual hearings was facilitated so that, in the most urgent cases, justice could continue to be rendered. This technological evolution continues in civil and commercial courts, where most of the steps of a proceedings are now dematerialised. In criminal matters, and even when you represent a company, the human aspect is essential and makes the practice of virtual hearings difficult. In other words, virtual hearings have some advantages but should not lead to the dehumanisation of the criminal trial and increase the gap between litigants, lawyers and judges.
What impact will technological developments and digitalisation have on financial crimes?
The evolution of technology is diversifying the types of fraud that companies face. For example, the widespread use of remote working during the covid-19 pandemic and the resulting distance between people has led to an increase in fraud cases (fraud to the chairman, hacking etc.).
On the other hand, the means of investigation, whether those of the judicial authorities or those of companies, are also evolving, which has the effect of balancing things out, even if the latter are lagging behind the former.
Looking back over your career, what is the most memorable case you have been a part of?
Without doubt, the “Elf affair”, a major politico-financial scandal that I had the chance to work on and which, for me, is an indelible memory in my professional life.
How do you see your practice developing over the next five years?
Five years after its creation, the firm is now a brand, and it is now up to us to further strengthen its reputation.
In that respect, we will continue to develop our “best friends” network. Indeed, law firms of all sizes continue to be our main source of work. Next, we will continue to develop our practice in matters of compliance/internal investigations, which is our second largest area after white-collar crime. Finally, we are seeking for growth, reserving a future to our associates. In this respect, since its opening, the firm has appointed two new partners who were part of the original team.
Where, in your opinion, does the future of the practice area lie?
In the field of white-collar crime and due to the influence of Anglo-Saxon practices, our practice is moving more and more towards the solutions of “negotiated justice” (the French DPA, plea bargaining etc.). That said, we remain litigation lawyers and must not lose sight of the defence of our clients’ interests.