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Saturday, May 18, 2024 | Back issues
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Attorney Accused of Embezzling $15 Million

MANHATTAN (CN) - A New York attorney specializing in international estate planning "shamelessly looted" more than $15 million from five clients over a decade, according to a complaint in New York County Court. The complaint adds: "It is unclear whether [Winthrop Ross] Munyan planned his scheme from the outset or if he slithered into it as the opportunity arose."

Five plaintiffs - Establishment Finapart, Establishment Figest, Establishment Gour-Sande, Establishment Elatia, and Establishment Sundekon - sued Winthrop Ross Munyan, Riad & Associates PC, Kinbrace Corporation, Dr. Peter Ritter, Dr. Guido Meier, Mr. Peter Meyer, and Pictet & Cie in this 52-page complaint.

It alleges that "from Jan. 1, 1997 to Dec. 31, 2007, in clear breach of his fiduciary duties, Munyan embezzled millions of dollars from the Establishments and certain offshore companies by making improper transfers to three companies that had no reasons for receiving payments from the Establishments: (1) Riad, a small New York-based law firm with which Munyan was affiliated at the relevant time, (2) Kinbrace, a Liberian flow-through entity that was operated on behalf of Munyan by defendant Ritter, and (3) American Express, for payment of Munyan's personal credit card account."

The complaint adds: "Munyan shamelessly looted millions of dollars from the very bank accounts he was meant to manage on behalf of the Establishments and their related offshore companies, all while living the high life, eating lavish meals at expensive restaurants, enjoying extravagant travel, often flying on the Concorde, and maintaining an apartment in Paris and hotel suites in London."

Plaintiffs claim Munyan funneled $10.6 million through Kinbrace's account at Citibank, which was "the main conduit through which Munyan perpetuated his fraudulent scheme". They claim he "brazenly used the Establishments' funds" to pay $3.8 million in personal American Express bills, and fraudulently transferred $1.1 million to Riad bank accounts, though "there is no evidence to suggest that Riad did in fact perform any valid services for the Establishments ..."

Plaintiffs are represented by Michael Feldberg with Allen & Overy.

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