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Palmina Fava

Palmina M. Fava Partner, Government Investigations & White Collar Criminal Defense

With over 20 years of experience, Palmina represents clients in internal and government investigations, litigation, and corporate governance counseling, with a principal focus on matters involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), international anti-corruption, anti-money laundering and anti-bribery laws, accounting irregularities, bid rigging and unfair trade practices, off-label pharmaceutical marketing, misappropriation of trade secrets, fraud, cybersecurity, and data privacy.

Palmina regularly represents companies in matters before the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), other federal and state agencies, and international regulatory bodies. She leads teams in investigations in Latin America, throughout Western and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Relying on her extensive language skills, she is capable of assisting clients in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and English.

Palmina also designs and implements comprehensive, practical, and user-friendly corporate compliance programs tailored to a client’s particular risks and growth strategies. She provides employee and third-party training; conducts proactive reviews of a client’s high-risk business areas; structures commercial arrangements to protect against compliance risks; and handles due diligence of agents, joint venture partners, and targets in mergers and acquisitions or other investment transactions.

Palmina’s litigation practice focuses on commercial, business tort, and intellectual property disputes. She has served as lead litigation and trial counsel in matters involving breaches of fiduciary duty, breaches of contract, fraud, negligence, misappropriation of trade secrets, and insurance coverage. She has tried and defended cases in federal and state courts, and before arbitration panels, and represented clients in appellate arguments, mediations, and negotiations.

Experience Highlights

Criminal, Government & Internal Investigations

  • Representing a state-owned energy company in South America in an internal and government investigation of a multi-hundred million dollar alternative energy project 
  • Representing a Silicon Valley-based technology company in internal and government investigations in Latin America, Europe, and Africa 
  • Representing a witness in a government investigation of corruption in Central America 
  • Representing a pharmaceutical company in investigations and compliance matters in Italy, Spain, and China 
  • Represented a commodity industry leader in investigations of fraud in India and Israel; assisted the entity in related litigation
  • Represented a company based in Mexico in an SEC investigation 
  • Represented a Silicon Valley-based technology company in internal investigations in Europe (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, and Germany) related to potential violations of the FCPA; handled the voluntary disclosures of the matters to the DOJ and the SEC; obtained a complete declination from the DOJ and the SEC related to all of the matters (no fines or penalties)
  • Represented a technology company in an internal investigation and in external disputes with business partners related to transactions in the Middle East 
  • Represented a pharmaceutical company in an off-label marketing investigation by the government, including representing and negotiating a settlement agreement of senior sales representatives and managers of the company 

Compliance, Due Diligence & Risk Assessments

  • Representing Silicon Valley-based technology companies in developing and implementing global compliance programs
  • Representing a technology conglomerate in enhancing its compliance program and conducting risk-based diligence 
  • Representing a multilevel marketing company in developing and implementing a compliance program for its Latin America operations 
  • Representing a private equity fund in anti-corruption due diligence for a $1 billion acquisition in Western Europe 
  • Representing companies based in Korea in developing and implementing global compliance programs 
  • Representing several large financial institutions and private equity funds in transactional due diligence for deals in the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America 
  • Representing an energy company in Brazil in a risk assessment of its business practices and in developing a comprehensive anti-corruption compliance program 
  • Represented pharmaceutical companies in risk assessments of their sales and marketing activities in China, Korea, Thailand, Brazil, Spain, Portugal, and Italy 
  • Represented an energy fund in pre-acquisition anti-corruption due diligence of a billion dollar infrastructure project in Brazil 
  • Represented a pharmaceutical company in an internal risk assessment and analysis of its global anti-corruption compliance program and related processes and protocols; recommended, and assisted in implementing enhancements to the anti-corruption compliance program; analyzed implementation in India, Russia, Turkey, Brazil, China, and the U.K. 
  • Represented a technology company in drafting and implementing a robust global compliance program, including training and due diligence of third parties 

Commercial Litigation

  • Represented companies based in Korea in trade secret litigation; conducted trade secret compliance training for personnel based in Korea 
  • Represented U.S. and Hong Kong-based companies in litigation in the U.S. related to their commercial activities in Hong Kong


Contact Details

New York

T +1.212.237.0061
F +1.917.849.5388
pfava@velaw.com
666 Fifth Avenue
26th Floor
New York, NY 10103
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Palmina's Practices

  • Fordham University School of Law, J.D. with honors, 1997
  • Georgetown University, B.A. cum laude, 1994
  • Universita di Bologna (Italy), 1993 (Intensive course of study in International Diplomacy)
  • Admitted to practice: New York; United States Supreme Court; Federal Circuit Court of Appeals; the United States District Courts for the Southern District of New York, the Eastern District of New York, and the District of New Jersey
  • Other Languages: Fluent in Italian; proficient in Spanish and Portuguese; working knowledge of French
  • Prior to joining Vinson & Elkins, Palmina practiced for over 20 years at two other large international law firms, based in their New York and Palo Alto offices. She co-chaired the Global Compliance and Disputes practice, served on the Compensation Committee, and held other leadership roles at her former firms.
  • Ethisphere Institute, Attorneys Who Matter List – Specialist, 2014, 2015, and 2017; Rising Star in the fields of FCPA, compliance and ethics, 2012 and 2013
  • Global Investigations Review, member of the team named Most Impressive Investigations Practice, 2017
  • Global Investigations Review, Future Leader in Investigations, 2017
  • New York Times Magazine Top Women Lawyers in New York
  • Fordham Law School, Joseph D. Crowley Award, 1997; Pro Bono Service Award, 1997; Moot Court Distinguished Alumnae Award, 2017
  • Italian Government, Distinguished Service Award Recipient, 1997
  • Burton Award, Distinguished Legal Writing, 2014
  • Kidney and Urology Foundation of America, Woman of the Year Award, 2013
  • Board of Directors, New Classrooms
  • Vice President and Member: Board of Trustees of the Kidney & Urology Foundation of America
  • Member: Ladies Auxiliary, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion Post