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Kai Liebrich is a partner in the Financial Services Regulatory team in our Disputes practice and the Office Managing Partner in Germany. 

Kai is a finance specialist with a particular focus on (contentious) regulatory. He advises German and international financial institutions, international investment banks and financial investors on a wide range of financial services regulatory issues. He also has special expertise in advising on data privacy issues, investigations, compliance arrangements, governance, and relationships with regulators. Recently, he has advised German financial institutions on certain AML questions.

He has acted for many years on behalf of financial institutions, financial investors and servicers of CMBs on the realization and restructuring of distressed investments.

Kai also has extensive transactional experience in various debt instruments, real estate finance, financial institution M&A, structured products and derivatives transactions.


Kai graduated from the law school of the University of Giessen. In 2007, Kai was seconded to the legal department of Morgan Stanley Bank AG. Prior to joining Herbert Smith Freehills in 2014 Kai was a partner in the Banking and Finance practice of another leading international law firm. Kai speaks English in addition to his native German.

Experience & expertise

Selected matters

  • A global investment bank and major German banking institution in connection with implementing a new global KYC process to improve efficiency. We advised on AML law as well as data privacy aspects and provided an extensive proof of concept and on going assistance on AML obligations in multiple jurisdictions to provide a compliant KYC structure in the pilot jurisdictions.
  • A global investment bank in relation to AML audit findings and preparation for communication with the auditor, and further ongoing regulatory advice, with focus on AML and KYC requirements
  • a global investment bank and major German banking institution in connection with a Section 44 German Banking Act (Kreditwesengesetz) audit by BaFin. The BaFin audit was in particular focused on compliance with know your customer and anti-money laundering proceedings within the bank. We worked with a team cross several jurisdictions, inter alia, UK, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria and USA. This included the work vis-à-vis the relevant regulators in those jurisdictions
  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) in connection with the financing of Midea's announced takeover offer for KUKA (approx. €4 billion)
  • Ana Cap Financial Partners and the founders of Unzer (formerly heidelpay) on the regulatory aspects of the sale of a controlling stake in heidelpay group to KKR
  • Klarna Group, the leading European payment provider on certain regulatory questions relating to BillPay and Sofort 
  • a global investment bank in relation to the regulatory requirements under the new anti-money laundering (AML) laws after the transposition of the 4th EU Money Laundering Directive (4MLD), in particular, consideration of the differences between the KYC requirements under UK law and the laws of countries of the European Union, especially Germany
  • Federal Agency for Financial Market Stabilisation on stabilisation measures for WestLB AG and on the establishment of Erste Abwicklungsanstalt (the first German bad bank)
  • Lone Star on the purchase of IKB Deutsche Industriebank AG
  • Depfa Bank plc. Group in connection with the transfer of risk positions to FMS Wertmanagement (the second German bad bank)