With discreet counsel on the limits of discretion, [Pillsbury] lawyers ushered in a new era of cooperation between a tight-lipped industry and a government whose zeal knows no borders.
The American Lawyer's Global Legal Awards, Tax Investigations

Fabio Leonardi concentrates on white-collar defense, represents corporations and individuals in criminal and civil trials, government investigations and agency enforcement actions, leads corporate internal investigations and advises on regulatory compliance matters.

Having served in federal law enforcement at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and with substantial experience in criminal and civil enforcement matters ranging from money laundering, tax evasion, securities fraud and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) to antitrust, cybercrime, health care fraud, False Claims Act, export controls and corruption, Mr. Leonardi is particularly well suited to defend clients in the courtroom as well as negotiate with federal prosecutors, regulators and law enforcement agents from a wide array of government authorities such as the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

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Mr. Leonardi routinely represents clients throughout the United States and his practice has also taken him to several countries within South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. In addition, many of his white-collar defense and government investigation cases have involved intense media and public scrutiny and have been reported by The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Financial Times, Forbes, TIME, ESPN, Bloomberg, Miami Herald, Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Economist and The Moscow Times, among others.

Mr. Leonardi is a graduate of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ (NACDL) White Collar Criminal Defense College. His articles and legal analyses on important white-collar defense topics have appeared in numerous national and international publications and he is often quoted by industry journals and magazines.

Representative Experience

Represented several Swiss banks in probes by DOJ and IRS into offshore accounts held by American depositors; negotiated the second smallest fine out of all the substantially capitalized banks participating in DOJ’s Tax Program.


Represented numerous officers and employees in parallel DOJ and SEC investigations for alleged Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations in Asia, South America, Russia and Eastern Europe, and conducted anti-corruption internal investigations.


Defended former FIFA official and president of Central American national soccer federation charged with money laundering, fraud, conspiracy and racketeering as part of DOJ’s worldwide investigation into FIFA’s World Cup tournaments.

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Mr. Leonardi’s recent representative matters include:

  • FCPA, International Trade, Antitrust and Other Investigations
    • Represented a former executive of a multinational retail company in a parallel SEC/DOJ investigation involving allegations of bribery of government officials in South America and Central Asia.
    • Represented a key employee of a multinational pharmaceutical company in a parallel SEC/DOJ investigation involving allegations of bribery of government officials in Eastern European countries.
    • Represented the president of a transport company in a parallel SEC/DOJ investigation involving bribery allegations of government officials in Eastern Europe.
    • Represented the U.S. subsidiary of a foreign heavy equipment corporation in an internal corporate investigation regarding allegations of bribery of government officials in South America.
    • Advised a large U.S. pension fund on FCPA due diligence matters in connection with a significant cross-border portfolio acquisition.
    • Defending aerospace company in criminal Export Administration Regulations (EAR) investigation regarding aircraft exports to an Asian country.
    • Assisted U.S. parent in self-reporting OFAC violations by Asian subsidiary regarding power tool exports to a Middle-Eastern country.
    • Represented energy company in DOJ investigation for Atomic Energy Act (AEA) violations in Asia.
    • Conducted internal investigation of U.S. Department of Defense contractor for potential government fraud and False Claims Act violations.
    • Defended senior executive of European-owned U.S. manufacturer in DOJ criminal antitrust investigation.
  • Tax Crimes, Money Laundering, Fraud and Securities Enforcement
    • Defended former FIFA official and former president of a Central American soccer federation charged with RICO, fraud and money laundering in connection with the sale of TV marketing rights to FIFA World Cup tournaments.
    • Represented several Swiss banks in probes by the DOJ and IRS into offshore accounts held by American depositors; negotiated the second smallest fine out of all the substantially capitalized banks participating in the DOJ Tax Program.
    • Defended Indian national charged with money laundering and bank fraud in connection with an international DOJ investigation involving over 300 shell companies and operations in the U.S., United Kingdom, India and Panama.
    • Represented a prominent local businessman in an IRS criminal investigation and indictment by the U.S. Attorney’s Office regarding allegations of tax evasion.
    • Represented the CEO of a global manufacturing company and the company in an SEC investigation for insider trading.
    • Represented the CEO of a private equity firm and the company in an SEC investigation for insider trading.
    • Represented a senior executive of a large financial institution in a parallel investigation by the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the SEC and DOJ.
    • Advised a Middle Eastern private equity firm in connection with securities enforcement and regulatory compliance related to investments in Asian stock markets.
  • Cybercrime, Asset Forfeiture, Health Care Fraud and Other Matters
    • Defended the target of a DOJ investigation for various cybercrimes including computer intrusion and access device fraud.
    • Represented an Eastern European OFAC-sanctioned conglomerate in a DOJ civil asset forfeiture action related to alleged internal money laundering and violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) in the Middle East.
    • Represented several executives of a national healthcare company in a Federal Election Commission (FEC) investigation involving allegations of campaign finance law violations.
    • Represented one of the country’s largest financial institutions in negotiations with DOJ to resolve asset forfeiture proceedings related to alleged government fraud charges; successfully settled dispute to safeguard the bank’s investments in the forfeited assets.
    • Defended medical provider in qui tam action alleging violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute.
    • Represented a foreign sovereign nation in connection with the evaluation of potential criminal violations as well as related interactions with US law enforcement representatives.
    • Represented a multinational logging company in connection with U.S. and foreign asset recovery proceedings related to African court judgments.

Professional Highlights

Represent indigent criminal defendants as pro bono attorney for the U.S. Federal Defender’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.


Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, teaching course on white-collar criminal defense focused on investigating and defending tax fraud and other tax crimes as well as federal criminal trial practice.


Member of Pillsbury’s Washington, DC office Attorney Recruiting Committee and former member of the Firm’s Non-Partner Attorney Development Committee..

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  • Honors & Awards
    • Capitol Pro Bono High Honor Roll, District of Columbia Courts (2013, 2015)
    • Balfour Award, PDP International Legal Institute (2010)
    • Third Best Orator, WTO Law International Moot Court Competition, U.S. Rounds, (2009)
    • Italian-American Heritage Award, New York City’s Columbian Lawyers Association of the First Judicial Department (2008)
  • Associations
    • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
    • American Bar Association and Past Co-Chair of Tax Incentives Subcommittee
    • District of Columbia Bar Association
    • New York City’s Columbian Lawyers Association of Italian-American Lawyers
    • Board Member, Georgetown University Law Center Recent Alumni Advisory Council
    • Faculty Member, Georgetown University Law Center
  • External Publications
    • Tackling the Heart of the Problem: Prosecuting Medically Unnecessary Stent Procedures, ABA Criminal Justice Magazine, 2017
    • Tax Enforcement in the Caribbean: Strategies for Financial Institutions and Asset Managers, Cayman Financial Review, 2016
    • False Claims Act Penalties to Double, Medical Economics (quote), 2016
    • New SEC Payment Disclosure Rules Raise FCPA Concerns for Energy Companies, Corporate Compliance Insights, 2016
    • The New Frontier for Bank Secrecy Act Prosecutions: Trade-Based Money Laundering, Law360 - White Collar, 2016
    • Hong Kong and Singapore Banks: Awaiting a New DOJ Tax Program for Asian Banks?, Barron’s Asia (article ref.), 2016
    • FCPA Pilot Program Formalizes Rewards but Relies on Discretionary Implementation, General Counsel News, 2016
    • Supreme Court Takes Broad View of False Claims Act: Watch Your Non-CMS Compliance, DecisionHealth (quote), 2016
    • 9 Fashion Jobs You’ve Never Heard of, Teen Vogue (quote), 2016
    • DOJ’s New White-Collar Policy Directs Prosecutors to Focus on Individual Accountability, Lexology, 2015
    • Indirect Real Property Transfer Taxes in Non-Real Estate Transactions, The Federal Lawyer, 2015
    • District of Columbia Practice Manual (chapter contributor), 2012
    • U.S. Court of Appeals Holds New Jersey’s Retroactive Escheatment of SVC Funds Unconstitutional, LexisNexis Corporate/Securities Law Community, 2012
    • The Sky is Not the Limit: A Review of U.S. Space Transportation Law from a WTO Perspective, Indian Journal of International Economic Law, 2011
    • New Jersey Supreme Court Holds Throwout Rule Is Facially Constitutional But Unconstitutionally Applied, LexisNexis Tax Law Community, 2011
    • A Bailout for the International Trade System: Rescuing the WTO from TARP, International Trade & Business Law Review, 2011
    • Italy Aims for Simpler Settlement System, International Tax Review, 2009
  • Presentations/Speaking Engagements
    • Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman CLE Presentation, September 27, 2016, “Follow the Money: the Evolution of the Panama Papers”
    • Georgetown University Law Center, January 13, 2016, “FCPA, Anti-Corruption and International M&A”
    • Georgetown University Law Center, March 26, 2015, “From Backpack to Briefcase”
    • Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman CLE Webinar, April 14, 2015, “Addressing the Tax Challenges of the Digital Economy”
    • George Washington University Law School, January 2014, “Navigating the LLM and International Career Path”
    • Georgetown University Law Center, January 11-14, 2011, “Law in a Global Context”
    • Georgetown University Law Center, November 17, 2010, “State & Local Tax”
    • George Washington University Law School, April 6, 2010 “How to Get an International Law Paper Published”

Education

  • LL.M., Taxation, Georgetown University Law Center, 2011

    J.D., The George Washington University Law School, 2010

    B.A., University of Padua (Italy), 2007

    University of Michigan, 2006

Admissions

  • District of Columbia

    Florida

    New York

Courts

  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

    U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland

    U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida

    U.S. Tax Court

Languages

  • Italian

    Spanish