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Distinguished Practitioner




Practice area:


Mr. Gary GAO is the Partner and the Head of Compliance & Regulatory Department of Beijing Zhong Lun Law Firm. He has got LLM in UK and his working languages are English and Chinese. He has practiced law for 25 years, which makes him an experienced lawyer. Before admitted by PRC Bar in 1995, he worked as a criminal judge in a district court in Shanghai since 1990.

More than 25 years of work experience in compliance and international dispute solution makes Mr. Gary GAO has full understanding of the whole operation of the enterprises, and, he is very familiar with the international business skills and traps in the negotiations and accumulate rich experience for the compliance of companies. Mr. Gary GAO has provided legal services to a numerous multinational enterprises, institutions and large domestic enterprises and has been widely praised by clients.

Airbus S.A.S. - The client is one of the largest aircraft manufacturing company worldwide. Gary was engaged as a PRC counsel to assist the client to handle a multi-jurisdictional anti-corruption investigation from the French Parquet National Financier (“PNF”), the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the UK Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”). This case is also the biggest case PNF has worked on in history and the highest fine amount in cross-border anti-corruption sanctions.

Gary’s service targets the PNF, DOJ and SFO’s investigation into possible misconduct by intermediaries and senior government officials in the sale and purchase of aircraft in China. Gary utilised his extensive experience in government enforcement compliance matters, performed multi-level and multi-faceted legal defence techniques (attorney-client privilege, etc.), and delicately grasped the deep understandings on domestic political sensitivities and of international compliance policies. Gary helped the client to successfully design a solution that met the investigation requirements of the overseas regulators without triggering governmental investigations in China. In this case, Gary also demonstrated his oriental wisdom to closely team up with international well-known offshore law firms and professional lawyers, and to bridge up the civil law and common law mindsets.

Luckin Coffee Inc. - The client is the biggest chain coffee brand in China. Gary assisted the client’s Special Committee of the Board of Directors to operate a thorough internal investigation against a few senior executives and provided profound evidence in support of the response to the inquiries from the U.S. SEC. Gary’s team was intensively engaged to conduct state secret review and provide legal service to the client from PRC law perspective. When the investigation started, it was in the middle of the U.S.-China Trade War and prior to the China Securities Regulatory Commission (“CSRC”) rendered any clear guidance to the client. Gary worked closely with the client’s international counsels from foreign law firms, participated in the high-level decision-making meetings with the client’s senior executives, brought clear and practical legal proposals to the client at several critical company survival occasions. Gary’s bold and feasible action plans helped the client to stand up to the pressure under parallel regulatory investigations from both mainland China and the U.S. The client also survived from the delisting crisis.

CBRE Global Investors (Asia Pacific) Ltd - The Chinese shareholder and its appointed management passed an invalid board resolution to provide loan out of JV’s funds to its affiliate, at the same time, obtained control over the JV’s bank account where the RMB 200 million funds sit. The legal representative of the JV, appointed by the foreign shareholder, found out this and instructed us to engage with the bank and issue formal letter to it to freeze the account, which has timely prevented the PRC party from withdrawing money. Later on, we initiated legal proceedings to recover control of the bank account and obtained a freezing order over the bank account, buying name for DLA Piper to solve certain issues offshore. The PRC party fight back, claiming that the legal rep has infringed the JV’s interests by freezing the bank account and causing losses of interests, and asking the legal rep to compensate millions of RMB to the JV. This is not a straightforward case - the first instance court had to held three hearings before rendering a judgment. However, both the first instance court and appeal court ruled in favor of us, deciding that the legal rep had no intention to cause losses to the JV, and that the legal rep’ actions taken under exceptional circumstances are neither illegal nor unethical. The dispute between the two parties is still ongoing.

This case concerns control of a joint venture, reminding us again of the importance of a properly designed corporate governance structure. Procedurally, there was difficulty with using whose name and what cause action to bring an action. For our side, the specific governance structure of this JV restricted us from obtaining authorization from the foreign shareholder to bring an action, and we were limited with using the legal rep’s name to bring an action. The PRC party has its own problem because they cannot instruct the legal rep to file a lawsuit, which is commonly seen in PRC proceedings, they had to instruct a corporate body named supervisor to file the lawsuit, which has faced doubts from the judge of appeal court. Substantively, as is usual with this kind of case, the facts were complicated, and the parties brought various actions against each other, which required us to present facts in a focused manner and deal with different actions at the same time. In addition, we had to come up with and deploy strategy given the specific situation of JV, especially the governance structure of the JV, including not to bring an action to invalidate board resolutions which the PRC Party has made such effects to pass. The judge in charge of this case wrote an article about the significance and underneath legal theory. The Supreme Court gave an award to the judge which evidence the recognition of the case.

A Top-tier Chinese Trust Management Company - deal with the cross-border business disputes arising from foreign investment on behalf of the client. The subject matter of dispute reaching tens of billions yuan. In the case, Mr. Gary GAO cooperated with overseas law firms and filed four legal processes on behalf of clients in PRC, Hong Kong, ICC and Cayman Islands simultaneously. As the leading lawyers in the PRC legal process, Mr. Gary GAO’s team finally won the victory in PRC legal process for the client.

  • Competition/antitrust
  • Corporate and M&A
  • Dispute resolution
  • Regulatory
  • Restructuring and insolvency

  • Aviation and shipping
  • Industrials and manufacturing
  • Oil and gas
  • Pharmaceuticals and life sciences
  • Technology and telecommunications

  • Member of the “Addressing Issues of Corruption in International Arbitration” Task Force of the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR
  • Council Member of China Academy of Arbitration Law
  • Anti-Corruption Committee of International Bar Association (IBA), Committee Member
  • Arbitration Committee of International Bar Association (IBA), Committee Member
  • Business Crime Committee of International Bar Association (IBA), Committee Member
  • Litigation Committee of International Bar Association (IBA), Committee Member

  • LLM from the University of Hertfordshire in the UK (1999-2000)
  • LLB from the East China Institute of Political Science and Law (1986 - 1990) (Currently: East China University of Political Science and Law)