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About Tobias D. McKinnon

Tobias is an associate in our International Disputes Group, working with our Tokyo and Singapore offices. 

Tobias focuses his practice on complex international contentious work, covering both the private and public law spheres. His practice encompasses global investigations (including ESG investigations), white-collar and other corporate crime, economic sanctions and export controls, as well as commercial litigation and arbitration (including investor-state disputes). Tobias has gained substantial expertise in running cross-border investigations involving the United States Department of Justice, the Securities & Exchange Commission, and the Department of State; the United Kingdom's Serious Fraud Office; the French Parquet National Financier; and Singapore's Commercial Affairs Department. He has also assisted claimants and defendants in commercial arbitrations governed by LCIA, HKIAC, SIAC and UNCITRAL rules seated in a variety of jurisdictions, often in the context of white-collar defence.

Tobias has a strong background in the law of evidence and criminal and civil procedure. He has published and given extensive internal and client training on issues such as legal professional privilege, disclosure obligations, and the admissibility of evidence in criminal and civil proceedings. He has also lectured on these topics at university level. Tobias has appeared before masters in the English High Court in relation to different types of interlocutory applications. He also has an interest in e-discovery and has advised widely on this topic across cases and practice areas. Tobias has acted for a wide array of pro bono clients, with a strong interest in judicial review, immigration-related work, and criminal law reform.

Prior to joining Freshfields, Tobias gained experience at leading international law firms in London and Singapore, and at the European Commission in Brussels, working on civil disputes, white-collar and corporate crime, economic sanctions, and international trade. Most recently, Tobias was an associate in the Tier-1 ranked white-collar defence and securities litigation practice of a major U.S. law firm's London office. He has also been on client secondment in France to one of the world’s largest aircraft and defence manufacturing conglomerates.

Tobias is admitted to practice in New York and registered as a foreign lawyer in Singapore. He has worked on matters involving English, French, German, and Spanish.

Recent work

  • Advising a major financial institution on investigations by the Enforcement Directorate and other Indian regulators into property investments. 
  • Advising a Korean cosmetics manufacturer in relation to contractual and insurance claims in respect of a medicinal product. 
  • Advising an energy investor on the assignment of an award in an investor-state arbitration.
  • Advising companies in Asia on disclosure obligations and legal professional privilege in civil, regulatory and criminal proceedings.
  • Advising a global cryptocurrency exchange in a Hong Kong-seated commercial arbitration and litigation.

  • Advising a noteholder in relation to a winding up petition brought in the Hong Kong courts.

  • Advising a global energy company in connection with an investigation by the Singapore Police Force’s Commercial Affairs Department.

  • Advising various Japanese companies and trading houses on their global economic sanctions, export control, and countermeasures obligations, including obligations under US, EU, and UK legislation.

  • Advising a Hong Kong real estate company on implementing a bespoke sanctions compliance programme.  

  • Advising a leading global aircraft and defence manufacturing group in a cross-border investigation into allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption in its civil aviation business, and negotiating a deferred prosecution agreement worth around USD 4 billion with British, French and U.S. regulators.*
  • Advising a leading global aircraft and defence manufacturing group in defending civil- and common-law seated arbitral proceedings.*
  • Advising the board of a major U.S. utilities company in its internal investigation carried out in response to threatened derivative shareholder actions.*
  • Advising a leading non-governmental organization on country submissions to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review.*
  • Assisting a major investment bank in its cross-border investigation into allegations of bribery and corruption.*
  • Assisting on obtaining enforcement of an arbitral award through the English court system against the assets of an entity subject to European and U.S. sanctions.*

*Prior to joining Freshfields.



  • M.A. in Jurisprudence, University of Oxford, Christ Church
  • Hogan Lovells LLP Scholarship in Law


  • Attorney and Counselor at Law, New York
  • Registered Foreign Lawyer, Singapore


  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese (elementary)
  • Spanish