Desmond Lee is a Counsel in Dentons' Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice, based in Hong Kong. His practice focuses on cross-border commercial and financial disputes, as well as regulatory compliance, investigations and enforcement actions, often with cross-border elements.

Desmond is well regarded in the financial services regulatory market, with more than eight years’ experience advising leading international and regional investment banks, commercial banks, private banks, listed companies, listed company directors, investment funds, brokers, market professionals and high net worth individuals. He has advised these clients in relation to a wide range of complex legal, regulatory and risk management issues in Hong Kong, Mainland China, Singapore, the US, the UK, South Korea and Japan. He began his career with an international law firm in Hong Kong in 2009.

In addition to his core regulatory practice, Desmond's work also encompasses dispute resolution in the commercial and financial services arena.


  • Advising and acting as lead Asia Pacific regional counsel for a European commercial and noted bank in tracing and recovery of over US$100 million stolen from its account following a cyber attack.
  • Advising an international financial institution in relation to global foreign exchange benchmark manipulation investigations by regulators in Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, the US and the UK.
  • Advising a financial institution on a global investigation into the conduct of a rogue trader who concealed substantial amount of trading losses over an extended period of time.
  • Advising a brokerage firm regarding a regulatory investigation into potential unlicensed dealing in securities.
  • Advising an investment bank on regulatory investigations into high-frequency algorithmic trading and insider trading.
  • Advising a financial institution in relation to a regulatory investigation into the selling of Minibonds and structured products issued by Lehman Brothers.
  • Assisting a firm in tracing, arresting and extraditing a rogue employee who committed commercial espionage in the UK.
  • Advising a UK-listed company in relation to an anti-corruption investigation, under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, into corrupt actions by employees of the company's Asia Pacific subsidiaries.
  • Advising the directors of a listed company in a high-profile shareholder dispute in Hong Kong.
  • Advising an Chinese state-owned enterprise in relation to a defamation claim against a well-known public figure
  • Defending banks in a number of claims concerning alleged mis-selling of financial products.
  • Advising a trustee in enforcement actions to recover payments of bonds issued by Indian issuers, including commencing recovery and enforcement proceedings in England, Hong Kong, India, Mauritius, Singapore and other offshore jurisdictions.
  • Acting for financial institutions on a number of derivative close-out and restructuring transactions.


  • DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited v San-Hot HK Industrial Company Limited and Hao Ting HCA2279/2008
  • Yantai Wanhua Polyurethanes Co Ltd v PUR Products Ltd [2013] 1 HKLRD 590
  • HKSAR v Tsang Pui-yu, Shirlina DCCC 326 /2013 and CACC 349/2013

Activities and Affiliations


  • "Conflicts of Interest and Confidentiality", Hong Kong Academy of Law, August 20, 2016

Prior and Present Employment

  • Senior managing associate – Dentons, 2016–present
  • Senior associate – Allen & Overy, 2014–2016
  • Associate – Allen & Overy, 2009–2014
  • Trainee – Allen & Overy, 2007–2009