Michael van Zyl

Associate Director

  • Asia Pacific
  • Investigation Services
  • Due Diligence
  • Ethics and Compliance Consulting
Tokyo Email

Michael van Zyl is based in Tokyo and leads Control Risks’ business intelligence practice for Japan. He focuses on due diligence, asset tracing, dispute support and investigations related to companies and individuals in Greater China and Japan. With more than 15 years’ experience in the media and consulting industries, Michael’s technical specialities are compliance and risk management consulting, corporate governance assessment, and managing complex multi-jurisdictional projects. 

 Recent tasks that Michael has worked on include:

  • Due diligence into commercial and industrial land purchases in Japan, with a focus on red flags related to potential bribery, links to anti-social forces (ASF), money laundering or ESG-related concerns related to previous land transactions. The projects also covered confirmation of the land ownership, background checks into the landowners and their ultimate beneficial owners.
  • Investigation into the debt restructuring efforts of a mainland China-based and -listed property developer, assessment of the encumbrances on its project assets and site visits to understand the construction and sales status of projects. The focus of the project was to establish the likelihood that the developer would recover cash from uncompleted projects or whether it risked defaulting on bonds due in the near future.
  • Investigation into the fraudulent use of a Hong Kong-based investment fund’s name to misrepresent investment opportunities in listed companies on mainland China-based stock exchanges. The project comprised mapping the extent of the fraud, understanding the modus operandi of the fraudsters and possible precedents, assessing the reputational damage to the client, and establishing who was possibly masterminding the scam.
    Before joining Control Risks, Michael worked as the chief compliance officer of a Shanghai-based research consultancy where he was engaged in compliance training, policy drafting, contract review and regulatory research. He started his career as a financial journalist. Michael holds a master’s degree in finance and financial law from the Centre for Financial and Management Studies (CeFiMS) at SOAS, University of London, and a bachelor’s degree in financial analysis from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

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