commit: fb200d8 - #595 (2014-04-14 00:44:57 -0400)
I've seen multiple successful recoveries off the back of a combination of link removal and disavowal in the past few months. Definitely works, just be careful and try and rip down as many site wide links as you can so it looks like you've got a good portion of the bad link profile taken down and you're disavowing the rest.
For manual penalties yes but for penguin doesn't seem so.
Still waiting on the refresh for that one mate. Hoping that when it happens the disavow will be taken into account, which in theory it should.