Kronish Lieb Wins Two Significant Victories in Mercator Case

News Brief

On Friday, July 2, 2004, a team of Kronish Lieb litigators won two significant victories on behalf of client James Giffen who is being prosecuted by the U.S. government in a highly-watched case relating to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Government of Kazakhstan.

In the first decision, United States District Judge William H. Pauley III dismissed the charges pending against Mr. Giffen that relied on a theory that the citizens of Kazakhstan had been deprived of the honest services of their government officials. The defense argued that such a theory of fraud was not permitted under the relevant statute and was unconstitutionally vague. In granting the defense's request that the government prosecution’s theory be rejected, Judge Pauley wrote: “In effect, the Government urges that American notions of honesty in public service developed over two centuries be engrafted on Kazakh jurisprudence.”

The Judge also granted the defense’s request to review documents in possession of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that relate to Mr. Giffen's activities on behalf of the United States.  It  is undisputed that Mr. Giffen provided assistance to the CIA and other agencies of the U.S. government and that he served as an intermediary between the highest officials in Kazakhstan and the United States.  In ordering that the defense be permitted to review these materials, Judge Pauley noted that: “The Government does not dispute the fact that Giffen had frequent contacts with senior intelligence officials of the United States, or that he used his ties within the Kazakh government to assist the United States."

Mr. Giffen is represented by Kronish Lieb lawyers William J. SchwartzSteven M. CohenScott PashmanMatthew Beck and Kevin Galbraith.

Related Contacts
William Schwartz Partner, New York
Related Practices & Industries

White Collar & Regulatory Defense