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Giffen Plans Guilty Plea to Tax Charge

Oil consultant James GiffenBloomberg’s David Glovin is reporting that James Giffen will plead guilty to a tax-related misdemeanor today in federal court in Manhattan.

Giffen has spent more than seven years fighting charges that he bribed government officials in Kazakhstan. Prosecutors alleged that Giffen, 69, paid $84 million to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and other officials in violation of the FCPA. He was a middleman for several Western oil companies.

Giffen “will enter a plea today in federal court in Manhattan to failing to supply information about foreign bank accounts in his tax return,” Glovin reported. In addition, Giffen’s investment bank, Mercator Corp., will plead guilty to a single FCPA offense.

Giffen’s prosecution has been stuck while the parties fought about access to classified documents and procedural matters. Giffen had claimed the U.S. government knew about his work in Kazakhstan and the alleged payments he arranged to leaders there. He has been free on bail since his arrest in 2003.

Glovin’s report didn’t say what punishment Giffen might face from his plea deal.

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