In January, CBS’s 60 Minutes aired Anonymous, Inc. in which a person with Global Witness, pretending to be a lawyer representing a minister from a poor West African country, sought legal advice about investing millions of dollars into the United States.
The African minister supposedly had earned a fortune by “collecting special payments from foreign companies that he’d helped obtain valuable mineral rights.” The minister did not want his identity disclosed.
The Global Witness “impostor” secretly recorded meetings with 16 lawyers in New York with only one of the lawyers advising that he would not discuss the subject. The other lawyers, including the then ABA President, while not agreeing to represent the minister, discussed how to structure investment in the United States to keep the identity of the minister hidden.
CBS and Global Witness acknowledge that the lawyers did not engage in wrongdoing, either legally or ethically.
Nevertheless, what transpired should cause the legal profession to reflect on its role in countering international money laundering.
- Should all of the lawyers have refused to meet with the representative once they heard that the minister from Africa was trying to keep his identity secret while investing money in the United States?
- If no, what limits exist on lawyers in this situation?
- Should new rules be imposed so that lawyers can take a more pro-active role in fight international money laundering?
- What does the scenario mean for the lawyer facing other forms of corruption?
This panel discussion will examine these and related issues.
The program is free and open to the public.
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The Lawyer as the gatekeeper against corruption
Tuesday, March 22
The George Washington University Law School, Jacob Burns Moot Court Room
Introduction: Associate Dean Susan Karamanian, GW Law
Chair: Assistant Dean Jessica Tillipman, GW Law
- Homer Moyer, Miller Chevalier
- Tara Giunta, Paul Hastings
- Professor Peter Margulies, Roger Williams School of Law
No RSVP necessary
Jessica Tillipman is a Senior Editor of the FCPA Blog and Assistant Dean at The George Washington Univeristy Law School. You can follow her on Twitter at @jtillipman.