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Judicial Decision

Updates in the FCPA prosecutions of Lawrence Hoskins and Frank Chatburn.

Hoskins

This previous post highlighted how Lawrence Hoskins (a U.K. national criminally charged with FCPA offenses in 2013) recently argued “enough is enough” as he seeks dismissal of the indictment based on violations of the Speedy Trial Act and his constitutional rights to a fair and speedy trial.

As reported here:

“[A] Connecticut federal judge appeared torn [last week] between postponing the September bribery trial of a British former executive of French multinational Alstom SA, who has complained that long delays in the case violated his rights, and leaving him little time to review a new deluge of evidence.”

[…]

At a motion hearing [last week], Judge Arterton described the situation as a dilemma and questioned attorneys on how to proceed in light of Hoskins’ claims that prosecutors have both caused delays that affect his rights and left him too little time to comb through the emails before trial. She expressed resistance to the idea of delaying trial yet again. “Either we are going to go to trial in September or there isn’t going to be a case,” the judge said.

See here for additional reading.

Chatburn

As highlighted in this prior post, in April 2018 Frank Roberto Chatburn Ripalda (a dual United States and Ecuadorian citizen) was criminally charged with FCPA and related offenses for conspiring with others by making corrupt payments to PetroEcuador officials in order to obtain and retain contracts for Galileo (described as an Ecuadorian company that provided services in the oil and gas industry) from PetroEcuador.

With trial looming, Chatburn filed a motion to suppress conversations he had with a cooperating witness/confidential informant who secretly recorded those communications.

Specifically, Chatburn alleged that: (1) a criminal defense attorney represented him at the time of his conversations were recorded; (2) government prosecutors knew of the representation but nevertheless directed the informant to record the conversations; (3) an applicable Bar ethics rule binding on the prosecutors prohibited the prosecutors from arranging for those covert recordings; (4) the prosecutors violated the applicable professional responsibility rule; and (5) suppression is the remedy for the purported violation.

In a recent ruling, a magistrate judge recommended that the presiding trial court judge deny the suppression motion. In so ruling, the magistrate judge did not make a finding on whether the prosecutors’ conduct was (or was not) a violation of Florida Bar’s no-contact rule (or similar no-contact rules of other state Bars).

The magistrate judge did nevertheless comment that certain “facts generate at least some support for the notion that the prosecutors could not have contacted Chatburn indirectly by instructing their informant to record conversations about the same subject matter [as a federal grand jury subpoena].”

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