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A Christmas Classic

Christmas Star

A Christmas classic from James McGrath, a valued colleague in the FCPA space with a candid wit, who passed away in 2014. The below post originally appeared on McGrath’s Internal Investigations Blog on December 24, 2012.

The allegations being investigated surround gifts being given by individual businessmen to the family of an Israeli government official a number of years ago.  These businessmen – a Mr. Balthasar, a Mr. Gaspar, and a Mr. Melchior – supposedly provided a family in the royal line of King David with significant gifts, including gold, frankincense, and myrrh, in return for favorable consideration of an as-yet undetermined project in the Middle East.

The three men are believed to be third-party intermediaries for a multitude of Christian church organizations within the United States, and any jurisdictional nexus would seem to be predicated upon such a fact, if verified.

Whether any member of the family that received the gifts was or is a “government official” – as that term has come to be expansively defined by the DOJ – is unverified, but nonetheless likely.  While Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index does not reference them in any of its yearly rosters, there is a large volume of other source material that seemingly establishes one or more of them as being related to the ruling family in Israel.

Regardless of the strength of the government’s case in these regards, there is still the hurdle presented by the age of the alleged violations.  They are reported to have occurred approximately 2,012 years ago.  The DOJ could be expected to assert that the clock did not begin to run until the government recently became aware of Balthazar’s, Gaspar’s, and Melchior’s conduct, however, there appears to be a strong argument that voluntary self-disclosure was made some time ago, thus commencing the running – and expiration – of the statutory period.

This line of inquiry will continue in multiple, parallel investigations.

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