Risk Update

International Conflicts & Clashes — Updates from Israel and Ecuador (Politics & Big Business)

Lawmaker Says He Told Netanyahu Before Asking to Nix Judge in His Case” —

  • “Shlomo Karhi admitted he notified the prime minister before he demanded one of the judges in Netanyahu’s corruption trial be disqualified for a conflict of interest, after saying he hadn’t.”
  • “Karhi claimed that the son of Jerusalem District Court Judge Rivka Friedman-Feldman once worked in a law firm where one of the senior partners will be called to testify for the prosecution in Netanyahu’s case, disqualifying Friedman-Feldman from the case. In addition, Karhi claimed that this witness is a ‘harsh, blunt critic of the prime minister.'”
  • “When asked whether he had coordinated his request with Netanyahu’s lawyers, he said no. Later, when asked if he had told Netanyahu of his intention to submit the disqualification request to Hayut, Karhi said he had, adding that he ‘I didn’t wait for his permission.'”

Likud MK demands recusal of judge in PM’s trial for alleged conflict of interest” —

  • “In Case 4000, the premier is accused of approving regulatory moves benefiting the controlling shareholder of the Bezeq telecommunications company in exchange for positive news coverage from the company’s Walla news site. Netanyahu, who denies wrongdoing, faces charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in the case.”
  • “The secondary argument made by Karhi is that Hayut recently formulated the rules on recusal to specifically ensure that Friedman-Feldman would not need to step aside. He said that from the moment the judge’s son left the law firm, the two were theoretically able to discuss the case, while other cases would require a 5-year cooling-off period.”
  • “According to the report, Hayut is expected to reject the request. It said the letter is an attempt by Netanyahu and his team to delegitimize the judge and delay the next stage of his trial — if successful, it could take at least a year to replace the judge presiding over such a high-profile case. The evidentiary stage of the trial is set to begin in January. “

Steven Donziger, Who Battled Chevron in Ecuador, Has Been Disbarred” —

  • “After helping indigenous Ecuadorians win a $9.8 billion verdict against Chevron for polluting the Amazon rainforest, Steven Donziger’s decades-long advocacy ended in his disbarment on Thursday.”
  • “Chevron has long claimed that the multibillion-dollar verdict that Donziger obtained for his Ecuadorian clients was fraudulent, and today’s disbarment ruling relies upon the findings of a U.S. judge who ruled in the oil giant’s favor.”
  • “Roughly three years after the judgment against Chevron, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan blocked Donziger from collecting the proceeds on the grounds that it was ‘obtained by corrupt means,’ including bribery and witness tampering.”
  • “Federal prosecutors declined to charge him with any offenses, but Judge Kaplan deputized a private law firm to criminally pursue him for contempt of court, in an extraordinarily rare and controversial for-profit prosecution.”
  • See also more on “for-profit prosecution” and earlier conflicts allegations in the mix.