Risk Update

Odds and Ends — Panama Papers in the Press, Paralegal Wire Transfer Trouble & A Lost Briefcase

Panama Papers law firm Mossack Fonseca sues Netflix over The Laundromat” —

  • “The partners of the offshore law firm whose confidential files were exposed in the Panama Papers leak, Mossack Fonseca, have launched defamation action against Netflix over a movie about the scandal that is due to be released on Friday.”
  • “In a US lawsuit filed on Tuesday, Jurgen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca say The Laundromat, in which they are respectively played by Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas, portrays them as ‘ruthless uncaring lawyers who are involved in money laundering, tax evasion, bribery and/or other criminal conduct’ and ask the court to stop it from being screened.”
  • “In documents filed to the court they say the release of the film is likely to subject them to ‘additional bail and/or conditions for each new crime imputed to them in the movie’ in Panama, where they are set to go on trial on charges related to the law firm.”
  • “And it would also interfere with their right to a fair trial in the US, where they are under investigation by the FBI, they said in a legal memorandum filed with the district court in Connecticut.”

And thus we witness the Streisand Effect in action. Netflix has yet to respond, but no doubt appreciates the promotional attention… (Given that the article notes the actors in play, I’m now thinking about the issue of who plays whom in these kinds of films. Can one argue that Gary Oldman evoking both Batman’s Commissioner Gordon (good guy) and the Fifth Element’s Zerg (bad guy) will affect my perception of Mr. Mossack when I now watch this film? (It also features Meryl Streep, who is always excellent…) Oh, it looks like the movie bills itself as a comedy.)

And since we’re in “odds and ends” territory, this one caught my eye recently (the law firm’s identity has not yet been published): “The Nigerian Email Scammer Who Stole Millions From Premier League Club, NY Law Firm, Banks” —

  • “Abbas, 37, was arrested when he arrived in Chicago from Dubai on Thursday night. He faces criminal charges for being the leader of a transnational network that allegedly conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars through email scams and other schemes, some of which targeted a New York law firm, a foreign bank and an English Premier League soccer club.”
  • “However, when one member was arrested in October, 2019, shortly after a New York law firm was duped into wiring almost $1 million, investigators obtained a search warrant to go through his iPhone and found messages that blew open the inner workings of the group.”
  • “Abbas had allegedly tricked one of the law firm’s paralegals into wiring $922,857, intended for a client’s real estate refinancing, to a Chase Bank account controlled by Abbas. The paralegal emailed a Citizens Bank email address to verify instructions for the wire transfer but it was a spoof email address set up by Abbas.”

Junior solicitor banned for lies about briefcase left on a train” –

  • “A junior solicitor who left a suitcase with sensitive documents on a train – then lied to her firm to buy herself time to find it – has been struck off the roll. Claire Louise Matthews had been working in the Birmingham office of national firm Capsticks for a month when she left a colleague’s briefcase on the train on her commute home.”
  • “Matthews told the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal she was ‘overcome by uncontrollable fear, anxiety and panic’ in the following days. Six days after losing the briefcase she told a colleague that she had left it at home, then a day later she emailed her supervisor to say it had been left on a train that morning.”
  • “The briefcase contained a matter file for a sensitive case involving a litigant in person who had made a claim against the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Capsticks is regularly instructed by the SRA for its regulatory and litigation work.”
  • “The SRA said Matthews’ conduct was not a ‘moment of madness’. Rather, her conduct was self-serving and her only motivation was to protect herself against the risk, as she perceived it, of jeopardising her employment.”