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  • NoOne replied to the topic VLSB "spies" on Prosecution Brief from FBI to AFP? in the forum
    The PJC Eco Committee's Whistleblower Inquiry could be interesting. Howard Bowles wanted the SEC reports he's named in because he admitted he spoke to "Mr Jones" before the Sting's arrests went down.

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    3 years ago
  • NoOne replied to the topic Jennie Paluka says "report McGarvie to IBAC" in the forum
    December 6 2016 - 5:25PM
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    Cover-up culture plaguing corporate Australia, inquiry told
    Georgia Wilkins

    Georgia Wilkins
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    A cover-up culture is plaguing corporate Australia, an inquiry has heard, with companies choosing to investigate claims of fraud themselves rather than report them to regulators.

    A Senate inquiry into penalties for white-collar criminals has heard companies are choosing to hire private consultants and "clean up" claims of fraud, leading to crimes being swept under the rug.
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    What is ASIC?

    The 'corporate watchdog' has been everywhere in the last 12 months, but what do they actually do?

    Australian Shareholders' Association director Stephen Mayne said a "cover-up mentality" was rife inside boardrooms.

    "The cover-up culture is very strong," he told the inquiry. "Directors are very conscious of reputation ... you don't want to admit anything that could lead to a class action."

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    Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson set up the inquiry into white collar crime.
    Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson set up the inquiry into white collar crime. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

    He said it was fostered by the belief that Australia's corporate cop – the Australian Securities and Investments Commission – lacked power.

    "There's a real sense that the big boys get away with it," he said.
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    Mark Zirnsak, director of the Justice and International Mission Unit of the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, told the inquiry that conversations with consultants who carried out internal investigations suggested fraud was common.

    "What these firms are saying to us is that they have no shortage of business," he said.

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    Mark Zirnsak, director of the Justice and International Mission Unit of the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania.
    Mark Zirnsak, director of the Justice and International Mission Unit of the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania. Photo: Sahlan Hayes

    "There's a huge caseload of frauds that take place. So there is a sense that Australia's penalties haven't been adequate."

    The Senate standing committees on economics inquiry is tasked with examining the failures of Australia's current criminal and civil penalties for corporate and financial misconduct.

    It was set up by Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson after scandals inside the big banks and a recommendation by the inquiry into the performance of ASIC.

    Dr Zirnsak said surveys with businesses suggested the official statistics on white-collar crime activity significantly underestimated the occurrence of fraud.

    The cover-up culture is very strong.
    Stephen Mayne

    "A lot of this crime is not being pursued through the justice system but being dealt with internally by companies, and that comes at a cost," he said.

    "The conversations seem to indicate that many of their clients would not want the internal fraud made public, they worry about reputation damage and impacts on their business."

    ASIC used the hearing to again call for an increase in penalties for white-collar criminals. It said it supported penalties three times the value of gotten gains and an increase in jail times.

    It also wants "disgorgement" powers to allow it to force repayment of profits from companies and crooks hauled before courts – something it has never had despite being common in other jurisdictions.

    Currently ASIC must instigate separate Proceeds of Crime actions to recoup any winnings of corporate criminals.

    ASIC senior executive leader Chris Savundra defended the agency's record in catching corporate crooks, dismissing criticism that it only goes after the "small fish".

    "It's about seeking to achieve the best spread of outcomes with the resources we have available," he said.

    He said the agency preferred to go after individuals rather than companies so that shareholders would not be affected.

    "When we pursue entities, it is ultimately shareholders who pay those fines," he said.

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    3 years ago
  • NoOne replied to the topic Jennie Paluka says "report McGarvie to IBAC" in the forum
    The crimes act at the end of this looks like cover ups are unethical "misprision of a felony" www.michaelsmithnews.com/2013/05/mark-la...ulias-in-the-cl.html

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    3 years ago
  • NoOne created a new topic ' comet ping pong and McGarvie's board' in the forum.
    Why was Pell's friend McGarvie determined to find out what the FBI stingers knew about the up coming sports star families who want little Jonnie to be the next Power or Dean Jones? Anyone know why he ran round only because the FBI jumped from bushes on American lawyers in the Democrats like Keila Ravelo, or the donor in Santa Monica, Eric Pulier and Boutros Ghali?

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    3 years ago
  • NoOne replied to the topic Jennie Paluka says "report McGarvie to IBAC" in the forum
    Howard Bowles has history with attacks on Harold James Johnson Independent MP in Julia Gillard's seat (chime in Michael Smith News) and David Foster Whistleblower Lawyer. In W.A they went after the WA Unity Party barrister because he supported anti corruption laws, but in Qld they used their position to spy on anti corruption reforms that Katter Culleton Alan Jones and Peter Wellington's coalition wanted, like Assistenant Defence Minister Stuart Robert's connection to council elections of Tom Tate. The anti-pedophophile parties were targeted as well, like Dr. Russell Pridgeon GP. In the end the politicians got this into law, and won't it be great to tell the Parliamentary Inquiry all about Mcgarvie's team tips.



    November 22 2016


    Revealed: Senate deal could see whistleblowers paid a bounty for exposing wrongdoing
    Matthew Knott

    Matthew Knott
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    Australian whistleblowers could be paid a lavish "bounty" for exposing wrongdoing in companies, government departments and charities under reforms to be introduced to Parliament next year by the Turnbull government.

    The government has agreed to introduce stronger whistleblower protections for both the public and private sector workers in a deal with Senate crossbenchers to secure support for one of its double dissolution trigger bills.
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    Australian whistleblower's 'bounty' incentive

    A deal struck could see whistleblowers paid a "bounty" for exposing wrongdoing after a deal struck between crossbench senators Nick Xenophon and Derryn Hinch and the government.

    The so-called registered organisations bill passed the Senate 33-30 on Tuesday morning after being been rejected twice by the last Parliament.

    Under amendments to the bill, stronger protections will apply to union whistleblowers and the government has committed to rolling them out to private sector employees within 18 months.

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    Crossbench senators Nick Xenophon and Derryn Hinch reveal details of the whistleblower law.
    Crossbench senators Nick Xenophon and Derryn Hinch reveal details of the whistleblower law. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

    Experts said the changes, if legislated, would make it easier for whistleblowers to expose corporate maleficence without fear of being sacked or financially punished.

    A parliamentary inquiry, due to report in the middle of 2017, will examine whether the bounty system that operates in the United States should be introduced in Australia. Earlier this year the US government paid almost $5 million to a former BHP Billiton employee for raising concerns about alleged corruption at the mining giant.
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    In the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission can reward whistleblowers by giving them a share of a fine extracted from a company, with payouts often reaching many millions of dollars.

    Instead of being rewarded, private sector whistleblowers in Australia currently have few protections and take large risks in speaking out. Whistleblowers have been crucial to stories exposing scandals in the banking and life insurance industries as well as companies such as 7-Eleven.

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    Illustration: Ron Tandberg
    Illustration: Ron Tandberg

    Crossbench senator Nick Xenophon, who championed the amendments, said the changes would give Australia some of the best whistleblower laws in the world.

    Fellow crossbencher Derryn Hinch described them as a "great breakthrough".

    Both said they would react furiously if the government welched on the deal.

    "Don't trust them, trust us," Senator Hinch said. "If they renege on this we will come after them."

    Hell hath no fury like a crossbencher scorned

    Senator Xenophon said: "Hell hath no fury like a crossbencher scorned."

    Griffith University Professor A.J. Brown, one of the country's leading authorities on whistleblower laws, said the negotiated amendments were "historic".

    "Irrespective of what you think about unions, these changes start to address the biggest defects in whistleblower laws across the board," he said.

    "This is a tangible black and white commitment in this term of Parliament. I don't think [the government] can go back on this."

    Professor Brown, who has been advising Senator Xenophon on the issue, said the most significant change was that managers would be required to support whistleblowers rather than simply not to punish them for speaking out.

    Reprisals against corporate whistleblowers would also carry substantial penalties and whistleblowers would be able to apply for penalties if they have been financially harmed by their disclosures.

    Professor Brown said the commitment to vote on new laws by July 2018 was more ambitious than it sounds given the complexity of the issues involved.

    Australian Securities and Investments Commission chairman Greg Medcraft, who has previously pushed for compensation for corporate sector whistleblowers, said he supported the move.
    "I think whistleblowers should be valued," he said.

    Law Council of Australia President Stuart Clark said he was delighted that "vital whistleblower protection is moving well beyond the public sphere and finding its way into the non-government and private sector".

    "It is a healthy thing for legitimate whistleblowers to be emboldened to speak out at all levels if something is amiss within their organisations," he said.

    - with Georgia Wilkins

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    3 years ago
  • NoOne replied to the topic Prosecutors RICO Manual for May 2016 in the forum
    The Prosecutors Manual of May 2016 can be updated now that RICO's global reach for crime was affirmed in Nabisco June 2016.
    www.scribd.com/document/322421203/Rico-P...-May-2016#from_embed

    How can Mcgarvie and Bowles say this can't apply to them and the banks??? The FBI Sting was on tv too. Only 15,000,000 shops missed out on $5.7 billion dollars because the unethical lawyers were arrested, exactly like the board's expert said.
    The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

    The Enterprise

    FIFA is composed of 209 member associations, each representing organized soccer in a particular nation or territory, including the United States and four of its overseas territories. FIFA also recognizes six continental confederations that assist it in governing soccer in different regions of the world. The U.S. Soccer Federation is one of 41 member associations of the confederation known as CONCACAF, which has been headquartered in the United States throughout the period charged in the indictment. The South American confederation, called CONMEBOL, is also a focus of the indictment.

    As alleged in the indictment, FIFA and its six continental confederations, together with affiliated regional federations, national member associations and sports marketing companies, constitute an enterprise of legal entities associated in fact for purposes of the federal racketeering laws. The principal – and entirely legitimate – purpose of the enterprise is to regulate and promote the sport of soccer worldwide.

    As alleged in the indictment, one key way the enterprise derives revenue is to commercialize the media and marketing rights associated with soccer events and tournaments. The organizing entity that owns those rights – as FIFA and CONCACAF do with respect to the World Cup and Gold Cup, their respective flagship tournaments – sells them to sports marketing companies, often through multi-year contracts covering multiple editions of the tournaments. The sports marketing companies, in turn, sell the rights downstream to TV and radio broadcast networks, major corporate sponsors and other sub-licensees who want to broadcast the matches or promote their brands. The revenue generated from these contracts is substantial: according to FIFA, 70% of its $5.7 billion in total revenues between 2011 and 2014 was attributable to the sale of TV and marketing rights to the 2014 World Cup.

    The Racketeering Conspiracy

    The indictment alleges that, between 1991 and the present, the defendants and their co-conspirators corrupted the enterprise by engaging in various criminal activities, including fraud, bribery and money laundering. Two generations of soccer officials abused their positions of trust for personal gain, frequently through an alliance with unscrupulous sports marketing executives who shut out competitors and kept highly lucrative contracts for themselves through the systematic payment of bribes and kickbacks. All told, the soccer officials are charged with conspiring to solicit and receive well over $150 million in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for their official support of the sports marketing executives who agreed to make the unlawful payments.

    Most of the schemes alleged in the indictment relate to the solicitation and receipt of bribes and kickbacks by soccer officials from sports marketing executives in connection with the commercialization of the media and marketing rights associated with various soccer matches and tournaments, including FIFA World Cup qualifiers in the CONCACAF region, the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the CONCACAF Champions League, the jointly organized CONMEBOL/CONCACAF Copa América Centenario, the CONMEBOL Copa América, the CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores and the Copa do Brasil, which is organized by the Brazilian national soccer federation (CBF). Other alleged schemes relate to the payment and receipt of bribes and kickbacks in connection with the sponsorship of CBF by a major U.S. sportswear company, the selection of the host country for the 2010 World Cup and the 2011 FIFA presidential election.

    The Indicted Defendants

    As set forth in the indictment, the defendants and their co-conspirators fall generally into three categories: soccer officials acting in a fiduciary capacity within FIFA and one or more of its constituent organizations; sports media and marketing company executives; and businessmen, bankers and other trusted intermediaries who laundered illicit payments.

    Nine of the defendants were FIFA officials by operation of the FIFA statutes, as well as officials of one or more other bodies:

    Jeffrey Webb: Current FIFA vice president and executive committee member, CONCACAF president, Caribbean Football Union (CFU) executive committee member and Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) president.

    Eduardo Li: Current FIFA executive committee member-elect, CONCACAF executive committee member and Costa Rican soccer federation (FEDEFUT) president.

    Julio Rocha: Current FIFA development officer. Former Central American Football Union (UNCAF) president and Nicaraguan soccer federation (FENIFUT) president.

    Costas Takkas: Current attaché to the CONCACAF president. Former CIFA general secretary.

    Jack Warner: Former FIFA vice president and executive committee member, CONCACAF president, CFU president and Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) special adviser.

    Eugenio Figueredo: Current FIFA vice president and executive committee member. Former CONMEBOL president and Uruguayan soccer federation (AUF) president.

    Rafael Esquivel: Current CONMEBOL executive committee member and Venezuelan soccer federation (FVF) president.

    José Maria Marin: Current member of the FIFA organizing committee for the Olympic football tournaments. Former CBF president.

    Nicolás Leoz: Former FIFA executive committee member and CONMEBOL president.

    Four of the defendants were sports marketing executives:

    Alejandro Burzaco: Controlling principal of Torneos y Competencias S.A., a sports marketing business based in Argentina, and its affiliates.

    Aaron Davidson: President of Traffic Sports USA Inc. (Traffic USA).

    Hugo and Mariano Jinkis: Controlling principals of Full Play Group S.A., a sports marketing business based in Argentina, and its affiliates.

    And one of the defendants was in the broadcasting business but allegedly served as an intermediary to facilitate illicit payments between sports marketing executives and soccer officials:

    José Margulies: Controlling principal of Valente Corp. and Somerton Ltd.

    The Convicted Individuals and Corporations

    The following individuals and corporations previously pleaded guilty under seal:

    On July 15, 2013, the defendant Daryll Warner, son of defendant Jack Warner and a former FIFA development officer, waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a two-count information charging him with wire fraud and the structuring of financial transactions.

    On Oct. 25, 2013, the defendant Daryan Warner waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a three-count information charging him with wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and the structuring of financial transactions. Daryan Warner forfeited over $1.1 million around the time of his plea and has agreed to pay a second forfeiture money judgment at the time of sentencing.

    On Nov. 25, 2013, the defendant Charles Blazer, the former CONCACAF general secretary and a former FIFA executive committee member, waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a 10-count information charging him with racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, income tax evasion and failure to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). Blazer forfeited over $1.9 million at the time of his plea and has agreed to pay a second amount to be determined at the time of sentencing.

    On Dec. 12, 2014, the defendant José Hawilla, the owner and founder of the Traffic Group, the Brazilian sports marketing conglomerate, waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a four-count information charging him with racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Hawilla also agreed to forfeit over $151 million, $25 million of which was paid at the time of his plea.

    On May 14, 2015, the defendants Traffic Sports USA Inc. and Traffic Sports International Inc. pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy.

    All money forfeited by the defendants is being held in reserve to ensure its availability to satisfy any order of restitution entered at sentencing for the benefit of any individuals or entities that qualify as victims of the defendants’ crimes under federal law.

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    3 years ago
  • NoOne replied to the topic Jennie Paluka says "report McGarvie to IBAC" in the forum
    The US Supreme Court looks like it disagreed with Howard Bowles and McGarvie about the Racketeering Laws throughout their files. Was Howard Bowles really talking to undercover agents about Bill Clinton's Eric Pulier and Michelle Obama's ex colleague Keila Ravelo? These Racketeering Laws and Wire fraud laws look dangerously global. McGarvie does run a board under a foreign government's Act of Parliament too. What do you think? www.justice.gov/opa/pr/nine-fifa-officia...ering-conspiracy-and

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    3 years ago
  • NoOne replied to the topic David Taylor Privacy Commissioner Victoria in the forum
    What's their problem with Independent MPs and a Royal Commission?


    On its “one-stop” pair of websites, the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner Michael McGarvie (who is also statutorily stapled under the Legal Profession Act 2004 as the Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Legal Services Board), and apparently without any intent of irony or double-pun entendre, describes his and its role, role, roles as follows:

    THE LEGAL SERVICES COMMISSIONER

    The one stop service gateway for the fair, independent and efficient handling of complaints about lawyers.

    Welcome to the website of the Legal Services Commissioner.

    The Legal Services Commissioner is an independent agency responsible for handling complaints about lawyers in Victoria. The Legal Services Commissioner was established on 12 December 2005 under the Legal Profession Act 2004.


    The Legal Services Commissioner works with the legal profession and consumers of legal services to improve standards and increase awareness of lawyers’ obligations to their clients.

    THE LEGAL SERVICES BOARD The Legal Services Board is responsible for the regulation of the legal profession in Victoria. The Legal Services Board aims to ensure the effective regulation of the legal profession and the maintenance of professional standards. The Legal Services Board is an independent regulator that protects consumers and enhances the integrity of legal services in Victoria.

    A case of “Curiouser and Curiouser”, or is it “Dumb and Dumber”?

    With my dual professional qualifications and two decades professional experience as a regulatory lawyer and as a regulatory economist, I plumb quite firmly for the second title as being the most accurate to fit this shameful (non-) regulatory situation.

    Just how badly, and just how far off the script does Victorian Legal Services Commissioner Michael McGarvie lever the dual statutory authorities (statutory authorities that are funded by the public and dominated to the brim with lawyers) that perform these bicephalous “one stop” statutory roles?

    In layman’s terms, the lawyerocracy in Victoria prevailed on the crooked, lawyerocratic Brumby-Bracks-Hulls Labor Party administration in Victoria to undo the fine, pro-consumer and public interest regulatory reforms for the lawyering industry bravely wrought by the previous Kennett-Stockdale Liberal Party administration, brought off by Kennett and co against the stiffest of legal establishment interference. Amongst many cave ins to the restoration of the lawyerocracy (bigger and badder than in the Kennett era) was the shameful act of abolishing the consumer orientated (and lawyer hated) Victorian Legal Ombudsman Scheme, and replacing it with a sham legal regulator (copying the blueprints of the entrenched and enduring New South Wales Office of the Legal Services Commissioner and its two decades at the helm LSC Steve Mark) that runs a protection racket for the very “bad lawyers” mates in the industry, a sham regulatory outfit that it is supposed, according to its statutory papers and funding entitlements, to be disciplining down and out of the legal industry.

    And of course, using those same regulatory powers, arbitrarily, not just to protect the mates of the lawyerocracy but to go after the few brave and decent lawyers who speak up and expose the whole rotten entanglement of corruption.

    All of this is obvious to the naked eye now, given 8 years of watching the Legal Services Commissioner and his staff and their protectorate having run the standards of legal profession, professional skills, professional ethics and standards of professional judgement down to gutter levels – and having run the public image of lawyers all the way down to subterranean sewer levels, all the way back to where they were (lawyers images, not sewers), back in the days of Dickens, or Shakespeare.

    Of course, back in 2005 outgoing Victorian Legal Ombudsman Kate Hamond knew this was on the cards, and called it as she saw it (see below). So did a few of the remaining respectable legal ethicists, mostly from the academic side of the industry (and the last remaining bastion of professionalism within the fallen fraternity of the law and those who profess it).

    Protect the friends, silence the victims, and especially silence the whistleblowers who threaten, let alone dare, to break rank and blow whistle. It’s a standard enough model of tyranny and oppression.

    Just how badly, and just how far off the script does Victorian Legal Services Commissioner Michael McGarvie and his willing, if not able, team of henchmen and henchwomen deviate?

    The following is the report card for the Office of the Legal Services Commissioner, handed out by the Victorian State Government Ombudsman, Mr George Brouwer, and recorded on the public record at pages 21 to 23 of his 2009 Annual Report to Parliament regarding the government failures of the Victorian Office of the Legal Services Commissioner.

    “Of particular concern to me during the year were instances of regulators failing to take action or not discharging their functions adequately to protect the public interest. There are a number of agencies I am investigating where similar issues have arisen. This matter is one of continuing concern.Legal Services Commissioner The Legal Profession Act 2004 established the office of the Legal Services Commissioner and lists its objectives, one of which is:to ensure that complaints against Australian legal practitioners and disputes between law practices or Australian legal practitioners and clients are dealt with in a timely and effective manner. (Section 6.3.2)The role of the Legal Services Commissioner is to protect both consumers of legal services and the public interest in the proper administration of justice. The Legal Services Commissioner has the power to address complaints made against Victorian legal practitioners to ensure that they acted within the confines of the law, with appropriate ethical standards and with deference to their professional position.The Legal Services Commissioner can receive complaints which relate to disputes about legal costs, claims of up to $25,000, or disciplinary matters. The legal system can be financially costly, and the law can be complex, with intricacies which many members of the public find difficult to navigate and understand. This can leave the public vulnerable to unscrupulous, negligent or unprofessional practices of legal practitioners.

    Over the past year I received 95 complaints about the Legal Services Commissioner, which replaced the former Legal Ombudsman in December 2005. There were recurring themes in the complaints which pointed to a systemic failure by the Legal Services Commissioner to adequately undertake its statutory role. [emphasis added]

    For example, complainants alleged that:

    complaints were inadequately investigated or not investigated at all
    there were significant delays – sometimes in excess of three years – in finalising complaints
    documentation practices were poor and failed to provide complainants with information about the Legal Services Commissioner’s internal review process and external review mechanisms
    investigations lacked procedural fairness.

    The following case study highlights that the lack of appropriate review powers in place for the Legal Services Commissioner is still the case. It illustrates how this can result in injustice to complainants and allow practitioners to avoid detection and / or prosecution as a consequence of the current legislative framework[emphasis added]. I recommend that the Attorney General consider amending the Legal Profession Act 2004 to enable the Legal Services Commissioner to review its merits-based decisions where there have been deficiencies in its investigations or errors in its decisions.

    I understand that this is being considered as part of the national reform of the Australian legal profession announced by the Council of Australian Governments.

    Lack of appropriate review powers

    The complainant required life saving medical treatment and so his legal practitioner referred him to a mortgage broker, who sourced a short-term loan. Because the complainant was overseas his brother signed the contract, which contained different terms and conditions from the original agreement.

    When the complainant defaulted on the loan the mortgage company sued. In this case the legal practitioner, ,who formerly represented the complainant, also represented the mortgage company.

    The complainant contacted the Legal Services Commissioner (LSC) and maintained that the legal practitioner had a conflict of interest. He also complained that the legal practitioner failed to follow his instructions and advise him properly. The LSC dismissed the complaint because of insufficient evidence.

    I investigated the complaint and established that the LSC did not interview the complainant, his brother or the legal practitioner. Although the LSC requested documents from the practitioner, it failed to exercise its powers to obtain the documents when they were not supplied. Instead of gaining access to documents which may have provided evidence, the LSC relied solely on the legal practitioner’s assertions.

    Outcome

    I asked the LSC to seek legal advice on whether the case could be re-opened. The advice identified the solicitor acted for both financier and borrower contrary to rules 10.2 and 10.6 [Professional Conduct and Practice Rules 2000];that the solicitor ‘failed to protect his client’s interests’ and ‘acted in a potential conflict of interest.’

    The deficiencies in the LSC investigation and errors in the final decision drew into question the merits of the decision[emphasis added]. However the legal advice indicated that the legality of the decision was not brought into question because the LSC had followed the legal procedures set out in its governing legislation, the Legal Profession Act 2004.

    The advice concluded that the deficiencies in an LSC investigation or an error in its decision (which may have been caused by the deficiencies in its investigations) cannot be classed as a ‘legal’ error but is an error that goes to the merits of the complaint (‘merits’) error. A merits error does not give the LSC the power to re-open a discipline complaint. This is unsatisfactory [emphasis added]. I have recommended to the Attorney-General that he amend the Legal Profession Act 2004 to allow the LSC to re-open a case where there has been a merits error.

    I note that since this recommendation the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) announced that it had devised a plan to achieve a national regulation for the Australian legal profession and any proposed changes to the Legal Profession Act (including complaint-handling and professional discipline) will be considered as part of this process.

    I also conducted an own motion investigation into the Legal Services Commissioner and its decision-making process under section 14 of the Ombudsman Act because of the number of complaints I received. My investigation identified a lack of understanding by staff of the Legal Services Commissioner’s statutory powers and a restricted skills-set to conduct investigations. The Legal Services Commissioner’s investigators showed limited knowledge of the basic techniques of investigative processes. Case files lacked:

    investigation plans
    thorough and professional approaches to gathering evidence
    follow-up on serious allegations
    substantiating documents such as practitioners’ files
    timely conclusions
    verification of practitioners’ responses
    reasons for decisions.

    I made 28 recommendations to the Legal Services Commissioner and am pleased to note that it has taken steps to address a number of problems identified in my own motion investigation. I intend to review the Legal Services Commissioner’s implementation of my recommendations over the next year. I also referred the report of my investigation to the Attorney-General for his information, particularly in relation to the inability of the Legal Services Commissioner to re-open cases on the basis of merits [emphasis added].”

    I bet the alarm bells are ringing.

    Not only did the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner’s Office get this slamming report from the Victorian State Government Ombudsman, but in the same year (late 2008 and Spring 2009) I had to twice take the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner to the Victorian Supreme Court, where the Office was slammed on both occasions, in virtually the same terms, for virtually the same absolute government failures (failures in ‘fact’ as a matter of ‘law’), slammed by two different Supreme Court Judges.

    And three years later, the Office of the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner (under the stewardship of current Commissioner Michael McGarvie, the privileged younger son of a former Governor and Supreme Court Justice (and younger brother of QC Richard McGarvie (junior) the Chairman of the Victorian Bar’s Ethics Subcommittee) still refuses to comply (ie “acts in contempt of”) both those sets of Victorian Supreme Court rulings.

    In future blogs I will recount some of the background stories, subsequent political developments and the deeper modern and ancient political truths behind the diplomatic double-speak in the choice words used by the Legal Services Commissioner, the Legal Services Board and in the State Government Ombudsman Victoria Report, to cover up and conceal the chronic governmental failings of this “one stop service gateway”.

    The bottom line, why did the former Attorney-General Rob Hulls fail to act immediately to abolish the Legal Services Commissioner scheme, in the aftermath of this damning report card, and reinstate the previous Kennett Government’s genuinely independent (of lawyers) Legal Ombudsman Scheme?

    And why, 18 months since it swept to office in October 2010, hasn’t the Victorian Baillieu-Clark administration moved to fix things back to the way they were until the Bracks-Brumby-Hulls administration recreated the evil monster (lawyers (not) policing lawyers) that the Kennett administration put a stop to when it created the Victorian Legal Ombudsman Scheme?

    … to be continued …

    James Johnson, Independent Federal Candidate for Lalor.

    A Post-Script: For now, who better to ask than the unceremoniously under cut and dumped last Victorian Legal Ombudsman, ere Ombudswoman, Ms Kate Hamond? Here is some advanced reading to shine the spotlight on this dirty intersection (prime thoroughfare) of the dirty, barely-secret, Lawyerocracy that runs this State and Nation. How is this for a staunch and highly public exit interview from an obviously and remarkably good woman … click here. An extraordinary piece of whistleblowing, I am sure you will agree.
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    3 years ago
  • NoOne replied to the topic Jennie Paluka says "report McGarvie to IBAC" in the forum
    Howard Bowles doesn't like Americans, look what happened.
    www.msn.com/en-au/sport/watch/bank-emplo...ikGn1?refvid=BBijWqk

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    4 years ago
  • NoOne created a new topic ' she donated more than $500,000 to Democrats' in the forum.
    Who was the Victorian Legal Services Boards miners frackers and oil executives 'spying' on? Can a foreign government instrumentality 'spy' on cases and politicians and reporters. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., #AdeleFerguson, #TickFullerton #Mike Usher #7News.
    www.msn.com/en-au/sport/watch/bank-emplo...ikGn1?refvid=BBijWqk
    By Paul Barrett, Bloomberg Businessweek

    Keila Ravelo and her husband, Melvin Feliz, were asleep in their prairie-style home in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., three days before Christmas 2014 when 20 federal agents charged through the front door with guns drawn. The show of force met no resistance. Ravelo and Feliz submitted to being handcuffed and were driven away in unmarked government sedans.

    Ravelo, 50, had never been arrested before. A partner with the elite New York corporate law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher, she’d built a successful career as a litigator, primarily representing MasterCard against waves of price-fixing lawsuits filed by retailers. In one credit card case, she helped negotiate a $5.7 billion truce — the largest settlement of an antitrust class action in the world. Earning more than $2 million a year, she favored Hermès handbags and diamond jewelry. She owned a Bentley Continental Flying Spur sedan and sent her teenage sons to a high-priced boarding school in Florida. Feliz, 49, had a varied past that included stints in real estate, paralegal work, and narcotics trafficking.

    Husband and wife were taken to federal court in Newark and formally charged with a series of peculiar felonies. Prosecutors alleged that for years Ravelo and Feliz had ripped off her law firm and MasterCard in an $8 million scheme whereby Feliz provided phony back-office services. The crimes carry potential prison terms of more than 10 years. And there was another surprise.

    After federal prosecutors subpoenaed Willkie, looking for evidence of the phony-vendor scheme, Ravelo’s colleagues went through her e-mails and discovered she’d been secretly and inappropriately communicating with the enemy: a plaintiffs’ lawyer named Gary Friedman who was suing MasterCard and other major credit card companies on behalf of thousands of retail stores. Concerned about conflicts of interest, Ravelo’s firm decided to disclose the communication publicly. By mid-2015 the Friedman-Ravelo e-mails threatened to undermine the $5.7 billion settlement against MasterCard and Visa. In August a federal judge in Brooklyn, N.Y., rejected a parallel settlement involving American Express, citing the e-mails to Ravelo, at least two of which Friedman marked “Burn after reading.”

    It turns out that Ravelo and Friedman had known each other for a quarter-century — since they met as young attorneys representing none other than Melvin Feliz, who’d been convicted on cocaine charges. Ravelo fell for her client, a fellow immigrant from the Dominican Republic who convinced her he’d change his ways. Feliz declined via an attorney to comment. In an exclusive interview, Ravelo says she was fooled long ago, and is now paying the price. “Love,” she says, with resignation in her voice, “gives you rose-colored glasses.”

    Ravelo’s story has a can’t-make-this-stuff-up quality: She rose from working-class beginnings in the Caribbean, put herself through law school at Columbia, and reached the highest level of the legal profession, only to get tripped up by scandal. The tale illustrates the strange vicissitudes of greed (prosecutors’ version), the power of romance to cloud common sense (Ravelo’s version), or some combination of the two (perhaps the most likely version). “I still can’t believe how it all unfolded,” says Friedman, who now has career troubles of his own.

    Beyond its personal dimensions, the account pulls back the curtain on mass litigation, a process with more line-blurring than is typically revealed in court. Defending herself against criminal fraud charges, of which she says she’s not guilty, Ravelo unmistakably threatens to implicate other lawyers in what she says are the seamy aspects of class-action settlement negotiations. “If I have to show the ugly side to prove my defense,” she says, “that’s what I’ll do.”

    Small in stature, Ravelo has large eyes and a gleaming white smile. Former colleagues and opponents, many of whom demanded anonymity because of the controversy engulfing her, describe her as a feisty attorney who scuffled over issues large and small. No one doubted her fealty to clients; her competitiveness with fellow attorneys, however, frequently exceeded her congeniality.

    Growing up in the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo, Ravelo attended private schools, even though she says her parents struggled to house and feed their five children. Around age 11 she gained fluency in English during an 18-month stay with relatives in New York City. She returned to New York at 17, determined to attend college in the U.S.

    Ravelo worked as a supermarket cashier, saved money while applying for a green card, and eventually enrolled at Upsala College, a now-defunct liberal arts school in northern New Jersey. She played on the volleyball team and studied hard. Her ambition and intelligence carried her to law school at Columbia, from which she graduated in 1991. She went straight to work in the New York office of Sidley Austin, a prestigious Chicago-based corporate firm. Ravelo recounts her progression with understandable pride. Unlike some of her legal contemporaries, she says, “nothing was handed to me.”

    At Sidley, she met Friedman, a more senior associate, while handling a pro bono case on behalf of three convicted Dominican American cocaine dealers. The trio, small-time street sellers, claimed in a civil suit against the federal government that they’d suffered severe beatings by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents. “Gary latched onto me because of the shared Dominican background and my Spanish-language skills,” Ravelo says. “He liked my energy” — an assessment Friedman confirms. Sitting at the civil trial as “second chair” for the plaintiffs, she grew enamored of Feliz. “We both had family in the Bronx,” she says. “He felt like family.”

    Feliz came from a middle-class Dominican clan; for high school, his parents had sent him to the Valley Forge Military Academy in Pennsylvania. He told Ravelo he got caught up in drug dealing as a 19-year-old and regretted it, she says. “I was putting a picture together in my head, and I believed it — that the crime is not what defined him.” A New York jury didn’t buy the civil suit against the DEA, and Feliz headed off to prison on the cocaine charge.

    FelizDuring three years behind bars, Feliz obtained a community college degree and promised Ravelo he’d learned his lesson. In 1995 he got out, and they married. The following year they moved from the Bronx to tony Englewood Cliffs. Feliz, who’d become something of a jailhouse lawyer helping other inmates with their appeals, took a job with Friedman as a paralegal. “He worked hard and had big goals to start a business of his own,” says Friedman, who’d formed a small private practice. Friedman and his wife, a law professor in New York, socialized with Feliz and Ravelo. “We loved Mel and Keila,” he says.

    Ravelo’s legal career took off as she moved from Sidley to another well-established firm, Rogers & Wells, where she won a coveted partnership based not on her courtroom genius but her tireless management of behind-the-scenes discovery, according to several lawyers familiar with her work. Like most large-firm litigators, she rarely appeared before juries or even argued motions to judges. Instead, she took and defended pretrial depositions and wrangled over voluminous document exchanges. She earned a reputation not only for meticulously preparing “depo” witnesses but also for jousting tenaciously over even the most peripheral procedural matters.

    Ravelo didn’t include her husband in socializing related to work, with the exception of the Friedmans. “His past was going to be a problem with my colleagues,” she says. “While I was able to figure out he was a good guy, I didn’t think that other people in my professional world would be able to avoid being judgmental and critical.”

    She’s probably correct. In the late 1990s, Feliz went back to prison for eight months on a perjury conviction related to his testimony during the civil suit against the DEA. “It was horrific,” Ravelo recalls. “This is not the sort of thing you see at big corporate law firms.”

    For her part, Ravelo flourished, largely because of her antitrust work for MasterCard, a company besieged by allegations it conspired with banks that issue cards and rival card networks to fix interchange fees, also known as swipe fees, that are charged to merchants for the privilege of using plastic. Overlapping suits filed by thousands of large and small retailers also alleged that the card networks and banks unlawfully prevented retailers from using surcharges to discourage consumers from using more expensive cards.

    “It was horrific,” Ravelo recalls. “This is not the sort of thing you see at big corporate law firms.”

    Ravelo says her loyalty to MasterCard went beyond legalities: “I loved the client. I believed we were right. I lived it day and night.” She became a regular presence at MasterCard’s headquarters in Purchase, N.Y., and a confidante of the company’s top in-house lawyer, Noah Hanft, who controlled tens of millions of dollars in annual legal spending. (Hanft declined to comment.)

    In 2005 the Richmond (Va.)-based firm of Hunton & Williams recruited Ravelo to join a growing antitrust department, and, in a reflection of her growing influence, she brought MasterCard along as a client. At this point, with Feliz about five years out of prison, Ravelo says her husband’s career interests began to intersect with her own. Feliz and his brother and sister-in-law had started a small document-copying business catering to lawyers, she says. As digital-document management replaced the reproduction and storage of physical paperwork, Feliz saw an opportunity to expand into the e-document marketplace. “I could help him jump-start that business because of my role in big-time cases,” Ravelo says.

    It didn’t occur to her, she adds, that it might be considered inappropriate self-dealing for her to steer MasterCard-related document work to her husband’s nascent company. “At the big law firms, we did favors all the time for clients, arranging summer jobs for their relatives, that kind of thing,” Ravelo says. “I didn’t see any problem with helping Mel.”

    Ravelo and Feliz lived large in Englewood Cliffs, an exclusive enclave north of the George Washington Bridge above the Palisades on the Hudson River. In 2006 they paid almost $2.4 million for the spacious house and manicured yard. In October 2010, Willkie announced it had recruited Ravelo away from Hunton & Williams and was also bringing over several more-junior attorneys who worked with her on the MasterCard litigation.

    The move to Willkie represented another step up in terms of prestige. With roots in the late 19th century, the law firm has forgone the industry trend toward gigantism in favor of partner profitability. It has 650 lawyers in nine offices in six countries and represents a wide spectrum of businesses, including Bloomberg LP, owner of this magazine. In 2014, Willkie had revenue of $640 million, ranking 64th in American Lawyer’s Global 100 list and representing an impressive 14.5 percent gain from 2013. In terms of average annual profit per partner, Willkie came in 15th, with $2.6 million.

    In addition to the standard law firm news release, Ravelo’s joining Willkie merited coverage in the legal trade press. “Two weeks into the job,” the newsletter Legal Bisnow reported, she “tells us that having a Buddha on her shelf reminds her to keep calm, take a deep breath, and focus inside.”

    Ravelo continued to show interest in at least certain outward attachments. In the wake of the real estate crash in South Florida, she and Feliz invested $1.6 million in 2010 to buy two waterside condos in Miami, which they intended to flip for a gain, according to the Real Deal, a real estate publication. In November 2013, Ravelo found time to pose for New Jersey social and celebrity publication (201) Magazine. The caption described her as wearing diamond jewelry from Mary Tacorian, a belted Max Mara dress, and Manolo Blahnik pumps while carrying an Hermès handbag from Paris. “I don’t chase trends,” she told the site. “I like classic styles.”

    The same year, NBC News in New York included Ravelo in a segment on parents who spend heavily on their kids’ sports aspirations. The television network estimated that she and Feliz spent $70,000 a year on each of their two sons, who attended a baseball boarding school in Florida run by the talent agency IMG. The parents also bought a house in Bradenton near the IMG Academy. “It’s a lot. It’s a big sacrifice,” Ravelo told NBC.

    Politically, Ravelo leans left. She served on the board of the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, a New York group that helps low-income families. From 2008 to 2014 she donated more than $500,000 to Democratic candidates and causes, according to Sunlight Foundation, which tracks political contributions. As a black woman, Ravelo remained a rarity at the upper elevations of corporate law. The June 2014 issue ofAmerican Lawyer — sporting the cover language “What’s Wrong With This Picture?” — featured her as one of only three black partners out of 131 attorneys recognized by the periodical’s “Big Deals” and “Big Suits” columns over the previous year. On a more upbeat note, the October 2014 edition of Profiles in Diversity Journal included a photo of Ravelo with her arm around a smiling Michelle Obama.

    Feliz, meanwhile, was augmenting his document-management business with other pursuits. According to court documents, the DEA received a tip in October 2012 that he and two other men planned to buy 20 kilos of cocaine for $550,000, truck the haul from California to New Jersey, and sell it on the East Coast. On Oct. 22, agents observed Feliz drive up to his Englewood Cliffs house in a black Porsche Cayenne and transfer a satchel of cash from the rear hatch to the car of one of his confederates, who drove to a nearby restaurant and unwittingly delivered it to a DEA informant posing as a courier. The informant transported the money to Los Angeles, where he turned it over to Feliz’s accomplice, at which point the conspirators were arrested and charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

    Curious about where the $550,000 in front money had come from, the DEA brought in the IRS, and together the agencies came across the family-run document-services operation, which did business under the names E-Lit and Litigation Solutions. The IRS alleged that Feliz started the supposed vendors in 2008 and had a cousin open a bank account for the businesses in Las Vegas. In New York, Feliz maintained a business address at 110 Wall St. that was little more than a mail drop.

    From 2008 through mid-2010, Feliz collected payments from Hunton & Williams, and thereafter from Willkie, investigators concluded. The payments were tied to scut work supposedly done for MasterCard: digitizing and indexing paper documents, burning CDs, and the like. Ravelo allegedly approved most of the outlays.

    She says in the interview that as far as she knew, Litigation Solutions “was real. I didn’t want to be involved in the day-to-day operation, but Mel was. I said I would make the referral to my people [at Hunton & Williams and later, Willkie] to try them out.”

    At that point in the conversation, Ravelo’s criminal defense attorney, Steve Sadow, interrupts, saying: “That’s far enough for now.”

    According to the criminal complaint that led to Ravelo’s and Feliz’s arrests the morning of Dec. 22, 2014, the couple operated the phony vendors jointly and did little or no real work for either of Ravelo’s law firms or MasterCard. Prosecutors alleged that the two funneled most of the fraudulently obtained funds into a joint bank account used to pay personal expenses, including “$250,000 in payments to a jewelry store.”

    A subpoena from federal prosecutors landed at Willkie’s midtown Manhattan headquarters in November 2014. Within days the law firm asked Ravelo to resign and launched an internal investigation into what she’d been up to with her husband. Willkie, its spokeswoman, and its outside attorney didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.

    Another part of the MasterCard/Visa settlement — one that customers would feel — allowed merchants to impose surcharges on shoppers paying with credit cards as a way to recoup swipe fees

    In early February 2015, Feliz pleaded guilty to the cross-country drug conspiracy, and a few days later, Willkie went public with what it had discovered during its internal probe of Ravelo. The law firm disclosed that her old friend Friedman had sent Ravelo a stream of e-mail over the years, some of which concerned mundane personal matters like joint family vacations.

    But some of the e-mail revealed confidential information belonging to merchants Friedman represented who were suing Ravelo’s client, MasterCard, as well as its rivals Visa and American Express. This mattered because a decade of hard-fought litigation had only recently come to a head in interlocking settlements, one involving MasterCard and Visa, and the other, American Express. The MasterCard/Visa pact, preliminarily approved by a federal judge in 2012, provided for $7.25 billion in damages. Major chain stores such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Home Depot were dissatisfied with the settlement, especially with the future liability protection it provided to the card companies, so they dropped out of the case. These “opt-outs” reduced the value of the pact to $5.7 billion. Another part of the MasterCard/Visa settlement — one that customers would feel — allowed merchants to impose surcharges on shoppers paying with credit cards as a way to recoup swipe fees. A “level playing field” provision required any surcharges be consistent for all cards, a rule imposed by the AmEx settlement as well.

    The large retailers that had objected seized on the Friedman-Ravelo back-channel communication as another reason the settlements ought to be blown up and litigation reinitiated. Lawyers for the major chains had long contended that attorneys for the settling class of smaller merchants had suspiciously sold out for too little. Now, they added that perhaps the relationship between Friedman and Ravelo explained why and how the supposed sellout had occurred.

    At a freewheeling hearing in federal court in Brooklyn on Feb. 26, Steig Olson, an attorney for Home Depot, suggested that “one worst-case scenario could be that there was a romantic relationship” between Friedman and Ravelo, which compromised their respective clients’ interests. “Ms. Ravelo’s husband has been indicted not only for the scheme that was mentioned here” — the phony-vendor caper — “but for being a narcotics trafficker,” Olson added. “We don’t know if that had anything to do with this.”

    Samuel Issacharoff, a professor at New York University Law School who represented Friedman, refuted Olson’s unsubstantiated suggestions. “This is a long-standing friendship,” Issacharoff said. “The families know each other. The kids know each other.” He decried what he called “promiscuous character insinuation.”

    In separate interviews, Friedman and Ravelo deny any romantic tie. Friedman hasn’t been implicated in the criminal allegations against Ravelo and her husband.

    In a written statement, Friedman characterized his communications with Ravelo as routine back-and-forth intended to test out his legal theories. “I acted as I did based upon a verifiably accurate assessment that our communications would benefit [my clients],” Friedman said. “My internal compass is guided entirely by class member interests. … This work entailed no shortage of sidebars, and it required relationships of trust between individual lawyers in opposing camps.”

    U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis took a darker view. In August 2015 he rejected the AmEx settlement that permitted merchants to impose a surcharge on customers who use American Express cards as long as the same surcharge applies to consumers using other cards. Garaufis expressed outrage over Friedman’s contacts with Ravelo. (The rejected AmEx settlement would have generated $75 million in fees for Friedman and other plaintiffs’ attorneys, but no money damages for their clients.) The judge noted that Friedman had shown Ravelo large swathes of his confidential case file, including strategy memos drafted by plaintiffs’ lawyers. “Whatever his reason for doing so,” Garaufis wrote, “Friedman’s bringing MasterCard’s counsel into the negotiating process created a conflict between class members and class counsel, and specifically a risk that Friedman, with Ravelo in his ear, negotiated settlement terms that are worse for class members than the terms he might have negotiated absent that conflict.” (Friedman, who disputes Garaufis at every turn, now faces potential civil sanctions for violating a judicial order.)

    If the Friedman-Ravelo chatter doomed the AmEx pact, the objecting giant retail chains argued, it ought to have the same effect on the MasterCard/Visa settlement. In trying to salvage the latter deal, Willkie and MasterCard’s other lead law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, have tried to play down Ravelo’s role. The law firms have said in court filings that while Ravelo led Willkie’s MasterCard team, Paul Weiss attorneys set overall strategy and argued key motions in court.

    “That is ridiculous,” Ravelo says. “I was in every meeting, I was on every conference call, and I sat at counsel table in court.”

    What’s more, Ravelo says that while helping craft MasterCard’s strategy, she relied on Friedman’s revelations of confidential plaintiffs’ information. “When advising MasterCard and communicating with co-counsel … including regarding the negotiation and finalization of the settlement and in connection with mediation sessions, I drew upon all the information in my possession that affected MasterCard’s interests, including the information I was provided by Gary Friedman,” Ravelo said in a sworn declaration dated Sept. 1. In other words, she claims she used confidences revealed to her by Friedman to try to get a better deal for MasterCard.

    If her account is true, the $5.7 billion settlement seems doomed: The plaintiff-retailers’ interests were revealed to — and used against them by — a longtime antagonist. The two Willkie partners who worked most closely with Ravelo — Wesley Powell and Matthew Freimuth — didn’t respond to e-mails and phone calls seeking comment. They haven’t been accused of wrongdoing. Spokesmen for MasterCard likewise didn’t respond. A person designated to speak for the credit card legal team, but only on the condition of anonymity, calls Ravelo’s assertions false. The negotiations and settlement were proper in all respects but for the behavior of Ravelo and Friedman, this person says.

    On Aug. 25, Feliz complicated Ravelo’s position by pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud and tax evasion in the faux-vendor case. Feliz, who remains incarcerated, awaits sentencing on the fraud and cross-country cocaine charges. Under his pair of plea deals, he faces 14 years in federal prison. According to Ravelo, Feliz deceived her for more than a decade. Unbeknown to her, she says, he even maintained a secret second family. Ravelo’s attorney, Sadow, wrote in a press release that Ravelo wasn’t a willing accomplice but “acted as Feliz coercively demanded — not freely, voluntarily, or with criminal intent.” Feliz, according to Sadow, “caved to the intense and overwhelming government pressure to implicate Ms. Ravelo.” In an interview, the attorney acknowledges that Ravelo generally is a strong-willed person but says she nevertheless succumbed to “emotional and mental” pressure from her now-estranged husband.

    If the coercion defense doesn’t work, Ravelo and Sadow threaten to try a more explosive strategy to foster reasonable doubt about the vendor-fraud case. It’s a long shot but one that could cast unfavorable light on the world of class-action settlement negotiations.

    Ravelo suggests she could become a witness in an investigation into whether the MasterCard/Visa settlement talks included unsavory and possibly illegal conduct entirely separate from the fake-vendor business. She says, for example, that she and other credit card lawyers and a court-appointed mediator employed what they called a cram-down strategy, playing stores off each other — smaller stores that cared a great deal about the amount of the swipe-fee recovery vs. pharmacy chains that cared less because they were large enough to negotiate independent terms with the card networks. The defendants worked out a deal with the drugstore chains and then “crammed it down” on the rest of the class on a take-it-or-leave-it basis, Ravelo says.

    Although class-action defendants routinely try to divide and conquer groups of plaintiffs, proof of a cram-down, as Ravelo describes it, might raise new questions about the fairness of the $5.7 billion settlement. The person familiar with the credit card legal team confirms that something approximating a cram-down strategy came into play but says no retailers were exploited. The federal judge supervising the process was well aware of how the negotiations unfolded, this person adds.

    On another issue, Ravelo says she’s ready to provide evidence that MasterCard and Visa allegedly used private joint defense-strategy sessions to engage in fresh collusion on rates charged to retailers. She says some plaintiffs’ lawyers became aware of this alleged collusive activity, but defense lawyers talked them out of publicizing it in the interest of reaching a large settlement.

    Of the fresh collusion allegations, the person designated to speak for the credit card legal team says the judge approved of the defendants working together. Indeed, in a brief order issued on May 20, 2011, U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein brushed aside suggestions by certain plaintiffs that defendants colluded illegally on rates as part of their strategy sessions.

    Would federal prosecutors delve into this issue, relying on Ravelo as their turncoat witness? A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice declines to comment. Negotiations over a potential criminal plea deal that would reduce Ravelo’s prison term to the realm of several years so far haven’t borne fruit. On Nov. 5 a federal grand jury indicted Ravelo on fraud and tax-evasion charges related to the phony-vendor scheme. Under the indictment, Ravelo faces up to 25 years in prison.

    If Ravelo does go to trial, she threatens to expose other damning practices in high-stakes litigation. The collateral damage to former clients and colleagues appears to be of little concern to her as the likely-to-be-disbarred attorney seeks to avoid a future behind bars. “People don’t know the whole story,” she says. “I’ll tell it because I have to — my life and my children’s lives depend on it.”


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    4 years ago
  • NoOne created a new topic ' Paymentcardsettlement.com settlement nixed' in the forum.
    What did the Victorian State Government's Legal Services Board do!

    One minute this deal is approved
    www.scribd.com/document/317934883/Master...t-Court-July-14-2011
    Next its tossed out along with the Amex Settlement because the lawyers really did collue with drug trafficking criminal operators of sham litigation 'firms'.
    The VLSB must really hate the anti-pedophile associations and Independent MPs and Democrats.

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    4 years ago
  • NoOne created a new topic ' Royal Commission in McGarvie's VLSB' in the forum.
    Hey NASGA, Jenny Pakula advised her own cutomers to send her boss to the anticorruption watchdog called IBAC. Would'nt a Royal Commission be better than an IBAC?
    nasga-stopguardianabuse.blogspot.com.au/...istine-frankham.html

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    4 years ago
  • NoOne replied to the topic Trevor McTaggart Biggest Con Man: ThomsonMP in the forum
    Mcgarvie used that Catholic Church tactic to spy on politicians, Gas Lighting. The Church used it to re-victimise abused children and "spy' on their evidence. Apart from "the biggest conman" Kelvin Thomson ever saw, Trevor McTaggart's pal Michael McGarvie might be off to a Royal Commission. Pauline says she spoke to malcolm turnbul; to tell him she thinks she has 4-7 Senators, and Rod Culleton (or Ioanna) will be great in there.

    www.scribd.com/doc/311598237/Mctaggart-T...on-Trevor-Mctaggart#
    www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/news/legal...a67ad1c7e860970de829

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    4 years ago
  • NoOne replied to the topic VLSB disagrees with Judges Again in the forum
    Bill Shorten's comments that the Coalition should "join with us and the voice of the people and have a banking royal commission" will add to the chills already running through the financial services sector.

    For most of the eight-week election campaign, talk of a royal commission has barely been raised – or reported.
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    We need a royal commission: Adele Ferguson

    Adele Ferguson delivered an impassioned plea for a royal commission into the financial services sector, greater protection for whistleblowers and a renewed commitment to press freedom in Australia.

    But growing uncertainty about who will govern this nation and what compromises will need to be made has given a banking royal commission a new lease of life.

    Shorten went on Sky TV talking tough. He said Malcolm Turnbull should stop fighting so hard to defend the banks. "Nothing less than a royal commission into Australia's banking and financial services industry will suffice and it doesn't matter even if we don't fall across the line and form a government, but instead we are the opposition, we will be prosecuting the case for a banking royal commission."
    Bill Shorten calls on Malcolm Turnbull to back a banking royal commission.
    Bill Shorten calls on Malcolm Turnbull to back a banking royal commission. Photo: Channel Ten

    All the talk about a royal commission prompted speculation it spooked investors into dumping shares. This is incorrect. Banks have been hit by the fact that the cost of risk has gone up, which is related to the sector's reliance on overseas funding. A slowing economy and concerns about a blow out in bad and doubtful debts is also dragging down the share price.

    When Labor pledged a royal commission, it presented a key point of difference from the Coalition, which argued a royal commission was unnecessary because Australia had a tough cop on the beat in ASIC. It argued there had already been a lot of inquiries and that a royal commission would cost too much, take too long to come up with solutions and would be destabilising.
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    There have been many parliamentary inquiries but most of the recommendations have never seen the light of day.

    The Coalition underestimated the disquiet among Australians about the behaviour of the banks. This was nowhere more evident than the polls, which showed majority support for a royal commission.

    The upshot is only the believers and the gullible bought the Coalition's arguments. The problem is existing laws don't provide enough protection against conflicted advice and remuneration, and ASIC hasn't been able to fix systemic problems in the industry.

    Fixing systemic problems is the role of policymakers supported by advisers, which can include the bureaucracy, external experts, external enquiry reports and ultimately royal commission recommendations.

    Labor's backing for a bank royal commission is turning into a key strength as most of the minority parties and crossbenchers are strong advocates of a royal commission.

    The Nick Xenophon Team has listed corporate and government accountability as one of three core values as corporate and government accountability. Xenophon has long been a supporter of a royal commission into the banks. He sat on a senate inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank's financial planning arm, which recommended a royal commission into the bank on the basis that the regulator couldn't be trusted because it was too trusting of the big end of town. He has also called for a strengthening of whistleblower laws and a compensation scheme of last resort for victims of fraud.

    All the talk about a royal commission prompted speculation it spooked investors into dumping shares. This is incorrect.

    The Greens are also big supporters of a royal commission, backing senate inquiries, holding press conferences and sketching out the terms of reference.

    Even One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has thrown her weight behind a royal commission.

    Turnbull, himself, used a speech at Westpac's launch of its bicentennial year in April to tell the banking sector that financial advice and insurance scandals that have ripped off customers, could no longer be ignored and that it risked losing its social licence if it did not clean itself up.

    But he stopped short of a royal commission, which left him open to criticism that his background as a former investment banker was holding him back.

    The Australian Bankers' Association has released a set of reforms in the spirit of turning over a new leaf. It is a good start, but if history is any guide, getting consensus among the banks is like herding cats.

    The big four banks can't even agree on signing the banking and finance oath, a voluntary code that includes "trust is the foundation of my profession, I will serve all interests in good faith, I will compete with honour, I will pursue my ends with ethical restraint, I will create a sustainable future, I will help create a more just society, I will speak out against wrongdoing and support others who do the same, I will accept responsibility for my actions, My word is my bond." Turnbull would do well to take a stand.

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    4 years ago
  • NoOne replied to the topic VLSB disagrees with Judges Again in the forum
    Bring on a Royal Commission! Michael McGarvie can't comprehend the ethics rules against conflict of interest B)
    business.cch.com/ald/PaymentCardInterchangeFee2016063.pdf
    Just as well he blabbed to people because we're going to subpoena him. He doesn't like the anti-pedophile party, Go Senator Derryn Hinch!

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    4 years ago
  • NoOne replied to the topic VLSB "spies" on Prosecution Brief from FBI to AFP? in the forum
    Pauline Hanson says she wants to investigate the child trafficking racket via the Family Court!

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    4 years ago
  • NoOne replied to the topic VLSB "spies" on Prosecution Brief from FBI to AFP? in the forum
    Derryn Hinch's antipedophile party won a Senate Seat. Derryn says he'll name names. Excellente!!!! B)

    Read More...
    4 years ago
  • NoOne created a new topic ' Subpoenas in CBA Bribe Case on Waldron' in the forum.
    CBA executives sought as witnesses in IT bribery case

    The Australian
    12:00AM February 18, 2016
    Save
    Print
    1
    Leo Shanahan
    Reporter
    Sydney
    plus.google.com/101002780902845862590

    CBA said neither Mr Harte or the CBA were ever investors in ServiceMesh

    Commonwealth Bank’s current and former chief information ­officers are being sought as ­witnesses in the bribery case brought against two former IT executives charged with taking kickbacks in return for delivering a multi-million-dollar contract from the CBA.

    The Australian understands witness subpoenas have been drawn up by lawyers defending former CBA technology executives, asking that current CIO David Whiteing and former IT boss Michael Harte appear for the defence case.

    A series of other CBA technology and procurement staff have also been asked to appear as witnesses.

    Keith Hunter, 62, CBA’s former manager of IT engineering, and former IT executive colleague Jon Waldron, 44, have been charged with several counts of bribery after NSW Police alleged the two took a combined total of $2.9m from US technology entrepreneur Eric Pulier in return for millions of dollars in CBA work.

    NSW police, who were aided by the FBI in the investigation, allege the pair received money from Mr Pulier around October 2014 through an US-based charity called the Ace Foundation, in return for delivering his cloud computing company ServiceMesh a multi-million-dollar contracts with CBA.

    Both men have pleaded not guilty, with a directions hearing in a Sydney court today to decide whether the case proceeds to a committal hearing.

    It understood the defence teams for the men would like Mr Harte and Mr Whiteing to appear as witnesses to speak to, among other things, the circumstances surrounding the ServiceMesh contract and the utility of the technology.

    However the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is understood to object to Mr Whiteing, Mr Harte and others being called, arguing it would be inconsistent with the pleadings.

    CBA tipped off police after the suspicious funds appeared in the men’s CBA account in late 2014, with Mr Hunter and Mr Waldron resigning soon after.

    Mr Harte — who is not accused of any wrongdoing — was the manager in charge of the two men and oversaw the billion-dollar restructure of the bank’s IT services before departing in July 2014 to take up a role with Barclays Bank in London.

    He is now the chief operations and technology officer at Barclays and sits on the bank’s executive committee.

    Mr Whiteing replaced Mr Harte as CBA’s CIO and was previously vice-president of enterprise systems at BP.

    ServiceMesh was bought by US computing giant CSC for $US260m in October 2013 and maintained Mr Pulier’s role as head of the cloud computing company, but has since dismissed him and is suing him for the purchase price of ServiceMesh.

    During his time at CBA Mr Harte was a big supporter of the cloud technology provided by ServiceMesh.

    CBA said neither Mr Harte or the CBA were ever investors in ServiceMesh.

    “Mr Harte has informed CBA that he has never had any financial interest in ServiceMesh or any related party,” CBA said in statement.

    “Commonwealth Bank’s investigations to date indicate CBA does not hold, and has not previously held, an interest in ServiceMesh, and Mr Pulier was not offered shares in CBA as part of an agreement with CBA to provide services.”

    Read More...
    4 years ago
  • NoOne replied to the topic VLSB "spies" on Prosecution Brief from FBI to AFP? in the forum
    Howard Bowles' tips. bIG pALUKA told the Sgargetta-Waldron side of the famiy to see IBAC BUT THEY WENT TO THE US SECURITY EXCHANGE WHISTLEBLOWERS OFFICE. :cheer:

    CBA executives sought as witnesses in IT bribery case

    The Australian
    12:00AM February 18, 2016
    Save
    Print
    1
    Leo Shanahan
    Reporter
    Sydney
    plus.google.com/101002780902845862590

    CBA said neither Mr Harte or the CBA were ever investors in ServiceMesh

    Commonwealth Bank’s current and former chief information ­officers are being sought as ­witnesses in the bribery case brought against two former IT executives charged with taking kickbacks in return for delivering a multi-million-dollar contract from the CBA.

    The Australian understands witness subpoenas have been drawn up by lawyers defending former CBA technology executives, asking that current CIO David Whiteing and former IT boss Michael Harte appear for the defence case.

    A series of other CBA technology and procurement staff have also been asked to appear as witnesses.

    Keith Hunter, 62, CBA’s former manager of IT engineering, and former IT executive colleague Jon Waldron, 44, have been charged with several counts of bribery after NSW Police alleged the two took a combined total of $2.9m from US technology entrepreneur Eric Pulier in return for millions of dollars in CBA work.

    NSW police, who were aided by the FBI in the investigation, allege the pair received money from Mr Pulier around October 2014 through an US-based charity called the Ace Foundation, in return for delivering his cloud computing company ServiceMesh a multi-million-dollar contracts with CBA.

    Both men have pleaded not guilty, with a directions hearing in a Sydney court today to decide whether the case proceeds to a committal hearing.

    It understood the defence teams for the men would like Mr Harte and Mr Whiteing to appear as witnesses to speak to, among other things, the circumstances surrounding the ServiceMesh contract and the utility of the technology.

    However the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is understood to object to Mr Whiteing, Mr Harte and others being called, arguing it would be inconsistent with the pleadings.

    CBA tipped off police after the suspicious funds appeared in the men’s CBA account in late 2014, with Mr Hunter and Mr Waldron resigning soon after.

    Mr Harte — who is not accused of any wrongdoing — was the manager in charge of the two men and oversaw the billion-dollar restructure of the bank’s IT services before departing in July 2014 to take up a role with Barclays Bank in London.

    He is now the chief operations and technology officer at Barclays and sits on the bank’s executive committee.

    Mr Whiteing replaced Mr Harte as CBA’s CIO and was previously vice-president of enterprise systems at BP.

    ServiceMesh was bought by US computing giant CSC for $US260m in October 2013 and maintained Mr Pulier’s role as head of the cloud computing company, but has since dismissed him and is suing him for the purchase price of ServiceMesh.

    During his time at CBA Mr Harte was a big supporter of the cloud technology provided by ServiceMesh.

    CBA said neither Mr Harte or the CBA were ever investors in ServiceMesh.

    “Mr Harte has informed CBA that he has never had any financial interest in ServiceMesh or any related party,” CBA said in statement.

    “Commonwealth Bank’s investigations to date indicate CBA does not hold, and has not previously held, an interest in ServiceMesh, and Mr Pulier was not offered shares in CBA as part of an agreement with CBA to provide services.”


    Read More...
    4 years ago

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