A foreign-bribery trial unfolding in federal court in Camden, N.J., has shed light on how large corporate law firms get their bills paid. In a word: freebies.
The defense team representing American businessman Joseph Sigelman made this point partly for amusement, it seemed. But the defense sought to signal to the jury that the government’s main witness, Sigelman’s former in-house attorney, Gregory Weisman, is himself compromised.
The Justice Department has accused Sigelman of paying bribes and accepting kickbacks in connection with PetroTiger, a Colombian oil field services company he started in 2008 and formerly ran. Charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), Sigelman allegedly bribed a former official of the Colombian national oil company, Ecopetrol, and is also accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks as part of an acquisition he engineered. Sigelman, who in the early 2000s enjoyed huge success in the outsourcing business in India, has denied wrongdoing.
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