Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Craig FARA trial delayed for “two to three days”

US District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the District of Columbia has said that she may have violated ex-Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom lawyer Greg Craig’s constitutional right to a public trial by conducting jury selection in private, Politico reports.

Craig faces one charge of allegedly making a false statement under the US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). He has pleaded not guilty. 

Jackson reportedly told the court on 13 August that a fresh jury pool needed to be assembled and, consequently, the trial would be “delay[ed] … by two to three days”.

Jackson reportedly made the decision to limit public access to part of the selection process because some jurors objected to answering questions in public. 

Last week GIR reported that Craig's lawyers had successfully appealed a second count of making a false statement under FARA.

Lula’s lawyers ask court for access to leaked messages

Lawyers of former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva asked the Supremo Tribunal Federal (STF) on 13 August for Lula’s release on the basis that his right to fair trial was violated, according to local reports.

The lawyers asked the STF to review evidence seized during a separate investigation into hacking of messages between then-judge and now Justice Minister Sérgio Moro and federal prosecutors. Investigative news outlet The Intercept published the private messages in June, which show Moro mocking Lula’s defence strategy and directing prosecutors’ media response.

Federal Police arrested four individuals suspected of hacking the phone messages on 24 July.

Lula has been in prison since April 2018 after being sentenced to 12 years in jail for corruption and money laundering in July 2017. 

UK NCA freezes accounts holding over £100 million

Westminster Magistrates Court on 12 August granted the UK National Crime Agency (NCA) freezing orders on eight bank accounts.

The NCA said in a statement on 14 August that it believes the accounts contain over £100 million in funds derived from bribery and corruption overseas.

The order authorises the NCA to investigative the funds, and if found to be derived from or intended for unlawful conduct the NCA can seek to recover the money under the Criminal Finances Act.

In May, in an unrelated case the NCA secured an account forfeiture order for £25,000 held in a Barclays account belonging to the niece of Syrian ruler, Bashar al-Assad.

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