Paul L. Caron

Saturday, December 16, 2006

NY Times: Fallout from KPMG Tax Shelter Case

Interesting article in today's New York Times:  Judge’s Rebuke Prompts New Rules for Prosecutors, by Lynnley Browning:

It was a ruling that sent shudders through the Justice Department. Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of the Federal District Court in Manhattan in June issued a scathing criticism of the prosecution’s tactics in a criminal case against former tax professionals of the accounting firm KPMG. The government, the judge said, “let its zeal get in the way of its judgment.” For one, the judge cited the prosecutors’ pledge earlier in the case that they would examine “under a microscope” whether KPMG was paying the legal fees of the defendants. KPMG ultimately refused to pay the defendants’ legal expenses, he wrote “because the government held the proverbial gun to its head.”...

Months later, those private discussions have now produced new guidelines, known as the McNulty memorandum. Under them, a company’s decision to pay legal fees will not be held against it, except in extreme circumstances, when prosecutors are weighing whether to indict the company. The new guidelines also raise new hurdles for prosecutors seeking access to confidential legal communications.

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