. Legal ethics

Ethics Roadshow 2014 update … in-house counsel edition

This week a former in-house counsel whose travails were discussed at last years Ethics Roadshow finds himself back in the news this week as he is testifying at his boss’s trial.  At the Roadshow we discussed that the former GC for PetroTiger Ltd. had been disbarred in late November of last year as a result of being convicted for his part in bribing a Colombian official in order to land a nearly $40 million oil services contract.

In January of this year, the former GC was back in the news when it came out that he visited Joseph Seigelman, who had been the CEO of PetroTiger, while equipped with a tiny sound-activated camera at the FBI’s behest.  In March 2015, the news came out that six current and former officers of the state-controlled oil company on the alleged receiving end of the bribes were arrested in Colombia.

This week, Seigelman’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act trial has commenced with the former GC serving as the star witness against the defendant, and the trial is making news with a focus on the aggressive nature of how the Department of Justice pursues its undercover investigations in such cases.  Bloomberg has done some excellent reporting on this case, and I commend the linked articles for some fascinating reading.

Ethics issues for in-house counsel can be complicated at times under RPC 1.13 but this looks like a situation in which only one of two things can be true.  Neither of them leave this now-disbarred former in-house counsel looking very good.