Discovering Secrets: Act of State Defenses to Bribery Cases

Prosecution of white collar crime, particularly grand corruption bribery, is increasing. High-level bribery is structurally similar to illegal drug cartels and terrorist organizations. Bribe-givers are serviced by multinational networks of attorneys and bankers—the “gatekeepers.” The prosecution of New York attorney and banker, James H. Giffen, in the Southern District of New York generated a pair of landmark opinions on significant issues of first impression rejecting act of state doctrine defenses to bribery cases. Act of state doctrine defenses involve complex legal issues at obscure intersections of U.S. criminal law, constitutional law, conflicts of law, and international comity.

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