Thursday, December 04, 2008

Government Throws in the Towel on KPMG

From the Wall Street Journal:

It’s over. The Justice Department declined to ask the Supreme Court to review the 2nd Circuit’s ruling in U.S. v Stein. That’s the case, once billed by the government as the largest tax-fraud prosecution in history, in which U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan of Manhattan (pictured, left) dismissed the indictments of 13 former KPMG executives because prosecutors violated their rights. The violation? Pressuring KPMG not to pay the defendants’ legal fees.

More than three months ago, the 2nd Circuit affirmed Kaplan’s decision. The deadline to file a petition for writ of certiorari with The Supremes was last week. “All indications were that they would not [petition the Supreme Court], but we were not taking anything for granted,” says David Spears, who represents defendant Jeffrey Stein.

Meanwhile, a watered down version of the original case is underway before Judge Kaplan. Three former KPMG executives and an ex-partner at Sidley Austin are facing charges that they sold bogus tax shelters.

A spokeswoman for the Southern District of New York, which brought the case, declined to comment.

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