Wednesday, March 31, 2010


NYLJ 6/20/07


4. Ah, ‘tis enough to drive a murderin’, thievin’ boss of a drug cartel t’drink!

When government bribes fail, you’d think you could at least count in a solid business relationship to maintain the alliance against the bureaucrats.

But no, you say help the makers and distributors or Smirnoff and Tanq and—lord help us—Guinness, not to mention…well, hell yes! Let’s mention just Pernod-Richard and let you fill in the blanks, but that isn’t going to save you from a RICO investigation and prosecution when you’re found to be playing “scratch-my-back” with Columbian traffickers in narcotics. There may be better ways to outsell the government brands, but none quite as good. Money-laundering, that’s what they called it, and price-fixing via cheaper, and illegal, methods of distribution.

And even if I must face the revenue rule, common law doctrine which prevents the courts of one sovereign nation from enforcing the tax claims of another, I can readily dismiss the tax issue and allow the bulk of the suit to proceed. It is all well and good to say: My country right or wrong, and my taxes as well. But when a sovereign state brings a suit as a commercial actor, it should have the same rights or wrongs as any other capitalist. And we don’t want to set a precedent, now do we?

Of course, to win the suit it would have to show that their lost sales were directly attributable to the money-laundering. And those closing arguments would have to be heard elsewhere.

But, for now, last call has been given at these taps.

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