Friday, July 10, 2009

UBS trial to start Monday

Lots of press coverage on the case to start Monday here.

I liked this Reuters piece on Judge Alan Gold, who is presiding over the case:

The judge presiding over a high-stakes legal showdown between the U.S. government and Swiss bank UBS AG is seen as a straight-shooter who has not shied away from taking aim at big corporate interests.
Some see Judge Alan Gold of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida emerging as an international mediator as he deals with issues loaded with important foreign policy and financial ramifications, led by U.S. demands for a lifting of Switzerland's treasured bank secrecy laws.
But U.S. attorneys and prosecutors who know him say Gold, a 65-year-old native New Yorker, will studiously avoid doing anything inconsistent with his role as a judge as he handles his biggest and most publicized case since he came to the federal bench in Miami nearly 13 years ago.
"He's about as straight-shooter as they come," said Charles Intriago, a former U.S. federal prosecutor and money laundering expert, who publishes a website for law enforcement officials about asset forfeiture.
"He's the perfect judge for this," he added, referring to the hearing Gold is set to preside over Monday in a suit in which the Justice Department is seeking to force UBS to disclose information on 52,000 secret accounts suspected of being used by wealthy Americans to avoid paying their taxes.
There is little in Gold's record to indicate how he might rule in the case, which experts say could set an important legal precedent since it marks the biggest test ever of Swiss bank secrecy.
Gold grabbed the media spotlight in a business law case once before, when he presided over a class-action lawsuit against Exxon Corp that resulted in a settlement costing more than $1 billion.

Gene Stearns won that case against Exxon. This time around, he's representing UBS.

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