Friday, September 18, 2009

Let's get ready to rumble

Fascinating lawsuit filed by Joseph DeMaria against DOJ and American Express. Here's the Herald article and the complaint. From the article:

Sergio Masvidal, the successful scion of a once-penniless Cuban exile family, says he just wants the Justice Department to give him back his name.

Masvidal says he also wants his former employer, American Express, to pay him more than $7.5 million for ruining his career as a top global banker based in Miami.

The former chairman of American Express Bank International claims he's a ``scapegoat'' in a lawsuit filed Friday that depicts the Justice Department and his ex-employer as partners in an illegal conspiracy plotted at the same time that American Express was prosecuted for violating anti-money-laundering reporting laws.

``It's important to me that my name is cleared,'' said Masvidal, 63 who came to this country in the early 1960s under the Catholic Church's ``Pedro Pan'' relocation program. ``It's important that I don't end my career with this event defining my life.''

According to the complaint, there was a secret agreement entered into between the government and American Express that sold out Masvidal:

The August 2007 prosecution agreement between American Express Bank International and the Justice Department has caused Masvidal many sleepless nights -- but not because of the costly terms of that deal.
Masvidal has obtained evidence of what he describes as a ``secret termination agreement'' between his ex-employer and the Justice Department. It says that Masvidal and American Express Bank International's president, Simon E. Amich, would be fired after the sale of the bank, implying wrongdoing on their part. The side agreement -- an August 2007 letter signed by American Express and Justice Department lawyers -- was never disclosed to Masvidal, Amich or to U.S. District Judge William Zloch in Fort Lauderdale, who approved the so-called ``deferred'' prosecution agreement.
Under that settlement, American Express had to pay the government $65 million for its lax enforcement of compliance laws aimed at catching drug-trafficking and other tainted bank deposits. It was one of the largest fines imposed on a U.S. bank. Under the terms, the Justice Department filed criminal charges against the bank but agreed to dismiss them in one year if the international bank subsidiary strengthened its safeguards against money laundering.

I notice that John Sellers represented DOJ against American Express; he's the same prosecutor in the Ben Kuehne case.

1 comment:

South Florida Lawyers said...

Proving up the damages will be the hard part.