We were retained by a US law firm to assist in the criminal defense of David Pinkerton, an AIG fund manager who was indicted for alleged FCPA violations relating to the privatization of the national oil company in Azerbaijan [US v. Kozeny, et al.]. The government’s case relied heavily on information provided by a cooperating witness. We conducted an investigation of the cooperating witness in various locations including the US, UK, Turkey, Serbia, Cyprus, Russia, Azerbaijan and Australia. Our investigation revealed that the co-operator engaged in wrongful activity both historically and during his cooperation with the government.
As part of our investigative process, we conducted a series of interviews and reviewed relevant records in order to establish alternative theories for the cooperating witness’s actions that suggested that his role in the scheme was likely much larger than previously known. The government’s case as to Mr. Pinkerton also relied on a conscious avoidance theory, i.e., he must have known of illegal payments because objective due diligence would have led him to walk away from the investment. As part of the defense, we conducted historical “snapshot” due diligence to show that in fact, at the time that the investment was made, due diligence would have provided ample reason for the client to proceed with the transaction, and that in fact the US government was actively encouraging investment in Azerbaijan in the relevant time period.
The law firm was able to use our findings to have the case against its client dismissed three years after he was indicted.