October 23, 2010 |
Russian prosecutors said Friday they would seek a 14-year prison sentence for onetime oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who is on trial for embezzlement and money laundering while already in his seventh year of incarceration on a tax evasion conviction, all charges he has vehemently denied. Khodorkovsky, once the head of Yukos Oil and the richest man in Russia, is widely seen as the nation's leading political prisoner and a personal foe of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The current trial is seen by some observers as a referendum on whether Russia has changed since Putin was succeeded as president by Dmitry Medvedev, a lawyer who has complained about judicial corruption and manipulation, which he described as "legal nihilism.
October 10, 2010 |
Swiss banker Bradley Birkenfeld would do just about anything for the wealthy Americans who entrusted him with millions of dollars they wanted to hide from the Internal Revenue Service. He'd help them set up phony companies to conceal their deposits. He'd give them credit cards to access their hidden cash. On one occasion, he converted an American client's money into diamonds, then smuggled the gems across the Atlantic Ocean in a toothpaste tube. Those actions, detailed by Birkenfeld in court documents, were part of a coordinated -- and illegal -- effort by his employer at the time, Swiss banking giant UBS, to help wealthy U.S. clients evade taxes.
July 3, 2010
Ideally, Senate confirmation hearings for a Supreme Court nominee serve two purposes: to test the potential justice's grasp of the law and to elicit her views about the Constitution and the role of the court. This week's hearings for Solicitor General Elena Kagan accomplished the first objective but not the second. Kagan faithfully followed the playbook used to advantage by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. at his hearings five years ago: Demonstrate an encyclopedic knowledge of Supreme Court decisions, commit yourself to judicial modesty and a respect for precedent, and elegantly evade questions that might reveal your own views about constitutional issues.
May 29, 2010 |
Wesley Snipes is hoping that the arrest of his former financial advisor could help reverse the actor's tax-charge conviction on which he has been sentenced to three years in prison. Kenneth I. Starr, who was arrested Thursday and charged with fraud and money laundering in federal court in New York, was Snipes' financial advisor in the 1990s. Starr, a prosecution witness in Snipes' 2008 tax-evasion trial, testified then that he told the movie star he needed to file tax returns, despite contrary advice the actor obtained from an anti-tax outfit.
May 16, 2010 |
I came to Europe for a vacation and an economic crisis broke out. It hasn't cramped the vacation. Quite the contrary: The price of the euro has dropped to $1.26 from $1.50 last year. Gas for the rental car is still $7 a gallon and Zegna neckties are still out of range, but food and wine are much more affordable. And it has made for interesting conversations with European friends about taxes and pensions and the way Europe's different nationalities are still, well, very different from each other.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 24, 2010 |
When several Beverly Hills investors told stories of being conned by a suave, heavy-set man who claimed to be former Mexican President Vicente Fox's brother in media reports a few years ago, a sternly-worded notice appeared on the man's website. "Just as power abhors a vacuum, modern journalism apparently abhors any type of due diligence and fact checking before scurrilous allegations are repeated as fact," said the notice posted on the "official site" of Alfredo Trujillo Fox, threatening legal action against his accusers.
September 9, 2009 |
With its sparkling headquarters building in Torrance and global network of 300,000 distributors, Sunrider International seems to be a picture of entrepreneurial success -- right down to the gleaming red Rolls Royce in its lobby. The picture is all the more remarkable because the herbal-products company was put on the ropes by criminal charges against its owners and remains a target of critics who say many of its health products are of dubious value to consumers. "If the entire industry were to disappear overnight, it would have little impact on public health," said Dr. Stephen Barrett, who runs Quackwatch.
August 25, 2009 |
As he raced toward Infineon Raceway's second turn, Helio Castroneves felt the front suspension of his red-and-white No. 3 race car snap. Suddenly, he was careening off the pavement and into the dirt around the track, coming to a stop in swirls of dust. His race over, Castroneves then waited for emergency crews to pick him up. It was an unfulfilling end Sunday compared with a year ago, when Castroneves basked in the glory of winning the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon, with the flag of his native Brazil draped over him in Victory Lane.