Whistleblower News: Tribes immune from False Claims Act, but tribal college's status unclear - 9th Circuit, U.S. Agency Moves to Allow Class-Action Lawsuits Against Financial Firms, BNP Paribas faces accusations over the Rwandan genocide

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Tribes immune from False Claims Act, but tribal college's status unclear - 9th Circuit

A federal appeals court on Monday ruled that Native American tribes cannot be sued under the False Claims Act in a decision involving a whistleblower lawsuit filed by former employees of a college run by tribes in Montana.

Although the unanimous three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that tribes such as the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are immune to FCA lawsuits, the panel revived the lawsuit and remanded the case to determine whether Salish Kootenai College Inc is an arm of the tribes that shares their sovereign immunity. read more »

U.S. Agency Moves to Allow Class-Action Lawsuits Against Financial Firms

The nation’s consumer watchdog adopted a rule on Monday that would pry open the courtroom doors for millions of Americans, by prohibiting financial firms from forcing them into arbitration in disputes over their bank and credit card accounts.

The action, by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, would deal a serious blow to banks and other financial firms, freeing consumers to band together in class-action lawsuits that could cost the institutions billions of dollars.

“A cherished tenet of our justice system is that no one, no matter how big or how powerful, should escape accountability if they break the law,” Richard Cordray, the director of the consumer agency, said in a statement. read more »

BNP Paribas faces accusations over the Rwandan genocide

A pillar of French finance is haunted by its past

BNP PARIBAS, France’s biggest bank, pleaded guilty in America three years ago to assisting a monstrous regime in east Africa. In 2006 it had helped to finance Sudan’s government, which in turn supported militias that massacred tens of thousands of civilians in Darfur. The firm thus abetted genocide and circumvented American sanctions on Sudan. It agreed to pay a fine of $9bn for breaking that embargo, as well as ones on Cuba and Iran.

The bank, naturally, hopes to put that grim episode behind it. These days it makes much of its social-responsibility efforts. Its 2015 annual report, for example, trumpeted the financing of a big supermarket in Ivory Coast as typical of its contribution to African development. On July 3rd it named a new head of compliance plus a new “company engagement department”, responsible, among other things, for setting strategy on human rights

Yet the past is hard to banish. The bank faces scrutiny over an even uglier episode. On June 29th three human-rights groups in France submitted a complaint to a judge, accusing BNP of war crimes and complicity in genocide in Rwanda in 1994, when 800,000 people, mostly members of the Tutsi minority, were killed. The groups say they can prove BNP transferred funds to finance a weapons deal, breaking a UN arms embargo and equipping the killers. The bank has said only that it does not have enough information about the complaint. read more »

The fascinating legal argument at the heart of the 'Pharma Bro' trial

Not much Martin Shkreli has done the past two weeks has helped him in a trial that could put him behind bars for 20 years for eight counts of securities and wire fraud.

He was personally rebuked by the judge for speaking to reporters about his case inside the Brooklyn courthouse and on the streets outside where jurors could potentially hear him. He has mocked prosecutors on a live stream on his Facebook page and called them a "junior varsity" team to news outlets. One day, he strolled into a room filled with reporters and made light of a witness who had just testified against him.

And yet, despite the antics and his attorneys' acknowledging that Shkreli is an "odd duck," legal experts say the flamboyant former hedge fund manager is putting on a novel defense that may resonate with jurors.

At the heart of his team's legal argument is this question: Is his alleged wrongdoing worth a criminal conviction if his investors did not lose money?

Shkreli - who is often called "Pharma Bro" on social media - became infamous for increasing the price of a vital drug used by AIDS patients by 5,000 percent and then publicly lamenting that he didn't raise it more. But federal authorities say they arrested him because he also lied to his investors about how he was using their cash. None of those investors, however, lost money. Some even made a big profit, largely because Shkreli's bet on a biopharmaceutical startup paid off. read more »

CFTC Charges GDLogix Inc. with Fraud in Connection with Foreign Currency Derivatives Commodity Pool Scheme and Registration Violations

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed a civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York against Defendants Daniel Winston LaMarco and his company, GDLogix Inc., charging them with off-exchange foreign currency derivatives (forex) fraud, commodity pool fraud, and failure to register with the CFTC, as required. LaMarco previously resided in Huntington, New York, and GDLogix’s last known principal place of business was in Huntington, New York. Neither Defendant has ever been registered with the CFTC.

LaMarco Fraudulently Solicited and Accepted Nearly $1.5 Million from Individuals

According to the CFTC’s Complaint filed on July 10, 2017, from January 2011 through March 2016, LaMarco fraudulently solicited and accepted $1,492,650 from 13 individuals to trade off-exchange leveraged or margined retail derivatives forex contracts in a commodity pool operated by the Defendants. LaMarco solicited pool participants by word-of-mouth, by email, by the Internet, by the use of mails, and/or other means, according to the Complaint. Further, as alleged, LaMarco solicited pool participants by falsely representing to them the purported success of his personal investments in forex trading and the purported safety of his forex investment strategy. All of these representations were material and false, the Complaint alleges. read more »