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Shame on Skadden Arps!

February 21, 2018

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and even a bit before in some Soviet satellite nations, opened a great deal of economic activity as new governments began to privatize state companies.

Unfortunately, many of these transactions were controlled by company managers or Communist nomenclatura who wanted payoffs for directing the sale to those who paid bribes. One million dollar bribes were common, and U.S. companies and entrepreneurs were faced with participating in the “instant millionaire” game or violating the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

In some instances, even if bribes were paid, the deals broke down and the persons engaged in making payoffs could take the perpetrators to Court, or keep their mouths shut. A deal is a deal, right?

Yesterday, special counsel Robert Miller indicted an attorney with the U.S .law firm of Skadden Arps for lying about relations with former Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort.

Manafort worked against anti-communist reformers in Ukraine and with the political party headed by the pro-Soviet President Viktor F. Yanukovych.

Wait, did I get that right? Paul Manafort, a Reagan conservative, was working with pro-Soviet forces in Eastern Europe and against the anti-communists? And what is Skadden Arps doing working on behalf of the pro-Soviet president of the Ukraine?

Back when political conservatives were anti-communists, we wouldn’t be caught dead working with communist governments. In my case, I even avoided visiting the Soviet Union lest that travel were suspect when later I would work for Ronald Reagan. And, when from 1989 to 1995 I worked with the head of RFE in Poland to finance projects developed by associates of Lech Walesa, I simply would not pay officials who wanted to become “instant millionaires.”  Several bids we prepared were thwarted by those who made pay-offs.

Apparently the prestigious attorneys at Skadden Arps had a different view:  Just provide legal representation for the bribers, money launderers and pro-Soviet hacks.

Sorry, perhaps I’m naive, but I have to say that is not good. In fact, it’s outrageous!


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