Republic of Iraq v. ABB AG

Bernstein Liebhard LLP represents the Republic of Iraq in a lawsuit against more than ninety multi-national corporations in Republic of Iraq v. ABB AG, No. 08 Civ. 5951 (GEL) (S.D.N.Y.).  According to the allegations in the complaint, the corporations conspired with Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi officials to corrupt the United Nations’ Oil-for-Food Programme, a $64 billion humanitarian relief program managed by the United Nations from 1996 to 2003.  Because the Republic of Iraq has alleged that the corporations violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), the case could prove to be a landmark in determining the reach of RICO over foreign companies.  Among other things, the Republic of Iraq has asserted that federal law applies because the sole bank handling the money for the Oil-for-Food Programme was in New York. The Republic of Iraq is also seeking to have the district court recognize that Congress intended to grant plaintiffs a private cause of action when it passed the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the aftermath of the Watergate investigation, during which it was discovered that more than 400 companies admitted to making illegal payments in excess of $300 million during the 1960s and 1970s.

Defendants’ motions to dismiss the complaint, as well as plaintiffs’ opposition to those motions have been fully briefed and are sub judice.

For more information please contact Stanley D. Bernstein, Esq. at (212) 779-1414.