Lawyer investigated over $5m firm theft
A lawyer who worked at global law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher could face jail following an investigation by US federal agents into an alleged $5 million theft from two law firms including Willkie, and MasterCard, one of its clients. The Wall Street Journal reports that antitrust lawyer Keila Ravelo and her husband are accused by agents of setting up fake vendors and filing fake invoices for legal services. Ravelo is free on $500,000 bail and court records show she is in plea negotiation. Her husband has pleaded guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and tax evasion.
There is another part to this story though. During the investigation it was discovered by Willkie that Ravelo had been emailed confidential information from an opposing lawyer involved in an antitrust case between retailers and card processors. Lawyers on both sides will file court papers on Tuesday arguing that a $6 million settlement with Visa and MasterCard should be unravelled as a result of the email communications.
International law firm launches Hong Kong association
Mayer Brown JSM has received approval to form an association with PRC firm Jingtian & Gongcheng in Hong Kong. Mayer Brown JSM will provide office space and other resources to the Beijing-headquartered Jingtian in its Hong Kong office, and the two firms will collaborate in business development, training and provision of services to clients.
Private equity group expands at Ropes & Gray
Daniel Yeh has joined the private equity practice of Ropes and Gray partner in its Hong Kong office. His practice is focused on private equity transactions, including growth equity investments, cross-border M&A, public and private acquisitions and divestitures, leveraged buyouts, going-private transactions, and joint ventures. Yeh joins from the local office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges.
Lawyers shut down Pokemon party
A Pokemon theme-party at a gaming conference in Seattle attracted the attention of lawyers last week. Although the party had been taking place annually with the Pokemon theme since 2011, this was the first time lawyers had decided to take action for copyright infringement. Vice.com reports that the Pokemon Company International took action against party organisers and was particulary unhappy at promotional posters featuring the characters Pikachu and Snivy.