Today we caught up with Pierce Bainbridge partner, Ted Folkman, to chat about the firm’s case against the French bank, BNP Paribas, for its role aiding and abetting the Sudanese genocide. Folkman said the case was, “one of the Pierce Bainbridge cases of which I’m proudest.”
The primary suit is a class action led by another Pierce Bainbridge partner, Lee Crawford Boyd, that was filed on behalf of 21 current and former Sudanese nationals living in the U.S. This case stems from BNP’s 2014 guilty plea and record $8.9 billion-dollar settlement in connection with its role as the Sudanese government’s main bank during the time of the genocide.
Ted Folkman and Pierce Bainbridge attorney Dwayne Sam are actively working on behalf of two of the Sudanese refugees to obtain public records in the DOJ’s possession that would help demonstrate the extent of BNP’s involvement.
“We know the documents exist,” Folkman states, “The government prosecuted BNP for conspiracy and BNP pleaded guilty.” However, the DOJ has rejected the plaintiff’s previous FOIA requests, asserting a categorical objection on the grounds of ongoing criminal investigation and failed to produce a single page.
After the DC action was filed, the DOJ fired back with a motion for summary judgment, once again asserting that there is ongoing criminal exposure related to BNP’s role in Sudan. However, on September 13th, summary judgment was denied by the court. Judge Amit Mehta found that the DOJ’s assertion of ongoing investigations is unjustified. BNP’s illegal conduct in Sudan ended in 2007, over 12 years ago, and BNP was sentenced in 2015, four years ago — long after any statute of limitations for criminal actions had run and considerably after the case settled.
Folkman remarks, “I hope this decision will also contribute to an eventual victory for our clients, who deserve and (if we have anything to say about it) will get justice.”
A scheduling hearing will take place this week for further proceedings.
To read more on this case, check out Law360’s coverage of the case here.
Majuc et al v. United States Department of Justice 1:18-cv-00566-APM
Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash