Sunday, November 27, 2011


Whenever you are performing due diligence on a potential client, and you run their name on a commercial off-the-shelf database of high risk individuals, prior, or pending, criminal charges sometimes appear. Whilst a felony record, especially if financial crime is involved, usually disqualifies the person, that is not always the case.

Before you dismiss the individual, out of hand, as an unacceptable risk, ask yourself these questions:

(1) Could the charges possibly be politically motivated, rather than a valid criminal case ? Remember, countries like China, Russia and Venezuela often bring criminal charges against members of the opposition, or individuals that these government perceive as threats, whether commercially, or politically. Look carefully at the country that brought the charges.

(2) Is this something that was brought years ago, never went to trial, but which was never dismissed, due to the nature of that country's criminal justice system ? Notwithstanding the total absence of a factual basis for the charge, it may linger in some systems indefinitely, through corruption, neglect, poor case management, or political influence.

(3) Was a conviction reported by local media, even though a conviction never occurred ? bribes paid to journalists, on behalf of persons with interests adverse to the individual you are investigating, can result in totally fabricated stories.

(4) Did the individual leave the jurisdiction where the criminal charges were filed, not to avoid prosecution, but to escape a corrupt criminal justice system, where either bribes, or government influence, trumps the rule of law.

Therefore,  in criminal cases brought in jurisdictions where justice does not generally prevail, things as seldom what they seem.

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