Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Diageo, Pernod Must Face Lawsuit
Over Colombian Sales

by Patricia Hurtado - June 19th, 2007 - Bloomberg

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in New York today refused to dismiss a 2004 suit alleging Diageo, maker of Smirnoff vodka, and Pernod are part ``of a RICO enterprise composed of illegal narcotics traffickers,'' a reference to the U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The Colombian government claimed the firms smuggled liquor into the country and laundered the proceeds of illegal drug sales.

The judge granted a request from the companies and dismissed a civil racketeering claim that alleged the Colombian government suffered lost taxes and other injuries. Two U.S. units named as defendants in the complaint, Diageo North America and Pernod Ricard USA, along with Seagram Export Sales Co. Inc. and United Distillers Manufacturing Inc., asked Garaufis for a dismissal.

This is just one more example of the amazing expansion of power our judicial tyrants are so eager to embrace. Foreign Countries are suing in American Courts for damages from multi-national corporations they claim they suffered in their own countries due to actions of these corporations. Like the lawsuits by states over tobacco, this is in essence, using the civil court system to extort money from deep pocket entities for supposed crimes that cannot be proven in criminal court.

It substitutes the "preponderance of the evidence" standard for the "beyond reasonable doubt" standard, but is only valid if the entity has money. It is an expansion of court power that corrupts the very concept of the "rule of law".

The primary goal is the extortion of legal fees by the community of shysters (lawyers) and tyrants (judges).


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