U.S. Criminal Prosecution Based on Panama Papers Hack Raises Novel Legal Issues
January 17, 2019
Last month, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) indicted four individuals based on information first revealed in the “Panama Papers” leak. This marks a significant milestone in law enforcement’s reliance on evidence based on an unauthorized mass leak of information.
While leaks and hacks are not a novel phenomenon—in 1971, the New York Times published top secret documents on the Vietnam War and, in 1994, a paralegal leaked tobacco industry documents that ultimately cost the industry billions of dollars in litigation and settlement costs—the frequency, scale and ease of dissemination of leaked information today presents a difference not only of degree, but of kind. The new Panama Papers-based criminal case will likely raise a host of novel legal issues based on legal challenges to the DOJ’s reliance on information illegally obtained by a third party, as well as information that would ordinarily be protected by the attorney-client privilege. In this memorandum, we discuss the potential issues raised by the prosecution and their implications.
Please click here to read the full alert memorandum.
This alert memo was republished by The Columbia Law School Blue Sky Blog.