Friday, June 24, 2011

Stolen Property and finality of transactions

Book recommendation: A Judge's Guide to Divorce: Uncommon Advice from the Bench
By Yasser Latif Hamdani

New York Court of Appeals has given a landmark judgment by ruling 5-2 that innocent divorcees can keep money that was gathered fraudulently by their spouses.

The judgment came in the case of Stephen Walsh and his wife, Janet Schaberg, who had split up in 2007. The financial regulators found Stephen Walsh and Paul Greenwood guilty of defrauding USD 550 million. A federal judge had frozen 7.6 million USDs of Schaberg's money.

Now why would a Pakistani lawyer like me blog about this judgment. I found this interesting because the New York Court of Appeals has based its judgment on the principle that finality of transactions must be respected. Interestingly in Pakistan there is a presumption - though rebuttable- that if you have acquired stolen property you are criminally liable. In any event stolen property is returned to the original owner our law.

I imagine that the financial regulators will take this judgment to the Supreme Court. This is going to be very interesting.

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