Dinamo Zagreb coach quits after receiving prison sentence
Attorney News | 2021/03/16 21:54
Zoran Mamic quit as Dinamo Zagreb coach after Croatia’s Supreme Court confirmed his nearly five-year prison sentence for tax evasion and fraud, just days before the Croatian champions play a Europa League match against Tottenham.

“Although I do not feel guilty, as I announced earlier, if the verdict is final, I accept it as such and resign from the position of head coach and sports director of GNK Dinamo,” Mamic said in a statement late Monday. “I wish the club a lot of luck and sporting success in its future work.”

Mamic has no further avenue for appeal, and will have to go to prison upon receiving the formal notification of the court ruling.

Mamic and his brother Zdravko, a former Dinamo Zagreb executive director, were charged with embezzling the equivalent of $18 million from the sale of Dinamo Zagreb players to foreign clubs, and for tax evasion worth $2 million.

The Mamic brothers were suspected of embezzlement through fictitious deals made during transfers of several former Dinamo players to foreign clubs, including Luka Modric to Tottenham in 2008.

The Real Madrid midfielder, a former FIFA player of the year, was a key witness during the trial, testifying about his financial deals with the Mamics.

Zoran Mamic was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison. Zdravko Mamic, who was sentenced to six years and six months, fled to Bosnia shortly after a lower court passed the original sentences in 2018.

The Supreme Court also confirmed a three-year prison sentence for former Dinamo director Damir Vrbanovic.

The club said Mamic would be replaced as coach by Damir Krznar.

Dinamo is scheduled to host Tottenham on Thursday in the return leg of their Europa League playoff. Tottenham won the first leg 2-0 last week.



Man gets 5 years in prison for arson at Savannah city office
Court News | 2021/03/15 02:53
A Georgia man has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for setting fire to a Savannah city government office building.

Stephen Charles Setter, 19, was sentenced by a U.S. District Court judge after pleading guilty to a charge of arson, federal prosecutors said in a news release. In his plea, Setter admitted to setting a blaze that destroyed the city’s code enforcement office last year on May 3.

Setter also told the court he had activated a fire alarm at a local marina that same night to draw firefighters away from their station. He said that allowed him to slip into the station and steal a radio, which he used to listen to fire department communications.

The fire at the code enforcement office spread to the attic and the roof. The building was declared a total loss with damage estimated at nearly $1 million. The fire was set late at night, when the building was unoccupied. No one was injured.

In addition to the prison sentence, the judge ordered Setter to pay $1.2 million in restitution.



Kuwait court expels harsh government critic from parliament
Attorney News | 2021/03/12 10:53
Kuwait’s constitutional court ordered the country’s most outspoken opposition lawmaker expelled from parliament on Sunday, inflaming tensions between the government and legislature and revealing the limits of political freedom in the Gulf state.

The court nullified Bader al-Dahoum’s membership in the currently suspended parliament, citing an old conviction for insulting the late emir. The decision sparked instant fury among his fellow lawmakers, given that the country’s highest appeals court had since acquitted al-Dahoum on the defamation charges, clearing the way for him to run in last year’s parliamentary elections.

Al-Dahoum has become notorious in Kuwait for his vociferous protests against the government. In recent weeks, the discord between the country’s elected parliament and emir-appointed Cabinet has reached a fever pitch. While Kuwait’s parliament is more democratic than other Persian Gulf sheikhdoms, its powers remain limited. Lawmakers can introduce legislation and interrogate ministers, though the emir retains ultimate authority and ruling family members hold senior posts.

Following lawmakers’ uproar over new ministerial appointments earlier this year, the government resigned and the emir later suspended parliament for a month starting Feb. 18 to defuse tensions. The deadlock has pushed oil-rich Kuwait toward its worst financial crisis in decades and impeded all efforts toward political and social reform.

As lawmakers convened to discuss next steps Sunday, distrust was running high. Lawmakers suspected political motives in the court decision, with 28 deputies demanding urgent legal changes to reduce the court’s influence over the elected parliament.

The move comes as opposition figures in Kuwait are feeling increasingly hemmed in amid the suspension of parliament and a nationwide coronavirus curfew that forbids residents from gathering and leaving their homes after 5pm.

The ruling “is seen as an attempt by the government to eliminate a harsh critic from the political scene,” said Kuwaiti political analyst Mohammed al-Yousef. “It’s a bad sign for how the government will deal with dissent.”


Drug trafficker says he bribed Honduras president
Court News | 2021/03/10 10:53
A convicted Honduran drug trafficker and former leader of a cartel testified in United States federal court Thursday that he paid now-President Juan Orlando Hernandez $250,000 for protection from arrest in 2012.

Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga, former leader of the Cachiros cartel, testified that he made the payment in cash through one of Hernandez’s sisters, Hilda Hernandez, in exchange “for protection so that the military police and preventive police didn’t capture us in Honduras.”

He said he also paid so that he wouldn’t be extradited to the U.S. and so companies used by the Cachiros to launder money would be favored by the government. Rivera Maradiaga has admitted to being involved in 78 murders.

At the time of the alleged bribe, Juan Orlando Hernandez was leader of Honduras’ Congress, but had begun angling for the presidency, which he won in 2013. He took office the following January. Hilda Hernandez, who later served in his administration, died in a helicopter crash in 2017.

The accusation came in the third day of testimony in the trial of alleged drug trafficker Geovanny Fuentes Ramirez. U.S. prosecutors have made it clear that allegations against President Hernandez would arise during the trial, though he has not been charged.

Fuentes Ramirez was arrested in March 2020 in Florida. He is charged with drug trafficking and arms possession.

Hernandez has vehemently denied any connection to drug traffickers. One of his brothers, Juan Antonio Hernandez, was convicted of drug trafficking in the same court in 2019.

During that trial, the president was accused of accepting more than $1 million from Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

U.S. prosecutors have alleged that much of Hernandez’s political rise was funded by drug traffickers who paid to be allowed to move drugs through Honduras without interference.

In January, U.S. federal prosecutors filed motions in the Fuentes Ramirez case saying that Hernandez took bribes from drug traffickers and had the country’s armed forces protect a cocaine laboratory and shipments to the United States.

The documents quote Hernandez ? identified as co-conspirator 4 ? as saying he wanted to “‘shove the drugs right up the noses of the gringos’ by flooding the United States with cocaine.”

This week, Hernandez has said in a series of Twitter messages that the witnesses in New York are seeking to lighten their sentences by making up lies against him.



Nepal Parliament, reinstated by high court, begins session
Court News | 2021/03/07 08:03
After being reinstated by the nation’s Supreme Court, Nepal’s Parliament began a session on Sunday that will likely determine the future of the prime minister and the government.

The split in the ruling Nepal Communist Party has left Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli without the majority of votes in Parliament required for him to continue in office. Oli so far has refused to step down and is determined to continue.

A vote of no confidence against Oli is likely to be brought by the splinter group from his own party, which would force him to step down. The group has not yet made a formal decision.

Oli would have to get the support of other political parties in Parliament in order to stay in power. The process could take days, leaving an unstable political situation in the country.

Oli had the president dissolve Parliament in December and announce fresh elections after the rift in the party. Last month, the Supreme Court ordered the reinstatement of Parliament in response to several cases filed with the court charging that Oli’s decision to dissolve the legislature was unconstitutional.

Since Parliament’s dissolution, there have been regular street protests against Oli by tens of thousands of people in Kathmandu and other cities.

Oli became prime minister after the party won elections three years ago. His party and that of former Maoist rebels had merged to form a strong Communist party to win the elections.

However, there has been a power struggle between Oli and the leader of the former Maoists rebels, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who is also co-chair of the party. The two had previously agreed that they would split the five-year prime minister’s term, but Oli has refused to allow Dahal to take over.



Mississippi told to pay $500K to wrongfully imprisoned man
Headline Legal News | 2021/03/03 22:23
The Supreme Court appeared ready Tuesday to uphold voting restrictions in Arizona in a key case that could make it harder to challenge a raft of other voting measures Republicans have proposed following last year’s elections.

All six conservative justices, appointed by Republican presidents, suggested they would throw out an appellate ruling that struck down the restrictions as racially discriminatory under the landmark Voting Rights Act. The three liberal members of the courts, appointed by Democrats, were more sympathetic to the challengers.

Less clear is what standard the court might set for how to prove discrimination under the law, first enacted in 1965.  The outcome could make it harder, if not impossible, to use the Voting Rights Act to sue over measures making their way through dozens of Republican-controlled state legislatures that would make it more difficult to vote.

Civil rights group and Democrats, argue that the proposed restrictions would disproportionately affect minority voters, important Democratic constituencies.

Democrats in Congress, meanwhile, have proposed national legislation that would remove obstacles to voting erected in the name of election security.




Anchorage companies, man fined for clean air violations
Attorney News | 2021/03/01 06:20
A man and two companies in Alaska have been sentenced to three years probation and a $35,000 fine for violating the Clean Air Act involving asbestos work at a shopping center more than five years ago, a judge said.

The work was performed at the Northern Lights Center in Anchorage, the former location of an REI store. Reports of potential asbestos exposure at the time closed the store for a day back in 2015, authorities said.

U.S. District Court Judge Joshua Kindred sentenced Tae Ryung Yoon, 64, on Friday to probation, fined him $35,000 and said he owes $30,000 in restitution for medical monitoring of the four workers who claimed they were exposed to asbestos, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

The owners of Yoo Jin Management Company Ltd. and Mush Inn Corp. were also sentenced after agreeing to plead guilty to a charge of violating the Clean Air Act’s Asbestos Work Practice Standards. Both companies are owned by Chun Yoo, who is in his 80s and has “serious medical conditions,” and his wife, attorney Kevin Fitzgerald said. The couple still owns the center.

The case centers on workers who said they were exposed to asbestos during improperly conducted renovations involving an old boiler room. The work was stopped when two of the workers raised concerns.

High levels of asbestos exposure can cause lung disease or cancer.

Prosecutors said in a statement that the building owners and manager relied on a contractor who was not a certified asbestos abatement contractor and “failed to inform the contractor of the possibility of asbestos in the old boiler room.”

Fitzgerald argued that an assessment indicated no evidence of asbestos when his clients bought the center in 2006. Yoon was the building’s property manager at the time.

Documents show the boilers were replaced by another company in 2012 and the old ones were removed in 2014 to make more room. Some of the workers took photos of what they thought was asbestos and emailed them to the property management company that employed Yoon.




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