David Abrahams donations: no charges in Labour donor row, CPS says
Labour Party treasurers at the centre of the row over "donations by proxy" from the businessman David Abrahams will not face charges, the Crown Prosecution Service has said.
By Andrew Porter, Political Editor
Last Updated: 12:47PM BST 07 May 2009
David Abrahams donations: CPS says no charges in Labour donor row
Mr Abrahams gave money to the Labour via third parties – which is against the strict rules governing political donations.
David Triesman, Matthew Carter and Peter Watt received a total of £600,000 in donations from Mr Abrahams that was not registered to him. But the CPS said today there was "insufficient evidence" to charge them with breaches of electoral law.
The revelation in November 2007 about the donations was a hammer blow to Gordon Brown so soon after the aborted general election that autumn. His popularity has never recovered from that period.
However, he will hope that the CPS decision not to pursue successive Labour treasurers will put the matter to rest.
The 18 month police inquiry is the latest into political donations and has ended the same way, without any charges. The final year of Tony Blair's premiership was overshadowed by the "cash for honours" investigation.
Mr Abrahams was anxious to avoid publicity and used a series of conduits including his secretary and a builder. The property developer was one of the party's biggest backers and gave £670,000 but his identity had been secret.
The proxy arrangement was designed to get around the law requiring political donors to be declared under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.
Under electoral laws, political parties have to declare their sources of funding and police have been investigating whether Labour Party staff may have deliberately sought to break the rules.
The scandal led to the resignation of Peter Watt, Labour's General Secretary, who is understood to have been investigated by Scotland Yard detectives.
But the revelation created an outcry that led to the resignation of Peter Watt, then general secretary of the Labour Party, when it emerged he knew of the arrangement.
Scotland Yard was handed over its files to the CPS last June.
Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, who was not interviewed by police, condemned Labour officials at the time for accepting the money and described the arrangement as "illegal".
The Electoral Commission said: "The law requires that political parties and politicians report the source of donations to ensure transparency and integrity in party funding. This is vital to public confidence in the democratic process.
"In this case, following discussion with the Metropolitan Police Service and the CPS, we referred the matter to the police because there was evidence that an offence may have been committed. The police decided to conduct an investigation, and passed the evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service.
"The CPS has concluded that the donation reports in question incorrectly identified the donor but there is insufficient evidence to charge anyone with any offences.
The decision on whether or not to bring a prosecution is a matter for the CPS."
Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 November 2007, 18:31 GMT E-mail this to a friend Printable version
Donor's business interests
By Alison Swersky Business reporter, BBC News
Mr Abrahams has said he never sought any favours from Labour
As the scandal over secret government donations unfolds, so the spotlight has been trained on the business arrangements through which the man at the centre of the allegations operated his property investments. David Abrahams is a former Tyne and Wear county councillor who has also gone by the name of David Martin. He has donated more than £650,000 to the Labour Party via other people, and is listed in Companies House as being the director of six companies, all based in the North East. At some of these firms his co-directors include Ray Ruddick and Janet Kidd, two people who were used to funnel money to Labour. See a full list of businesses The pair were used by Mr Abrahams for donations totalling £381,850 since 2003. One donation of £5,000 was used to help Harriet Harman pay off the debts relating to her successful campaign to become Labour's deputy leader earlier this year. Mr Ruddick and Ms Kidd are also listed as company secretaries at other firms with which Mr Abrahams is involved. The role of company secretary is an important one as among its responsibilities is a requirement to ensure that the business complies with company law and that the firm's board of directors are informed of their legal responsibilities. Mr Ruddick is a builder from Newcastle who has worked for Mr Abrahams, while Ms Kidd was employed by Mr Abrahams in a clerical capacity as his secretary. Investigation According to documents logged at Companies House, Mr Ruddick and Ms Kidd appear as the sole directors of a company behind a controversial commercial development in County Durham, for which plans were submitted by Mr Abrahams in 2005. Profile: David Abrahams Labour donations: Key players The registered address of the firm, Durham Green Developments, is Mr Abrahams' home address in Gosforth. In fact, Mr Abrahams' home is registered in the name of David Martin. His plans for a 540-acre business park south of Durham City, near junction 61 of the A1 motorway, were initially blocked by the Highways Agency. But about a year later their objections were withdrawn and the plan was given the green light. This application will now be investigated, ministers have promised. Following are a list of Mr Abrahams' companies and the people registered in the role of company director and company secretary: Park View Property Investments:Company director: David AbrahamsCompany secretary: Janet Kidd Acorn Residential Estates (North Tyne) Company director: David AbrahamsCompany secretary: Raymond Ruddick Acorn Residential Estates (Durham) Company director: David Abrahams Acorn Commercial Developments (Northumbria) Company director: David AbrahamsCompany secretary: Raymond Ruddick Foxlow Limited Company director: David AbrahamsCompany director: Janet KiddCompany secretary: Raymond RuddickWebfast Limited Company director: David Abrahams Company director: Janet Kidd Company secretary: Raymond Ruddick Acorn Business Park (Durham) Company director: Raymond Ruddick Company secretary: Janet Kidd Durham Green Developments Company director: Janet Kidd Company director: Raymond Ruddick Company secretary: Janet Kidd
EAGLE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATES, INC.
PRESENTS ITS FALL 2008 SEMINAR
PRODUCTS LIABILITY CLAIMS IN THE UNITED STATES AND
THE EUROPEAN UNION INCLUDING
A MOCK TRIAL OF A PRODUCTS LIABILITY CLAIM
This seminar will inform attendees of the current state of products liability litigation in
the United States and the European Union. Experienced trial lawyers from the United
States and Europe will discuss timely products liability issues on both sides of the
Atlantic. In addition, an American mock jury trial will be presented allowing attendees to
see the trial presentation of a pharmaceutical claim. Attendees will witness all aspects
of an American jury trial and have the opportunity to observe and question the Eagle
International trial lawyers regarding all aspects of a major products liability lawsuit.
17 OCTOBER 2008
PULLMAN PARIS LA DEFENSE HOTEL
Paris La Defense, France
17 October 2008
David D. Hudgins, Esq., - Chairman, Eagle International Associates
Simon Ndiaye, Esq. – HMN & Partners
Overview of U.S. Legal System and Products Liability Law
Jeffrey V. Hill, Esq. – Bodyfelt Mount LLP
Electronically Stored Information - Its Importance in the US Judicial Process
John E. Cuttino, Esq. – Turner Padget Graham & Laney
Product Liability and Recall Process in France
Juliette Vogel, Esq. – HMN & Partners
Recent Jurisprudence from the Court of Justice of the European
Communities on the Transposition of the Products’ Liability European
Directive into Members’ National Law
Pierre Humblet, Esq. and Eve Georges, Esq. – Lebeau & Humblet
An Overview of an American Jury Trial
Jeffrey V. Hill, Esq. – Bodyfelt Mount LLP
Introduction to Mock Trial
Mario C. Ciano, Esq. – Reminger & Co., LPA
Plaintiff’s and Defendant’s Jury Selection
John P. McKay, Esq. – McKay, Graham & de Lorimier
Marc A. Sheiness, Esq. - Sheiness Scott Grossman & Cohn
Plaintiff’s and Defendant’s Opening Statements
Leland Eugene Backus, Esq. – Backus - Carranza
Peter A. Miller, Esq. – Peter A. Miller & Associates
Expert Witness Direct Examination
Debra T. Herron, Esq. – McNeer Highland McMunn & Varner
David A. Abrams, Esq. – Strongin Rothman & Abrams (Expert Witness)
Expert Witness Cross Examination
Alex J. Hagan, Esq. – Ellis & Winters
David A. Abrams, Esq. – Strongin Rothman & Abrams (Expert Witness)
Plaintiff’s and Defendant’s Closing Arguments
James Ryan III, Esq. – James Ryan III & Associates
Timothy W. Waldeck, Esq. – Waldeck & Lind
4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Reception
A simultaneous translation from English into French and vice versa will be provided
David A. Abrams received his Juris Doctor from Hofstra University School of Law in June 1985, where
he graduated “with distinction” (top 10%). He graduated from the State University of New York at
Binghamton with a BA in June 1979. David has been admitted to practice law in New York since 1986
and in New Jersey since 1988. He is also admitted in the federal courts in those jurisdictions. Mr.
Abrams has over twenty years of civil litigation experience, including significant trial experience in the
State and Federal Courts of New York and New Jersey. Areas of concentration include products liability,
construction site accidents, insurance coverage, transportation/trucking, sports and recreational injury
litigation, hospitality industry litigation, premises and premises security liability, and commercial litigation.
Since 1996, Mr. Abrams has served as national coordinating counsel for Club Mediterranee, S.A.’s
insured litigation in the United States, a position he proposed, developed, and implemented. He is a
former Chairman and a member of the Board of Directors of Eagle International Associates, Inc. Mr.
Abrams is a contributing author to the legal treatise Products Liability in New York, Chapter 8, “Defending
the Design Defect Case: Strategic Considerations,” published by the New York State Bar Association in
1997. Additionally, Mr. Abrams has lectured on a variety of civil litigation topics at Bar Association
seminars and before professional organizations.
Leland Eugene (Gene) Backus is a native Nevadan and graduate of UCLA School of Law. He has
been chief trial counsel or regional counsel on some of the largest complex cases in the country from the
MGM Fire Litigation where he was appointed Liaison Counsel to Agent Orange, asbestos, Dupont Hotel
Fire Litigation, Pepcon Plant Explosion, Bone Screw Litigation, tobacco, diet drug and other
medical/pharmaceutical complex and class action litigation. When asked what he specializes in, his
answer is often the “complex and ugly.” His law firm, Backus · Carranza represents hotel, construction,
health care, real estate, and insurance clientele. Mr. Backus is an arbitrator with the American Arbitration
Association in complex construction and commercial matters and has been selected as panel chairman
in many large scale disputes. He has authored several articles in the field of litigation, including ABA
survey publications on pharmaceuticals and medical device litigation issues. Not only has he educated
others in healthcare law and products liability internationally, he has lectured in construction law at the
national level at both the esteemed Superconference and the ABA Forum for the Construction Industry.
He has helped educate judges and lawyers on civil rule practice; his peers refer to him as a “lawyer’s
lawyer.” Mr. Backus is a member of the Board of Directors of Eagle International Associates, Inc.
Mario C. Ciano served as Managing Partner of Reminger Co., LPA from 1990 to 2005. A few of his
many accomplishments include his vision to successfully expand Reminger & Reminger from 45
attorneys in two offices to over 125 attorneys in eight offices. An Italian immigrant, Mario’s hard work,
entrepreneurial spirit and sense of fairness makes him a frequently requested mediator by both plaintiff
and defense attorneys for complex litigation maters. Mr. Ciano has been recognized and included
among the ‘Best Lawyers in America’ for the last ten years. He has been a featured ‘Leading Lawyers’
by Inside Business Magazine and is a member of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel and
Defense Research Institute. He is also a faculty fellow for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and a
life delegate of the Eighth Ohio Judicial District. He frequently lectures to peer groups on various trial
litigation and professional liability issues. His areas of practice include D&O Professional Liability,
Business/Commercial Litigation, Insurance and Mediation. Mr. Ciano received his B.A. in 1965 and his
J.D. in 1968 from Western Reserve University. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Eagle
International Associates, Inc.
John E. Cuttino is a Shareholder with Turner Padget Graham & Laney, P.A. in Columbia, South
Carolina. His practice is confined to civil litigation including, but not limited to, products liability, major
torts, construction defect, personal injury and commercial matters. He is also a certified civil mediator.
He has been in private practice since August of 1983. Prior to entering private practice, he served as a
law clerk to South Carolina Circuit Judge Dan F. Laney, Jr. (Third Judicial Circuit) from 1982 to 1983. He
is a 1979 graduate of Wofford College and a 1982 graduate of the University of South Carolina School of
Law. Mr. Cuttino is admitted to practice in all South Carolina Courts, the United States District Court for
the District of South Carolina, the United Sates Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the United States
Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court. He is a member of the
Richland County, South Carolina and American Bar Associations, is a former Chairman of the South
Carolina Bar Trial and Appellate Advocacy Section, and is a past member of the South Carolina Bar
House of Delegates. He is a member of the South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys Association, the
Defense Research Institute (2008 Chair of the Construction Law Committee), the American Judicature
Society, and the U.S. Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference. Mr. Cuttino is a member of the Board of
Directors of Eagle International Associates, Inc.
Eve Georges is an associate in “Lebeau & Humblet sc”, Belgium. She obtained a Master degree in Law
from Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve in 2001 and was awarded a post graduate Master in
Insurance Law and Economy from the same University in 2004. Her practice includes insurance
defense, particularly with regards to personal injury losses, professional negligence liability, fire
insurance etc. She was admitted to the Bar of Liège in 2001. She is handling cases both in French and
Alex J. Hagan concentrates his practice on medical, hospital, and commercial laboratory defense, as
well as business litigation and product liability litigation. He has been active in representing software
manufacturers, automobile manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, and manufacturers of medical
devices and other products. He also has experience in employment matters, consumer claims, contract
disputes and trademark infringement matters. Mr. Hagan has considerable jury trial experience in
personal injury and commercial matters. In 2006, 2007 and 2008, he was recognized by North Carolina
Super Lawyers. Mr. Hagan received his undergraduate and law degree from the University of North
Carolina (B.A., 1987; J.D., With Honors, 1992). He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Carolina
Legal Assistance. Mr. Hagan is also an active member of The International Association of Defense
Counsel, the Defense Research Institute and the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys. He is
also a member of the Board of Directors of Eagle International Associates Inc.
Debra T. Herron is a Director at McNeer, Highland, McMunn and Varner, L.C, where she practices in the
area of insurance defense and bad faith litigation. She is admitted to the West Virginia and Pennsylvania
Bars, Northern and Southern Districts of West Virginia and has argued before the United States Fourth
Circuit Court of Appeals and the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. She is the chairperson of the
Appellate Committee of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel. Debra received an
undergraduate degree in accounting and is a graduate of University of Richmond - T. C. Williams School
of Law. She is a member of the Defense Research Institute, Randolph County Bar Association, Harrison
County Bar Association and West Virginia State Bar. She has co-authored publications in the area of
bad faith litigation and has previously served as a speaker on bad faith, discovery and domestic issues.
Debra received a special appointment and spent two years as a Family Court Judge in West Virginia.
Jeffrey V. Hill is a partner at Bodyfelt Mount LLP (www.bodyfeltmount.com), an insurance and trial
practice law firm in Portland, Oregon. He is a twenty-five year trial lawyer who concentrates his practice
in the areas of complex insurance coverage, professional, fire, environmental and financial liability. Jeff
received his undergraduate degree in economics from Washington State University in 1978 and his law
degree from the University of Puget Sound in 1981. He is admitted to practice in all courts of the states of
Oregon and Washington. He is a member of the Oregon Association of Defense Counsel, Defense
Research Institute and is a frequent contributor to insurance and trial related presentations around the
United States. firstname.lastname@example.org.
David D. Hudgins is the founder of the Hudgins Law Firm, a litigation, business and insurance practice
serving clients in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. He was born in Virginia and attended
Hampden-Sydney College and the University of Richmond School of Law. Mr. Hudgins devotes his legal
practice almost exclusively to insurance and corporate defense litigation, and he has represented clients
in diverse areas of practice including professional liability, products liability, church liability, errors and
omissions, private security, intellectual property, admiralty, financial agents and brokers, defamation,
municipal liability, discrimination, commercial liability, construction and personal injury defense. Mr.
Hudgins has extensive trial experience, and handles insurance coverage determinations and declaratory
judgment actions as a regular part of his practice. He is a contributing author for the Virginia CLE
Publications Handbook Insurance Law in Virginia, and is a co-author of Tort and Personal Injury Law in
the Thomson West Virginia Practice Series. Mr. Hudgins is a member of the Bars of Virginia, Maryland,
and the District of Columbia, and he is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts within these
jurisdictions, as well as the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Hudgins recently served as Chairman of
the Risk Management subcommittee of the Virginia State Bar's Malpractice Insurance Committee. He is
a member of various state and local bar associations, the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys, the
Defense Research Institute, the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, and the Association of
Defense Trial Attorneys. Mr. Hudgins is the current Chairman of Eagle International Associates, Inc. Mr.
Hudgins lives with his wife, Ann, and their three children in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.
Pierre Humblet is senior partner of “Lebeau & Humblet s.c.” in Liège, Belgium.
He is Doctor of Law, from Liège State University (1967) and a member of the Bar since that time.
His practice concentrates on insurance defence, personal injury losses, fire insurance, professional
liability and malpractice, products liability etc. He is specialized in sports liability too. He is member of the
Arbitration Commission of the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee and lecturer (civil liability) for
the Ministry of the Belgian French Community, General Administration of Youth assistance, Health and
Sport. Mr. Humblet has been President of the Belgian Alpine Club and the International Mountaineering
and Climbing Federation. He is a Director of Eagle International Associates, Inc.
John P. McKay is Board Certified in Trial Advocacy and a member of the American Board of Trial
Advocates. Mr. McKay believes strongly in the First Amendment freedoms and the American jury
system. He has defended high-profile entertainers, manufacturers in product liability actions, clergy
accused of molestation, prominent lawyers and migrant farm workers. He is regularly before the
Appellate and U.S. District Courts, and won a 2004 benchmark decision for landowners in the California
Supreme Court. Bringing four decades of experience to the courtroom, he is valued as an insurance law
expert whether defending multinational corporations or our Constitution. He is a lawyer valued by his
clients and well respected by his peers. Mr. McKay received his B.A. from California State University at
Fullerton in 1963 and his J.D. from Pepperdine University in 1968. He is a member of the Board of
Directors of Eagle International Associates, Inc. and served as Chairman from 2001-2003.
Peter A. Miller is the senior partner and is the overseer of all divisions of the firm. He has been a trial
lawyer since 1975 and is admitted to all District and Appellate Courts in the State of Florida, as well as
the United States District Courts for the Southern District and Middle District of Florida. He is also
certified as a trial lawyer by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Mr. Miller
is a Fellow with The Litigation Counsel Of America, a trial lawyer honorary society composed of less than
one-half of one percent of American lawyers. Peter A. Miller specializes in general liability defense,
religious organization defense, legal malpractice defense, construction litigation defense, products
liability defense, E.E.O.C. defense, employment practices defense, long term lessor liability defense,
transportation defense, and insurance and bad faith litigation defense. Mr. Miller received his B.B.A. in
1972 from the University of Miami and his J.D. in 1975 from the University of Miami School of Law. He is
a member of the Board of Directors of Eagle International Associates and served as Chairman of the
organization 2003 – 2005.
Simon Ndiaye is a partner with HMN & Partners. Mr. Ndiaye has obtained a Master of Philosophy of
Law and a Master of Insurance Law at the University of Paris Pantheon-Assas and also a LL.M in
International Legal Studies at New York University. He has an extensive experience defending product
liability claims and advising clients on product safety risk management. Mr. Ndiaye assists domestic and
international clients on high profile cases in aviation, insurance and reinsurance, directors and officers
liability and industrial risks. He is involved in criminal, administrative (AMF, SEC), civil, commercial
proceedings and class actions.
James Ryan III is a 1973 graduate of Tulane Law School. He is admitted to practice before all sate and
federal courts in Louisiana, as well as the United States Supreme Court. He is a member of the New
Orleans, Louisiana State (Member, House of Delegates, 1983-2007, Federal (President, New Orleans
Chapter 1990-91), and American Bar Associations, together with the Louisiana and International
Associations of Defense Counsel. Mr. Ryan is also a member of the Defense Research Institute and the
Transportation Lawyers Association. He is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell.
Marc A. Sheiness is Managing Partner in the Houston, Texas, civil trial law firm of Sheiness Scott
Grossman & Cohn, LLC and is AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell. He received his B.A. from Texas A&M
University, his J.D. from Baylor University, and was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1971. He was
board certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1980. He is
admitted to practice before the U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Eastern, Northern and Western
Districts of Texas, and before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. His professional
memberships include the Texas Association of Defense Counsel, Defense Research Institute, Eagle
International Associates, Inc., and the Litigation Counsel of America. He has been engaged primarily in
insurance defense since his practice began, with primary areas of practice in products liability,
professional malpractice, premises liability, and bad faith litigation.
Juliette Vogel is a senior associate of HMN & Partners. Ms Juliette has obtained a Master of Private
Law and a Master of Insurance Law at the University of Paris Panthéon Sorbonne and also a Master in
Medical Law at Saint Antoine Faculty of Medicine. She advises major insurance companies and domestic
and international clients on cases relating to complex product liability cases, medical malpractice and
pharmaceutical liability. She has been involved in class actions. Ms Vogel is also part time Lecturer in the
Master in Medical Law of the University of Sceaux.
Timothy W. Waldeck is a partner in Waldeck and Lind of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He obtained a BS
from Bradley University and JD from Drake University. His practice areas include insurance defense. He
is a member of the Minnesota Bar and the Wisconsin Bar. Mr. Waldeck is a member of the Board of
Directors of Eagle International Associates, Inc.
Eagle International Associates Inc.
Eagle International Associates is a global network of independent law firms, adjusters and
claims related service providers throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Eagle
members are dedicated to providing insurance companies and self-insureds with the highest
quality legal and adjusting services for competitive and fair compensation. As members, we
are committed to the highest ethical standards and act with professionalism and civility in all our
endeavors. Eagle members exceed their clients’ expectations for quality and service. At every
opportunity, we promote the use of Eagle and its members and refer existing relationships
through active participation in Eagle’s meetings, programs and seminars.
While the concept of a network is not new, the Eagle network is unique for a number of
reasons: Members are held together, not by contract, but by the common goal of service.
Members offer the advantages and facilities of a global organization with the individual attention
and the local knowledge that are generally expected from a small firm. Members do not incur
referral fees, nor is there any additional cost to the client for utilizing any members of the
Eagle members strive to meet the needs of many clients who want the benefits of small to
medium size firms, but need the extensive resources throughout the country and sometimes
Eagle International Associates, Inc. does not itself render any legal or adjusting services.
Members of Eagle are independently engaged in handling litigation and/or claims focusing on
major areas such as Products Liability, Professional Liability, Environmental Liability, E&O and
D&O, Toxic Tort, Premises Liability, Travel and Hospitality, Automobile and Truckers Liability,
Medical Malpractice, Coverage Evaluations and General Liability.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
David D. Hudgins (Chairman)
David A. Abrams
Gene Backus (Treasurer)
Mario C. Ciano
John E. Cuttino
Alex J. Hagan (Secretary)
Debra T. Herron
David M. Macdonald (Vice Chairman)
Peter A. Miller
Frank L Napolitani (Executive Director)
David L. Pennington
Timothy W. Waldeck
SEMINAR REGISTRATION FORM
Register by October 6, 2008
Please complete a separate Registration Form for each attendee
Affix Your Business Card Here
Preferred First Name for Badge _________________________
Complete this form and mail to:
Eagle International Associates, Inc.
PO Box 371510
Las Vegas, NV 89137-1510
Pullman Paris La Defense Hotel, Paris