CHICAGO– LAWFUEL – The Law Firm News Wire–Sidley Austin LLP (“Sidley”) today announced that it has resolved the issues raised by the United States Government in the investigations by the Internal Revenue Service and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York focused on tax shelter opinions authored by Raymond J. Ruble, a former partner expelled by the Firm in 2003. Under the terms of the settlement, Sidley will pay a civil tax shelter registration penalty of $39.4 million to the IRS. Sidley has cooperated fully with the IRS and the United States Attorney since the beginning of their investigations and will continue to do so.
Ruble became involved in tax shelter transactions in 1996 while a partner at Brown & Wood, which merged in 2001 with Sidley & Austin. Prior to the merger, Sidley & Austin and Brown & Wood both specifically agreed that Ruble would terminate his individual tax shelter practice. However, Ruble circumvented that agreement and took steps to avoid detection of his conduct. He continued this practice into 2003 and was expelled from the firm in October 2003, when the firm learned that, both before and after the merger, he had deceived his partners about the nature and extent of his involvement in the tax shelter transactions and had secretly taken millions of dollars in side payments from a tax shelter promoter. Ruble was indicted in August 2005.
Commenting on the settlement, a Sidley spokesperson said: “The Firm has apologized and expressed its regret to the Government. We have strengthened monitoring and oversight designed to prevent conduct such as Ruble’s in the future. Having resolved these issues with the Government and with the vast majority of claims by individual taxpayers already resolved, we have taken a significant step in putting the tax shelter situation behind us. We are committed to maintaining the Firm’s 140-year reputation for integrity and commitment to excellent client service. All of our lawyers are grateful for the support and understanding of our clients and friends during this period.”
Sidley Austin LLP is one of the world’s largest full-service law firms, with more than 1,700 lawyers practicing in 16 U.S. and international cities, including Beijing, Brussels, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hong Kong, London, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo. In 2006, Sidley was named to Legal Business’ Global Elite, their designation for “the 15 finest law firms in the world.” Sidley was again named the number one law firm for overall client service by BTI, a Boston-based consulting and research firm, in 2007, and is one of only two law firms to rank in the Client Service Top 10 for six years in a row.