LAWFUEL – The Law News Wire – The New York Times reports that federal prosecutors said yesterday that they would not file criminal charges against Sidley Austin, one of the largest law firms in the nation, over its work with questionable tax shelters that helped wealthy investors evade billions of dollars in taxes.
The decision not to prosecute the firm suggests that the Justice Department is modifying its stance toward the firms it contends promoted bogus tax shelters, focusing its efforts instead on pursuing their employees. It may also show the effect of new restraints placed on prosecutors in corporate investigations. The Justice Department adopted revised guidelines for prosecutors in December amid criticism that tactics used against companies like Bristol-Myers Squibb and the accounting firm KPMG were coercive and unconstitutional.
The United States attorney’s office in Manhattan said in a statement that it had decided not to charge Sidley Austin because the firm’s tax-shelter work was primarily carried out by a single person, a former partner and tax lawyer, Raymond J. Ruble.