In an escalation of the Boeing 737 Max 8 woes, several top lawyers have been arrested over claims of bribery in Nairobi in the compensation of victims who perished in an Ethiopian airlines boeing crash.
Viusasanews understands Ivan Henry, Vini Wulandari, Gustavina Komala Gani and Mohammad Narobby all nationals of Indonesia working for Steve Marks from Podhurst Orseck, P.A. a law firm in Miami, Florida, were arrested on November 27 for attempted bribery and for illegally working in Kenya.
According to officers probing the matter, Ivan Henry, Vini Wulandari, Gustavina Komala Gani and Mohammad Narobby had come to Africa to offer money to the families of the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash to lure them in switching lawyers.
The families of the victims they were contacting had already hired Kenyan and USA lawyers. Their objective was to bribe the local lawyers and family members so that Steve Marks of the firm of Podhurst Orseck could take over the representation of those cases.
The scheme involved contacting clients from Clifford Law Offices, Ribbeck Law Chartered, Wisner Law Firm all of them from Chicago and Kreindler and Kreindler LLP from New York City.
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 was a flight from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to Nairobi, Kenya. On March 10, 2019, the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft which operated the flight crashed near the town of Bishoftu six minutes after takeoff, killing all 157 people aboard.
The police and immigration authorities prevented the Indonesian nationals from continuing with their plan when a family member represented by Clifford Law Offices called the authorities.
A local Kenyan by the name of Amos was recruited by Steve Marks from the Podhurst Orseck law firm to unethically contact already represented families of the victims of the crash according to comments made by Ivan Henry. According to the investigation, Vini Walandari would contact the families with the pretext of providing news about the court case in Chicago and offering “comfort” for the families tragic loss. Once the family had agreed to meet her, then Vini and the gang would offer the victims’ families money to switch lawyers.
In line with their scheme, the Indonesian nationals working for Steve Marks of Podhurst Orseck would bribe local lawyers and family members. Ivan Henry on behalf Steve Marks of Podhurst Orseck would pay US$30,000.00 to the local lawyers so they would terminate their existing contracts with law firms like Clifford Law Offices and give their cases to Steve Marks of Podhurst Orseck.
In addition to paying bribes to the local lawyers Steve Marks from Podhurst Orseck would also pay an upfront payment to the clients to switch lawyers. The amounts payable to the clients varied from US$20,000.00 to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the value of their cases. Besides an initial payment to switch, the clients are also paid monthly payments equivalent to the passenger’s salary until their cases are settled.
Mercy Wambua, the Chief Executive Officer of the Law Society Of Kenya stated: “we are outraged with the unethical practices of Steve Marks from the Podhurst Orseck law firm in Kenya. We will file complaints with the Bar of Florida and will seek punishment from the local Kenyan authorities.” Ms. Mercy Wambua added that “these are very serious violations of the law and ethics rules that could cause for these lawyers to be disbarred and be criminally charged.”