Indonesian Nationals Working for Miami Lawyer to be Deported for Bribing Ethiopian Crash Victims’ Families
NAIROBI, November 28, 2019: Four Indonesian nationals were questioned and arrested for attempting
to bribe families of the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines ET302 crash. The four: Ivan Henry, Vini
Wulandari, Gustavina Komala Gani and Mohammad Narobby all working for Steve C. Marks of Podhurst
Orseck, P.A., a law firm in Miami, Florida and Arthur E. Ballen, a New Jersey lawyer, were caught offering
cash and other bribes to lure families into switching legal representation. They will also face charges of
illegally working in Kenya without a work permit.
Steve C. Marks of Podhurst Orseck, P.A.
According to the evidence uncovered, the gang of four had come to Africa to offer money to the families
of the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 crash. 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 in an underground bid to see Steve C. Marks of Podhurst Orseck and Arthur E.
Ballen 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.
Second from left Mohammad Narobby, Gustavina Komala Gani, Vini Wulandari, and Ivan Henry (standing).
The ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia was headed 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. Most of the families of the passengers
of this tragic accident have filed lawsuits in Chicago, USA.
The police and immigration authorities prevented the Indonesian gang from continuing with their plan
when a friend of a family member represented by Clifford Law Offices called the authorities. The
Indonesian gang operated with the help of a local Kenyan to unethically contact already represented
families of the victims of the crash according to testimony given to the authorities by Ivan Henry. One of
the four, Vini Wulandari would contact the families with the pretext of providing news about the court
case in Chicago and offering “comfort” for the families’ tragic loss. Vini Wulandari would say that she
understands the pain of the families because she has also lost a member of her family. Once the family
had agreed to meet, they would offer the victims’ families money to switch lawyers and hire Steve
Marks of Podhurst Orseck and Arthur E. Ballen.
Arthur Ballen, a New Jersey Lawyer
In line with their scheme, the Indonesian gang working for Steve Marks of Podhurst Orseck and Arthur
Ballen per the confession of Ivan Henry and Vini Wulandari made to the authorities, would bribe local
lawyers and family members. Ivan Henry on behalf 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,
Kreindler and Kreindler, Ribbeck Law Chartered, Wisner Law Firm and give their cases to Steve Marks of
Podhurst Orseck and Arthur E. Ballen.
Podhurst Orseck, P.A. agreement used for bribed cases In addition to paying bribes to the local lawyers Steve Marks of Podhurst Orseck and Arthur E. Ballen 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. A local
representative of the Kreindler and Kreindler las firm indicated that his clients had been contacted and
that he is planning to take action in court.
Mercy Wambua, the Chief Executive Officer of the Law Society of Kenya stated: “we are outraged with
the unethical practices of 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, CEO 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.”
Summons issued to Ivan Henry, Vini Wulandari, Gustavina Komala Gani and Mohammad Narobby after their
detentions by the Kenyan Police and Immigration authorities.
The four Indonesians, Ivan Henry, Vini Wulandari, Gustavina Komala Gani and Mohammad Narobby,
face felony criminal charges and deportation.