November 2, 2009 5:31 PM
Add Top General to List of Patton Boggs's Sri Lankan Clients
Posted by Brian Baxter
All Patton Boggs needs to do is find a way to steal Raj Rajaratnam away from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, and the firm might have to open a Colombo office to service its stable of high-profile Sri Lankan clients.
Authorities in the war-torn island nation have confirmed that the country's Chief of Defense Staff, General Sarath Fonseka (pictured right), has been asked to attend an interview with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday.
Fonseka, who holds a U.S. green card, entered the country last week to visit family in Tulsa. Sri Lankan news sources report that Fonseka sought legal advice from former White house counsel and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius partner Fred Fielding in anticipation of the meeting, which is to probe alleged human rights abuses by government forces in the final phase of the country's 25-year civil war with ethnic Tamil separatists.
The government of Sri Lanka is vehemently opposed to the interview and has mobilized an army of lawyers from Patton Boggs to resist any interrogation. Fonseka reportedly has agreed to drop Fielding as counsel in order to retain the services of the Patton Boggs team. (Fielding was traveling and unavailable for immediate comment.)
As previously noted by The Am Law Daily, the Sri Lankan government retained Patton Boggs earlier this year to handle lobbying and promotional work for the country. Those services are needed more than ever following a 68-page report released late last month by the State Department's top war crimes official urging an investigation into possible war crimes committed by Sri Lankan troops and Tamil rebels.
Hedge fund billionaire Rajaratnam, implicated by prosecutors in an insider trading scandal, was sued a week ago in U.S. court by plaintiffs claiming he fueled the Sri Lankan conflict by funneling $5 million to the Tamil Tigers separatist group through a charity.
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