Chaku sides with lawyers on client privilege

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Attorney at law Leon Chaku Symister is supporting law firms which refuse to allow the Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP) to inspect their clients’ records.
The agency is monitoring law firms that conduct financial activity as a business, as it seeks to crack down on money laundering.
Symister says, while this does not affect his practise, he is looking on with interest.
“It is not the entire law community that is subjected to this, only a small portion of the community but where the attorney client privilege exists, I think that every reasonable attorney will raise that privilege only if there is reason to believe that there is criminal activity then the privilege does not kick in. But, I don’t think any lawyer should or would allow the ONDCP or any other law enforcement agency to go on a fishing expedition too see if there is something that they should see,” Symister said.
The law that governs the ONDCP gives the agency the right to examine such records to ensure that financial institutions are conforming to anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism regulations.
That same law also overrides attorney-client privilege.
One law firm, Daniels, Phillips, & Associates, has already written to the ONDCP indicating that it will not comply with the request.

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