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Monday, April 16, 2007

What do Ana Palacio, Robert Barnett, and Jonathan Kravis all have in common? More allegations of sleaze and corruption

Washington, D.C., April 16 -- The answer to the question is that they all work for Paul Wolfowitz. Ana Palacio is the Bank's Chief General Counsel. On April 9 she announced to staff that she was hiring law firm Williams & Connolly LLP to investigate the leak of Bank documents to Fox News. The attorney on the case is Jonathan Kravis.

On April 12 staff learned that Robert Barnett, a lawyer at Williams & Connolly LLP, is Paul Wolfowitz's personal lawyer. Staff learned this as they waded through over 100 pages of documents outlining Wolfowitz's role in a sleaze and corruption scandal that has rocked the Bank.

World Bank staff are said to be baffled that Palacio is not aware that there is more than one law firm in Washington.

Could this be a conflict of interest ? The following process should have been required of Williams & Connolly. Was it?

1. The partner representing the new client (The Board) would have to inform the other partners, disclosing the nature of any potential conflict of interest, and the partnership would decide whether to take on the new client in this matter. The requesting partner would then be required to disclose the pre-existing interest to the new client, and the counsel for the new client would have had to sign a waiver.
2. The firm would have documentation of this waiver
3. Presumably, the counsel would have informed her client (the Board) of the potential conflict.
4. The firm would/should have these records, for if the waiver were not documented the law firm itself would vulnerable to a major scandal.

Questions the World Bank Board might have

1. The client (Board) is entitled to request this documentation from Williams & Connolly.
2. The client would be entitled to know if the partner supervising Mr. Kravis (the Associate handling the Fox leak investigation) was Robert Barnett.

Robert Barnett can be reached at Williams & Connolly LLP, Tel: 202-434-5034, email: rbarnett@wc.com

Jonathon Kravis can be reached at Williams & Connolly LLP, Tel: 202-434-5206, email: jkravis@wc.com

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