This is an extract of our Government Of Usa V. Montgomery document, which we sell as part of our Conflict of Laws BCL Notes collection written by the top tier of Oxford students.
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USA V. MONTGOMERY
FACTS The defendant's former husband Larry Barnette was charged with defrauding the United States Government of sums of money totalling some $15m, and was convicted in 1984 on a number of counts of fraud and related offences, including offences under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act ("RICO"). He was sentenced to a term of imprisonment and also ordered to pay
$7m to the United States by way of restitution and to forfeit his 900 shares in Old Dominion SA. Shortly before he was indicted for fraud, Mr Barnette transferred 800 of his 900 shares in ODSA to the defendant, who was at that time still married to him. The US court ruled that under RICO the US Government's title to the 800 shares antedated the transfer to the defendant, with the consequence that they were forfeited and had to be surrendered. After lengthy and complex litigation the US district court made an order on 18 August 1995, whereby it held both the defendant and Mr Barnette in contempt and ordered them to pay by way of forfeiture the sum of $4,217,833.01. In August 1983 the defendant left Mr Barnette and subsequently remarried, being now Mrs Montgomery. She renounced her US citizenship in April 1992 and moved to London in May 1992, with the intention of taking up residence there. She became a citizen of St Kitts and Nevis in June 1994 and lost her US nationality in November 1994. On 15 December 1992, when she was out of the jurisdiction, the US court made an order for discovery against her, but she failed to comply with it. She did, however, take part in the proceedings to the extent that she supported an application by Mr Barnette claiming credit for certain sums and a motion by him seeking further time to respond to the US Government's motion. The defendant filed a substantial brief and was represented by counsel. At the end of the hearing the court invited further submissions on the issue whether in view of the "fugitive status" of the defendant and Mr Barnette it should not entertain their appeal at all. The defendant submitted a brief on this issue, but the court on 20 November 1997 dismissed both appeals on the basis of the fugitive disentitlement doctrine. Under this doctrine the court had a discretion to refuse to hear or decide the appeal, on the ground that the defendant was a fugitive from justice. HOLDING Foreign cases and domestic cases In doing so I would observe that in my judgment the case belongs to the category classified by Lord Bingham of Cornhill in R (Ullah) v
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