Law360 Comments on Danish Tax Fraud Case Letter from Caplin & Drysdale Attorneys

Law360 Tax Authority

Caplin & Drysdale has asked a New York federal judge to name the firm lead or co-lead defense counsel in a suit accusing hundreds of U.S. pension plans of a $2.1 billion scheme to defraud Danish tax authorities, citing its experience in tax litigation and white collar matters.

In a letter to U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, Caplin & Drysdale partner Mark Allison said Wednesday that he is lead counsel in 104 of the 140 cases brought by the Customs and Tax Administration of the Kingdom of Denmark, or SKAT, that have been consolidated in the Southern District of New York. The firm has also represented similarly situated taxpayers in litigation matters involving pension plans targeted in the instant litigation, such as the Millennium Multiple Employer Welfare Benefit Plan and Professional Benefits Plan.

"My extensive work in tax, tax litigation and the white collar defense arena had provided me with significant exposure to complex cross-border tax litigation issues, including those that arise under operative U.S. treaties and which often involve the nuanced interplay with foreign tax law," Allison told the court.

Caplan & Drysdale is a "well-known and well-regarded tax litigation boutique" with a separate practice group dedicated to commercial and complex litigation, which would support the work on the instant matter, the letter said. Allison's co-counsel Zhanna Ziering and James Wehner have been working with him on the matter since its inception, the letter continued.

Altogether, SKAT has accused (2018 Law360 156-153) hundreds of American pension plans of pretending to own shares of Danish stock, then claiming tax refunds they allegedly never deserved. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on Oct. 3 ordered the matters transferred to New York federal court, according to court records. Allison said his clients are defendants in suits filed in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Florida Ohio, Texas, Illinois and Florida.

Allison said none of the defense attorneys in the case has expressed objection to his bid, although one has indicated intent to seek a co-lead counsel role. As such, Allison asked the judge to proffer a more concrete proposal outlining leadership structure and cost allocation.

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Excerpt taken from the article "Caplin Seeks Lead Spot In $2B Danish Tax Fraud Case" by Jeannie O'Sullivan for Law360 Tax Authority.


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