Former Stolt-Nielsen counsel called to give evidence

The former general counsel of chemical shipping company Stolt-Nielsen has been dragged into an investigation of his former employer.

The US Department of Justice has called Paul O’Brien to appear today (24 September) before a grand jury in an action that could lead the government to repeal the antitrust immunity it granted Stolt in January.

O’Brien resigned last year and filed a lawsuit against Stolt saying that he had no choice but to quit because his employer refused to investigate or cease activities he regarded as illegal, including antitrust abuses.

Stolt subsequently approached the US government, seeking immunity in return for cooperation in investigating other companies that may have colluded. Immunity was granted, but the government is now investigating evidence that Stolt broke conditions of the pact.

O’Brien is expected to be questioned on events leading up to his resignation. However, Stolt’s White & Case legal team is arguing that O’Brien cannot testify because to do so would violate attorney-client privilege.