A Houston lawyer charged with helping private equity billionaire
Carlos Kepke died over the weekend in Texas, said one of his attorneys,
“Carlos always maintained that he was innocent of these charges, and we were prepared to prove that at trial,” said Strassberg, who represented Kepke along with
Jury selection had been scheduled to begin Monday morning. At a brief hearing, the lawyers told US District Judge
Kepke’s lawyers had previously raised his age and poor health in arguing for him to appear remotely for certain pre-trial proceedings. They noted that he’d had two heart attacks and a history of other cardiac ailments.
The passing of Kepke relieves Smith, 59, of the need to testify as the government’s star witness. Prosecutors accused Kepke of helping Smith evade taxes on $225 million he earned from Vista by setting up a trust structure with entities or accounts in Belize, Switzerland, Nevis and the British Virgin Islands. Under an unusual 2020 agreement, Smith avoided prosecution for tax crimes.
A spokesman for Smith and a spokesman for the Justice Department both declined to comment.
(Updates with Justice Department response in last paragraph)
To contact the editors responsible for this story:
© 2022 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.