General Electric has charged a former in-house attorney, Adriana Koeck, with illegally taking privileged and confidential company documents and feeding them to a reporter. The lawsuit was filed last month in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia.
GE says that Koeck gave the documents to David Cay Johnston, a former reporter for the New York Times. He currently is writing for Tax Notes International. Last month, Johnston wrote an article for Tax Notes International about an alleged tax fraud scheme at General Electric’s Brazilian subsidiary.
The article, "Blame It on Rio: GE’s Brazilian Headache," received coverage in Brazil but has been mostly ignored by US media outlets. Joshnston has not idetnfied his source for the story, but said this week that he is concerned that GE is seeking to muzzle reporters in the United States from writing about the alleged tax fraud scheme.
“No US news organization, except for the Corporate Crime Reporter, has written about my Tax Notes International article, but Brazilian news organizations have,” Johnston said. “GE has repeatedly tried to muscle me with threats of litigation. And other journalists who have read my piece have told me that GE has threatened litigation against anyone who writes about my article.”