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A special message of thanks to the GATA army from Reg Howe

Section: Daily Dispatches

Wednesday, November 8, 2001

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

I'd like to rebut the suggestion made a few places around
the Internet that Reg Howe's serving legal papers on the
Bank for International Settlements by mail in English rather
than by personal service in German at the bank's
headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, was negligent or

The service issue involves an interpretation of the Hague
Convention for international lawsuits. The convention
allows for mail service in English. It also allows for
countries to opt out of accepting that provision, as
Switzerland did. But at the hearing on his lawsuit in
U.S. District Court in Boston this week, Howe argued
that, under Switzerland's own law, the BIS has special
non-national status, and it is, by its own admission,
increasingly an international organization, not a Swiss
corporation, the more so now that its private shareholders
have been expropriated and governments own 100
percent of the bank.

As a practical matter, the BIS was deprived of nothing
by mail/English service of the legal papers. The BIS had
what the courts call quot;actual noticequot; of the lawsuit, was
able to file its reply briefs in court in plenty of time and
indeed did so, had its lawyer in court this week, and
uses English in its own internal transactions. A member
of GATA's legal team joked outside court that, when the
German translation issue was raised, Howe should have
asked the BIS lawyer -- an American -- if he spoke

There are two theories about the judge's siding with the
BIS on the legal service issue. One might think that the
judge was just looking for any device, no matter how
trivial, for getting rid of the lawsuit. Or one might think
that he was looking to the future and seeking to
foreclose a technical and trivial avenue of appeal in the
event that the case is allowed to proceed. In fact, the
latter motive is as common in court as the former. So
take your pick. We'll have to wait and see.

In any case, Howe was not negligent, and the service
problem can be fixed -- admittedly at some cost, the
cost of a long German translation -- if the case is
allowed to proceed.

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer