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Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy has been disqualified from representing Deutsche Bank in a suit accusing the bank of hoarding funds belonging to victims of the 1915 Armenian Genocide. In a decision dated Aug. 7, the Los Angeles federal judge overseeing the case said the firm could no longer be involved because it had retained as an expert an academic who had previously been retained by one of the plaintiff’s lawyer and had been given confidential information. Historian Hilmar Kaiser had conducted research at various European archives and had been prepared to testify that certain documents cited by the plaintiffs as showing Armenian deposits at German banks actually showed debts. But the court said the plaintiffs had shown that Mr. Kaiser’s research had been funded by plaintiff’s lawyer Vartkes Yeghiayan, who had told the scholar his theory of the case and what kinds of archival documents would be helpful. Milbank’s lawyers had discussed these documents at length with Mr. Kaiser, the judge said, requiring their disqualification. The plaintiff’s case is being led by well-known Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer Mark Geragos. Sander Bak, the Milbank partner who had headed the defense, declined comment yesterday.

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