Brazzers Parent Wants to Depose 2 Secret Service Agents

Mar 18, 2010 11:15 AM PST
ATLANTA — The parent company of Brazzers says that the U.S. government has "significantly harmed" its operations when it seized millions that were used to facilitate vendor payments from third-party credit card processors.

Further, Mansef Inc. says it can't properly make claims to the $6.4 million seized because the government is fending off the deposition of two Secret Service agents in the case who initiated the civil forfeiture case against Premium Services Inc., its Atlanta unit that facilitated payments.

U.S. authorities claim that $6.4 million in two Mansef Inc.-owned accounts is forfeitable under 18 U.S.C. § 981 (a)(1)(A) as property involved in or traceable to a transaction in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1960, which prohibit’s unlicensed money-transmitting businesses.

"Not surprisingly, this seizure of more than $6 million was a devastating blow to both Premium and Mansef and further severely inhibited Mansef’s ability to continue to operate," Mansef attorneys wrote in a response to government's protective order vacating the depositions of the Secret Service agents.

"Claimants find themselves in the position of the government refusing to make its witnesses available for deposition. How much longer are claimants expected to wait to rebut plaintiff’s case?

"Put another way, by its effort to obtain a protective order, the government is seeking to hold claimants’ funds without ever having to prove its case, an effort that is not supported by either the applicable law or the relevant procedures."

Mansef attorneys say that in the five months since the seizure, they have answered all of the government’s interrogatories and voluntarily provided to the government about 500 pages of documents in their possession that could be relevant to the its claim and the their defenses.

"Despite the enormity and completeness of the documentation submitted, and the passage of time, the government claims it cannot determine claimants’ standing as to the funds seized," Mansef attorneys wrote.

Mansef, in a request to the U.S. District Court in Atlanta last week, is seeking an order requiring the depositions of the two Secret Service agents to proceed without delay.

"By its effort to obtain a protective order [relative to the deposition of the Secret Service agents], the government is seeking to hold claimants’ funds without ever having to prove its case, an effort which is not supported by either the applicable law or the relevant procedures," Mansef attorneys wrote.

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