Feeds

Eagle-eyed hack uncovers eBay gun sales probe

Grand Jury haul head honchos in to testify

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

A grand jury has quizzed eBay to see if it broke the law by flogging guns online, it was revealed today.

At least four top eBay execs have been hauled before the federal grand jury since January last year as part of the probe, including head honcho Pierre Omidyar. The billionaire testified for five hours on 3 August 1999, documents show, defending his company's behaviour.

"In every conversation with our own outside counsel, inside counsel, ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms), and other... law enforcement agencies, we were left with the impression that there was nothing that we were doing that was illegal," testified Omidyar.

The documents that show the legal action were picked up by an eagle-eyed Bloomberg hack who was strolling past a recycling bin.

The reporter spotted the confidential documents - including legal briefs, snippets of testimony, and correspondence between lawyers - left atop a pile of documents in the uncovered container in the hallway of the federal courthouse in Manhattan, and bagged the scoop (and no doubt many Bloomberg brownie points from his superiors).

"You found something that shouldn't have been where it was," observed court clerk Roseann MacKechnie.

No shit, Sherlock. The documents, which showed prosecutors in Manhattan subpoenaed the online auction house on 29 January last year, were first placed under court seal to ensure secrecy regarding the grand jury probe.

But now eBay's dirty laundry is out and being aired in public. "The grand jury is investigating the unlawful sale of firearms, firearms-related items, an other items advertised and sold on eBay's online auction site," showed one legal brief.

No indictments have been returned, and both sides declined to say whether the investigation had ended. ®

Related Stories

eBay, QXL hit in piracy swoop
US presidency up for grabs on eBay
eBay seller suspended after caught bidding for own item
Porn, drug and bomb-making sites slip through kiddie filters

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.