Feeds

Eagle-eyed hack uncovers eBay gun sales probe

Grand Jury haul head honchos in to testify

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

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

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Microsoft: We're making ONE TRUE WINDOWS to rule us all
Enterprise, Windows still power firm's shaky money-maker
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.