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By Bernadette H. Carreon

KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, Jan. 19) – The Palau Supreme Court’s disciplinary tribunal has disbarred an American attorney licensed to practice law in Palau for lying under oath, receiving proceeds and attempting to conceal his wife’s illegal business.

In the court’s 12-page opinion, David Schluckebier was ordered "disbarred and his name stricken from the roll of attorneys licensed to practice in the Republic of Palau."

The court said Schluckebier, who formerly worked as Senate legal counsel, and his wife Xue Hong Kun were in Palau for several years before they got married in 2002.

His wife operated Meyuns Restaurant where police earlier conducted a sting operation due to reported prostitution activities.

Schluckebier’s wife was charged with money laundering and other offenses and was convicted.

According to the court, Schluckebier lied during the trial about his finances and that of his wife.

Regarding the charge that Schluckebier knowingly received proceeds of his wife’s illegal business, there is evidence to support his knowledge of the prostitution going on at his wife’s restaurant, the court stated.

It added that there is also enough evidence to indicate that Schluckebier received proceeds from the prostitution business.

According to the court, over a two-year period from April 2002 to April 2004, Schluckebier would have netted approximately US$107,000 with his housing allowance and his wife’s income.

The court further stated that the restaurant reported approximately US$30,000 in revenue during that period.

It was later learned that Schluckebier deposited over US$100,000 in his account while his wife deposited US$60,000 in her account and US$40,000 in another bank account.

"These numbers do not add up," the court noted.

Schluckebier did not respond to the allegations, the court stated.

"An attorney who testifies falsely before the very court in which he practices corrodes not only the attorney’s integrity but also the foundation of our legal system," the court stated.

It added, "The public would justifiably distrust the court system if it were to permit professional who have been given the privilege to practice law in this republic from lying on the witness stand. The same skepticism should result after an attorney is found to have committed criminal acts."

Schluckebier was also ordered to notify his clients regarding his disbarment and pay the disciplinary counsel’s cost of investigating the case.

Schluckebier has sent e-mail messages to the disciplinary counsel stating that he is in China and has no plans of returning here.

January 19, 2006

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