A pound of flesh: how Cisco's 'unmitigated gall' derailed one man's life


Ian Mulgrew


High-tech entrepreneur Peter Adekeye's yearlong nightmare began after he dropped his wife off at the Vancouver International airport and headed downtown to The Wedgewood, a posh boutique hotel. Inside a tasteful boardroom adorned with gilt-framed mirrors, the US District Court for Northern California, San Jose division, had convened a special sitting to hear Adekeye's deposition as part of a massive antitrust action he had launched against his former employer, the computer giant Cisco Systems. An official court video camera recorded the proceedings on May 20, 2010 - Adekeye affably answering questions in an elegant black suit accented with a pale blue shirt and a coral tie.

At 5:15pm, however, two plainclothes women - the shorter one brandishing a badge - and two uniformed police officers entered the room. Adekeye was confused, as were his two Wall Street lawyers and the special judicial master conducting the hearing. But the four lawyers for Cisco knew exactly what was going on.

"I'm from the RCMP," the taller woman said, "I'm sorry I have to interrupt your meeting here."

"Hello," Adekeye said.

"I'm looking for - are you a Mr. Peter Alfred-Adekeye?"


"How do you say your name?"


"Add-a-kay," she repeated.

The lawyers interjected - "this is off the record," "on the record."

"I just want to speak with you," the officer continued. "Mr. Adekeye, the reason I'm here..."

"Wait, we're conducting a deposition here," the special master said as decorum collapsed and the video was shut off.

The recording resumed at 5:40pm, the camera focused on an empty chair with the special master speaking. "The interruption makes it impossible to continue the deposition today and, in my opinion, tomorrow," he said. "So I think that this deposition will be suspended until further notice."

Meanwhile, Adekeye was being perp-walked through the swanky hotel lobby, paraded past its well-heeled and powerful patrons and into a waiting paddy wagon. With that, the former Cisco executive, a British citizen with a blemish-free record and a sterling resume, dropped down an Alice-in-Wonderland rabbit hole that would tie up a year of his life.

The judge who freed Adekeye a year later said the public would "blanche at the audacity" of the conduct of Cisco and US prosecutors, both of whom turned out to be involved in Adekeye's jailing and persecution.

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