Richard Gibbon

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Increased Corporate Transparency in the Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands, a British overseas territory, has long been recognized as one of the world’s leading providers of institutionally focused financial services and a preferred destination for the structuring and domiciling of sophisticated and specialized financial services products, particularly investment funds.  However, for a number of reasons, the inherent risks to the Cayman Islands’ … Continue Reading

The UAE Exits FATF’s Grey List

The authors wish to thank Molly McKenna for her contributions to this post. On February 23, 2024, the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”) removed the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) from its list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring (the “Grey List”).  As noted in our previous article (see here), FATF had intimated at its October 2023 … Continue Reading

Recent Changes to FATF’s “Grey List”; Could the UAE be Next Off the List?

Between October 25 and October 27, 2023, the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”), an international policy-making and standard-setting body dedicated to combating money laundering and terrorist financing, held its third plenary meeting of the year (the “October Plenary”), at which it made important updates to its list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring, often externally referred … Continue Reading

FEPA: the New Tool in the DOJ’s Fight Against Corruption

On December 22, 2023, President Biden signed into law the Foreign Extortion Prevention Act (hereinafter “FEPA” or the “Act”) which was passed by the US Congress as part of the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act.  The Act aligns with the current administration’s national security agenda in that it broadens the scope and reach … Continue Reading

VARA’s Strict Application of its Virtual Assets and Related Activities Regulations 2023

The United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) has long been at the forefront of embracing technological and financial innovation.  For example, Dubai has emerged as a global hub for virtual assets (“VAs”) and cryptocurrencies.  Earlier this year, the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (“VARA”) adopted its first Virtual Assets and Related Activities Regulations 2023 (the “Regulations”), along … Continue Reading

FCA Investigates Bank Account Closures, Including for PEP Customers

Following concerns raised by the government of the United Kingdom (“UK”) about freedom of expression and the provision of banking services, the UK’s financial watch dog, the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”), recently commenced an investigation into bank account closures.  This action follows in the wake of recent reports of banks allegedly closing customer accounts based … Continue Reading

New UAE Rule Regarding the Mandatory Attestation of Import Invoices Could Help Combat TBML

The United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) has recently implemented a new compliance requirement related to the international importation of goods.  Specifically, pursuant to UAE Cabinet Resolution No. 38 of 2022 on the Attestation of Documents, Commercial Invoices and Certificates of Origin at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (“MoFAIC”), all imports into the UAE … Continue Reading

UAE Court Dismisses Request to Extradite the Gupta Brothers to South Africa

In our previous post, here, we explained how the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) used its authority under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (“GloMag”) to sanction brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta (the “Guptas”), and their business associate Salim Essa, effectively barring them from the U.S. financial … Continue Reading

United States Departments of Treasury, Commerce, and Justice Issue “Tri-Seal” Compliance Note on Voluntary Self-Disclosures of Potential Violations

Earlier this year, we published a post on the first Tri-Seal Compliance Note (“First Note”) issued by the United States Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) National Security Division (“NSD”), the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”), and the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”).[1]  When issuing the First Note, … Continue Reading

UAE Ministry of Justice Confirms Reciprocity with the English Courts

On September 13, 2022, Judge Abdul Rahman Murad Al-Blooshi, Director of the International Cooperation Department of the UAE Ministry of Justice, issued a communiqué to His Excellency Tarish Eid Al-Mansoori, Director General of the Dubai Courts, directing the Dubai Courts to enforce judgements issued by the English Courts (the “Directive”).  This follows the English Courts’ … Continue Reading

Key Principles of Governance for Financial Institutions in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Central Bank (previously known as the Saudi Monetary Authority, or SAMA) has published the third edition of the Key Principles for Governance in Financial Institutions (the “Guide”), which are intended to enhance management styles, set direct and indirect strategic objectives, maintain stability, and promote the rights of stakeholders.… Continue Reading

Illicit Financing Risks in the Digital Assets Space: Department of the Treasury Releases Three Reports on Digital Assets and Invites Comment

On September 16, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) published three reports in response to a March 2022 Executive Order concerning the development of digital assets.  The reports address the future of money and payments; implications for consumers, investors, and businesses; and the illicit financing risks of digital assets.  Secretary Yellen described the … Continue Reading

OFAC Sanctions Virtual Currency Mixer “Tornado Cash”

On August 8, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) sanctioned virtual currency mixer Tornado Cash for having laundered more than USD 7 billion worth of virtual currency since its founding in 2019.  This includes over USD 455 million worth of stolen virtual currency associated with the Lazarus Group, … Continue Reading

Russian Sanctions Update: Will “Biting” Eighth EU Sanctions Package Prohibit Legal Services?

“Russia should not benefit from European knowledge and expertise.”  That is the view of European Commission (“EC”) President Ursula von der Leyen, who recently proposed an eighth package of sanctions against Russia in response to “escalation” in Ukraine.  Among the “biting” new sanctions will be a wider ban on the provision of European services to … Continue Reading

Law Enforcement in the Digital Assets Space: Department of Justice Issues Report Pursuant to White House Executive Order

On September 16, 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DoJ”) issued a report on The Role of Law Enforcement in Detecting, Investigating, and Prosecuting Criminal Activity Related to Digital Assets (the “Report”), which will have a significant and wide-ranging impact on the U.S. government’s ability to investigate, prosecute, and disrupt crimes involving digital assets.  The … Continue Reading

Cybersecurity Compliance on U.S. Government Contracts and Subcontracts

The U.S. Department of Justice announced late last year that it would utilize the False Claims Act, the U.S. government’s primary civil tool to redress false claims for federal funds and property, to bring actions against U.S. government contractors and subcontractors who do not meet the cybersecurity requirements of a particular contract or grant. The … Continue Reading

The UAE Continues to Combat Bribery and Corruption

The United Arab Emirates (the “UAE”) continues to lead the Arab world in terms of its anti-bribery and corruption (“ABC”) endeavors. The UAE offers a business-friendly environment with an effective and efficient public administration; it criminalizes active and passive bribery, embezzlement, abuse of functions, and facilitation payments, it enforces its domestic ABC legislation and it … Continue Reading

Central Bank Guidance to UAE Financial Institutions Banking Cash-Intensive Businesses

The Central Bank of the UAE (“CBUAE”) has issued new guidance (the “Guidance”) to UAE financial institutions providing services to cash-intensive businesses. The specific characteristics of cash—anonymity, interchangeability, and transportability—make it an attractive medium for illicit actors seeking to obfuscate the proceeds of crime or the funding of terrorism.  Unlike other monetary instruments, such as … Continue Reading

UAE’s New Executive Office of AML/CFT and Dubai’s New Specialized Money Laundering Court

On August 22, 2021, at the directive of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Dubai Courts announced the establishment of a specialized new court that will focus on combating money laundering.  The announcement comes just months after the UAE Cabinet approved … Continue Reading

New Central Bank Guidance for UAE Financial Institutions on Suspicious Activity/Transaction Reporting

On June 7, 2021, the UAE Central Bank issued new guidance requiring all UAE financial institutions to file suspicious activity reports (SARs) or suspicious transaction reports (STRs) with the UAE’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) using the goAML portal within 35 calendar days of detection of any conduct that they reasonably suspect may be linked to … Continue Reading

Responding to Financial Crime Risks during COVID-19

Over the past few months, numerous organizations and agencies—including the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force, UK Financial Conduct Authority, Dubai Financial Services Authority, and U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network—have stressed the need to preserve the integrity and security of the global payments system during and after the pandemic.… Continue Reading

Sanctions Considerations for Companies and NGOs Exporting Supplies to Iran

In an earlier post, here, we scrutinized the form and content of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)’s March 6, 2020 guidance pertaining to the provision of humanitarian goods and assistance to the people of Iran consistent with U.S. sanctions. In this concluding post, we discuss the factors the … Continue Reading
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