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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

U.S. Sanctions Review: A Recap of OFAC’s Recent Enforcement Actions (Second Half 2023)

The second half of 2023 saw eight enforcement actions from the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”).  These actions reflect a range of penalties, industries, sanctions programs, conduct, and lessons learned.  Below are some highlights from OFAC’s enforcement releases and settlement agreements. Penalties OFAC imposed a total of $984,851,289.90 in penalties … Continue Reading

Noteworthy Trends in French White Collar Crime

France’s Sapin II Law was created in 2016 to address corporate corruption and implement antibribery measures. The legislation took effect in 2017, marking a significant shift in the country’s regulatory compliance landscape. The law, which tracks closely with similar laws in the US, UK, and other EU countries, requires large companies [1] to implement a … Continue Reading

DOJ’s Focus on Pandemic Relief Fraud Continues

The Department of Justice made a major announcement last week that demonstrates that it is serious about finding those who defraud various COVID-19 relief programs and holding them accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Over the course of the last three months alone, working in concert with numerous law enforcement partners, including the … 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

Department of Justice Initiatives Prioritize Economic Sanctions Enforcement

On March 2, 2023, the Department of Justice announced several new initiatives that prioritize the investigation and enforcement of economic sanctions evasion, export control violations, and similar economic crimes.  Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced a “surge of resources to address a troubling trend: the intersection of corporate crime and national security.”  In particular, DOJ’s … Continue Reading

Increasing US Enforcement Action for Sanctions Violations by Crypto Exchanges Likely to Have Ripple Effect in UK and Europe

The investigation and enforcement of potential sanctions violations by crypto exchanges is an area of focus in the US at present.  The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) recent settlement with Kraken, a global virtual currency exchange, is the most recent OFAC case demonstrating the risks for virtual currency platforms … 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

The UK’s OFSI Provides Guidance on Strict Liability Sanctions Breach Penalties

The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), part of HM Treasury, which is the authority for implementing financial sanctions in the UK, have published guidance to clarify how they will use their new powers to impose civil monetary penalties for sanctions breaches on a strict liability basis from Monday 15 June 2022.  The full message … Continue Reading

What Price Privacy? UK Drive For Foreign Owners’ Transparency

I wanted to take a moment to thank WealthBriefing.com for featuring my recent article “What Price Privacy?  UK Drive for Foreign Owners’ Transparency”. As the geopolitical landscape evolves and global financial sanctions take hold,  the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill introduced into UK law this month is worth reviewing.  Will the new legislation prevent … Continue Reading

Series: Economic Espionage and Theft of Trade Secrets

In 1996, President Clinton signed the Economic Espionage Act (the “Act”). At the time, the principal proponents of the law included business leaders from the then burgeoning Silicon Valley as well as from the aerospace industry. Proponents of the Act claimed foreign entities were actively attempting to steal trade secrets and that the existing laws … Continue Reading

Rare Due Process Reprieve for Company Penalized by OFAC for Violating Ukraine Sanctions

Following a ruling issued last week by a federal judge in Texas, ExxonMobil Corporation (“ExxonMobil”) will not have to pay a previously issued penalty for contracting with Russia’s state-owned PJSC Rosneft Oil Company (“Rosneft”), since it was not provided fair notice by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) that … Continue Reading

Russian Duma Revisits Criminalization as Counter-sanction

Russian Duma Revisits Criminalization as Counter-sanction The Russian Duma is considering a bill that would prohibit media communications that reveal non-compliance with sanctions or facilitate imposition of sanctions and would also impose criminal penalties on those that disclose or transfer information to organizations “directly or indirectly” under the control of an “unfriendly state”, any company … Continue Reading

Anti-Corruption Guidance in Russia: What’s a Company to Do?

Anti-corruption has been a hot topic in Russia for some time. But recently, the Russian government has begun to take creative approaches in the fight against corruption. These initiatives are aimed at raising public awareness of corruption among the general public. What appears to be missing in this outreach is compliance guidance to companies in … Continue Reading

Will Russia Provide Missing Links to Murder, Kickbacks, Bribery?

The case against Leonid Teyf, a Russian citizen, in a federal court in North Carolina has enough juicy facts for an international crime novel. The U.S. prosecutors need evidence to convict Teyf and his accomplices of the central charges, stemming from an alleged kickback scheme in Russia. Will Russia provide missing links?… Continue Reading

Russia Continues Anticorruption Efforts in 2019

Russia continues its anticorruption efforts in 2019. These efforts build upon numerous convictions last year.  In January 2019, despite the two-week public winter break, two significant cases developed. Beyond seeking additional convictions, the Russian government will implement public anticorruption outreach this year.… Continue Reading

FinCEN proposes ban on Latvian bank

On February 13, 2018, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued a finding and notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”), pursuant to the USA Patriot Act, seeking to prohibit the opening or maintaining of a correspondent account in the United States for, or on behalf of, ABLV Bank, AS (“ABLV”). Details of Allegations … Continue Reading

Russia Data Privacy Update – New Regulations

In July 2014 Russia enacted Federal Law No. 242-FZ which introduced new requirements for storage of personal data of Russian citizens (the “Amendment”). The Amendment will become effective September 1, 2016. The purpose of the Amendment is two-fold: No. 1: It amends Federal Law No. 152-FZ “On Personal Data” dated July 27, 2006 (the “Personal … Continue Reading

Continuing Development of Fiduciary Duty Standard Under Russian Law: Civil Damages Assessed Against Director Accused of Bribery

In Lee v. Lukshin (Case No. А12-6860/2013, February 20, 2014), the plaintiff, a minority shareholder (holding 16.59% shares) of OJSC “Meat Plant Filonovskiy” (the Company) successfully pursued a derivative action for damages against the former general director (the Executive) of the Company, who was convicted under Article 291(2) of the Criminal Code in an earlier … Continue Reading

Russian State Officials Face Enhanced Control Over Their Expenditures

At the beginning of December, 2012, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law Federal Law No. 230-FZ, “On control over consistency of expenditures of persons holding government offices and of other persons to their incomes” (the “Law”). The Law requires certain disclosures by government officials’ regarding their expenditures and is viewed as the next important … Continue Reading

New Anti-Money Laundering Initiative Aims to Improve Transparency

The Russian Federal Financial Monitoring Service (“Rosfinmonitoring”) has set forth a draft law, introducing amendments to a number of legal acts and aimed at increasing the transparency of currency transactions and at strengthening anti-money laundering measures in Russia. The most important amendments are planned to be introduced into Federal Law No. 115-FZ dated August 7, … Continue Reading

Russia’s Recent Initiatives To Increase Transparency Of State Officials

Russia is consistently developing anti-corruption legislation. Earlier this year Russian President approved National Anti-Corruption Plan for the years 2012 – 2013. As a step further Russia is planning to adopt laws aimed at increasing control over Russian state officials’ expenditures. In March 2012, the then-Russian president Dmitry Medvedev adopted National Anti-Corruption Plan for the years … Continue Reading
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