Last week the United States and European Union continued to ramp up economic sanctions related to events in Ukraine and Russia…
Whilst the fines were not exactly earth-shattering (3,500 Euros a piece) the fact that the cookies used were rather commonplace and not particularly intrusive to individuals’ privacy makes these cases more worthy of note and acts as a stark warning to those who have taken a similar relaxed attitude to compliance so far…
[T)he European Union published a regulation imposing sanctions on several specific Ukrainian persons, including the former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. In addition, President Obama signed an executive order authorizing the imposition of U.S. sanctions in connection with the situation in Ukraine.
EU responds to Ukrainian crisis by imposing asset freeze on 18 politicians, family members and businessmen
As part of agreed targeted EU sanctions in response to recent violent events in Ukraine, the EU Member States have as a first step introduced an asset freeze against 18 Ukrainian individuals deemed responsible for misappropriation of Ukrainian State funds and human rights violations…
[T]hree quarters (75%) of the companies surveyed believe that corruption is widespread in their country. Almost half (43%) of these European companies view corruption as a problem when doing business and (47%) agree that the only way to succeed in business in their country is to have political connections.
— Attorneys Edward Fishman and Isabelle De Smedt of K&L Gates on the European Commission’s first ever Anti-Corruption Report.
[T]he core of US and EU sanctions on Iran remain in full force, and they continue to create significant legal, reputational, and practical risks for any persons or entities seeking to do any form of business with Iran.
— Attorneys at Latham & Watkins on the limited easing of US and EU sanctions on Iran.
It just got a little easier to do business with Iran. But very little…
On January 20, 2014, the US and the EU relaxed sanctions on Iran as set forth in last year’s nuclear deal between Iran and China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, and the US. Attorneys at Pillsbury explain:
“Between January 20 and July 20, 2014, non-U.S. individuals and companies (unless U.S. owned or controlled) will not face U.S. sanctions enforcement if they engage in specified transactions relating to the (a) export of Iranian petrochemical products, (b) provision of goods and services for Iran’s auto industry, (c) sale of gold and precious metals to or from Iran and (d) provision of insurance and transport services associated with sales of Iranian oil to six specified countries.”
Five things to keep in mind if you’re considering new business opportunities opened up by the changes:
1. Iran must continue to make good on its commitments:
“U.S. and EU authorities stress that … they will reimpose suspended sanctions if Iran fails to satisfy commitments under the Agreement.” (Harry Clark and W. Clark McFadden at Orrick)
2. Europe and the US did not change the same sanctions:
“The European Union and U.S. positions are not entirely in line so caution must be exercised as although the intended business may be clear from an EU perspective it may remain subject to US sanctions e.g. if payments are made in US dollars.” (Reed Smith)
3. The window of opportunity is very narrow:
“The Guidance applies only to transactions and activities that are initiated on or after January 20, 2014 and completed by July 20, 2014, including receipt of payments.” (Stephan Becker, Nancy Fischer, Aaron Hutman, and Christopher Wall of Pillsbury)
4. US lawmakers could put an end to the experiment:
“[I]nitiatives in the U.S. Congress to enact additional Iran sanctions measures could result in Iran’s withdrawal from the Agreement which would, in turn, lead to reimposition of suspended sanctions. Companies are well advised to monitor developments closely.” (Clark and McFadden)
5. You might not even qualify:
“With limited exceptions, the relief from sanctions does not apply to U.S. persons. […] The United States will continue to take enforcement action against those who seek to evade or circumvent sanctions.” (Brian Goldstein of Duane Morris)
- United States Implements Temporary Changes to Iran Sanctions under Interim Agreement - Stephan Becker, Nancy Fischer, Aaron Hutman, and Christopher Wall of Pillsbury
- Sanctions Relaxation Implemented for Iran Nuclear Agreement - Harry Clark and W. Clark McFadden of Orrick
- Sanctions Update - Iran: Easing of sanctions by the United States and European Union - Reed Smith
- OFAC Publishes Key Guidance Related to the Lifting of Certain Sanctions on Iran - Brian Goldstein of Duane Morris
- EU partially suspends Iran sanctions under nuclear deal - James Killick, Sara Nordin, Charlotte Van Haute, and Fabienne Vermeeren of White & Case
- Iran Sanctions—Implementation of P5+1/Iran Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreement - Andrea Hamilton, David Henry, David Levine, and Raymond Paretzky of McDermott Will & Emery
Read more on Iran Sanctions at JD Supra Business Advisor»
Parties cannot now take the position that it is legal to conduct any and all business with Iran. It is still essential to investigate thoroughly all trades and transactions.
On 20 January 2014, the Council of the European Union agreed to temporarily suspend certain sanctions against Iran, namely those relating to (re)insurance and transport services for Iranian crude oil, supply of petrochemical products, and trade in gold and precious metals. The Council also eased certain restrictions on financial transactions with Iran. These suspensions entered into force for a six-month period on 20 January 2014. All other EU sanctions against Iran remain in place.
All current US sanctions will continue to apply until Iran takes measureable steps that are verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The [Joint Plan of Action] is contingent upon Iran fulfilling its obligations, i.e., the prerequisites of any lifting of economic sanctions targeting Iran must be fulfilled, and no sanctions will be suspended until Iran complies with its obligations.
— Attorneys from Shearman & Sterling on the recently proposed easing of international sanctions against Iran.
In a series of recent rulings, the European Court of Justice overturned economic sanctions issued by the Council of the European Union (EU) on several Iranian banks and shipping lines. […] The EU had sanctioned these entities for their support of nuclear proliferation activities in Iran, but the Court determined that the EU lacked sufficient evidence to introduce such sanctions.
In this wide-ranging interview, FCPA attorney Tom Fox talks with Matt Kelly, Publisher and Editor of Compliance Week, about some of the data privacy and management challenges facing companies today and in the future. Among other topics, the two compliance heavy weights touch upon:
- Ethics issues of capturing and using location data
- Navigating the differences between EU and US conceptions - and regulation - of data privacy
- Implications for Internet retailers and other companies with significant online presence of third-party data collection
Malta’s Parliament approved the country’s long-awaited Whistleblower Act. Effective September 15, 2013, the act provides varying programs of protection for individuals blowing the whistle on corrupt practices. The passage of the whistleblower act was the culmination of more than six years of legislative effort.
Read: Whistleblowing in Malta»
The principal objectives of Directive 2013/34/EU (the Directive) were to consolidate EU accounting requirements and to simplify financial reporting requirements for small and medium companies. However, the Directive also introduced new obligations upon large companies operating in the extractive (oil, gas and mining) and logging industries to report details of all material payments they make to host governments in connection with projects in those sectors…
… the proposed Regulation seeks to restore confidence in indices and benchmarks following the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (EURIBOR) scandals in 2012. In particular, the Commission aims to improve the reliability and integrity of benchmarks by preventing their manipulation and clarifying the remit of supervisory bodies to improve the detection and prevention of manipulation. Furthermore, it seeks to increase transparency in the benchmarks, and introduces fines for cases of manipulation.