1. Should we worry about Safe Harbor being suspended because of the NSA’s PRISM Program?

  2. US Targets Airlines for Violating Iran Sanctions

    From lawyers at Pillsbury:

    “The United States has added three airlines from Europe and Asia, as well as two individual airline executives and 13 aircraft, to the list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) due to the airlines’ support for Iran Air and Mahan Air of Tehran. The sanctions designations were based on U.S. Executive Orders with extraterritorial jurisdiction over parties who support certain sanctioned persons like Iran Air/Mahan Air – the newly sanctioned companies and executives were not U.S. nationals, no activity took place in the United States, and jurisdiction was not based on U.S. content in the aircraft. This highlights an additional risk area for aircraft operators, manufacturers and lessors of all nationalities.”

    Read the full update, New U.S. Sanctions Designations Target Airlines and Lessors in Europe and Asia - Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP»

  3. EU Sanctions Update: Syria, Belarus, Libya

    From attorneys at White & Case:

    “The EU has renewed its sanctions against Syria until 1 June 2014, with the exception of the arms embargo. For Belarus, the Council has decided to delist three parties from the asset freeze list. For Libya, the Council has implemented recent EU sanctions amendments with respect to arms embargo exemptions and release of certain frozen funds.”

    Read the update, EU renews sanctions against Syria (except the arms embargo), and updates/implements measures against Belarus and Libya - White & Case LLP»

  4. EU Sanctions Update: Burma, Syria, Libya, North Korea

    Earlier this week, European regulators implemented a number of changes to economic sanctions. From attorneys at White & Case:

    “For Burma/Myanmar, the Council has decided to lift all economic sanctions, while keeping the existing arms embargo in place for one more year. For Syria, the Council has eased certain EU sanctions measures, including the oil embargo, by allowing Member State authorisation (following consultation of the Syrian opposition) of certain types of transactions with the aim of helping civilians and supporting the opposition.

    For North Korea, the EU has introduced amendments to reflect newly adopted UN sanctions measures, including the addition of parties to the UN list of designated persons and entities subject to an asset freeze. Finally, with respect to Libya, the EU Council has decided to delist one person whose assets have been frozen and to allow assistance to the Libyan government for security/disarmament reasons.”

    Read the full update, EU lifts sanctions against Burma/Myanmar, eases measures against Syria and Libya, and tightens sanctions against North Korea - White & Case LLP»

  5. Europe Proposes Anti-Corruption Reporting for O&G, Mining Companies

    The European Commission has proposed amendments to its Transparency Directive that would bring anti-corruption reporting requirements for oil, gas, and mining companies in line with those of the United States. From attorneys at Dechert:

    “Large non-listed companies incorporated in the European Economic Area which operate in the oil, gas and mining sectors will need to annually disclose any payments made to the national, regional or local authority of a host country on a country and project basis where the payment is above a threshold of EUR 100,000 (c. GBP 85,000 / USD 131,000). Sanctions for failure to comply are likely to be punitive.

    The payments to be disclosed will include taxes on profits, royalties, dividends, bonuses, licence fees and other direct benefits to the government concerned, amongst others. There will be no exemption to the disclosure requirements, even if the disclosure is not permitted by the host country’s criminal law.”

    Read the full update, New Anti-Corruption Provisions in EU Legislation: Increased Accountability for Mining, Oil and Gas Companies - Dechert LLP»

  6. EU Tightens Sanctions on Iran

    At the end of 2012, European regulators implemented stricter sanctions on Iran, introducing additional controls on the movement of certain goods to and from the country, and tightening existing funds transfer controls (among other measures). From law firm Baker & McKenzie Australia

    “The Regulation implements changes to the existing controls on transfers of funds to and from Iranian persons.  Under the existing controls, those arranging transfers to or from Iranian persons are required to submit a prior notification to the competent authority (HM Treasury in the UK) for transfers of sums exceeding EUR 10,000 and to seek prior authorisation for transfers of sums of EUR 40,000 and above.  For transfers relating to foodstuffs, healthcare, medical equipment or for agricultural or humanitarian purposes, there is only an obligation to submit prior notification for transfers exceeding EUR 10,000.

    These controls remain in place.  However, the threshold for prior notification has been very slightly amended to cover sums equal to or above EUR 10,000, as opposed to exceeding EUR 10,000.  In addition, and more significantly, the Regulation tightens the existing controls by imposing stricter requirements on transfers between, on the one hand, credit and financial institutions subject to the jurisdictional scope of the EU sanctions regime and, on the other hand, credit and financial institutions and bureaux de change domiciled in Iran and branches and subsidiaries thereof (wherever located), as well as those not domiciled in Iran but controlled by Iranian persons.”

    Read the full analysis: EU Implements Additional Sanctions on Iran - Baker & McKenzie Australia»

  7. New EU Sanctions on Iran Impose Additional Restrictions on European Banks

    Iran sanctions adopted by the Council of the European Union on December 21, 2012, place important new restrictions on fund transfers involving EU banks. From law firm White & Case:

    “Regulation 1263/2012 defines the scope of the broadened restrictions on EU banks’ participation in transactions with Iranian financial institutions. It confirms that as a general rule, fund transfers between banks under EU jurisdiction and Iranian or Iran-related credit and financial institutions and currency exchange offices will be prohibited. Certain exceptions will, however, be provided for, inter alia, transfers relating to foodstuffs, healthcare, medical equipment and agricultural or humanitarian purposes, non-commercial transfers and specific trade contracts, provided that they do not contribute to prohibited activities and have undergone Member State notification or authorization procedures, as required (depending on the amount involved in the transfer)…

    The clause allowing the making available of certain funds to the Central Bank of Iran has now been deleted altogether, allowing only the release of its frozen funds (in certain circumstances).”

    Read the full update, EU defines scope of expanded Iran sanctions, including new natural gas, metals and vessels/ tankers bans - White & Case LLP»

  8. EU Strengthens Iran Sanctions

    In late December, 2012, the European Council expanded the scope of entities covered by EU sanctions against doing business with Iran. From law firm Reed Smith:

    “On 22 December 2012, the European Council published Council Regulation (EU) No. 1263/2012, [which] … implements the measures set out in Council Decision 2012/635/CFSP published on 15 October 2012… As explained in the October Alert, the measures contained in the [October 2012] Decision were only effective as against the governments of Member States themselves. Now, with the publication of the Regulation, those measures are implemented and brought into force as against all EU persons, companies and other entities. The Regulation also adds further detail to those measures…

    The sanctions legislation is now very detailed and wide ranging, and these latest measures yet again increase the difficulties in dealing and trading with Iran. Extreme caution must be used in entering into any transaction which involves an Iranian party, either directly or indirectly, or Iranian goods.”

    Read the full update, Iran - Sanctions Update: Council Regulation 1263/2012 - Reed Smith»

  9. Italy Strengthens Anti-Corruption Law

    On October 31 of this year, the Italian Chamber of Deputies approved new anti-corruption legislation intended to increase transparency in the public sector. From law firm K&L Gates:

    “The Anti-Corruption Law introduces new categories of corruption-related offences and strengthens those already contained in the Italian Criminal Code (‘Codice Penale’). It also calls for the establishment of a new National Anti-Corruption Authority with investigative and remedial powers…

    Among the main features of the Anti-Corruption Law is the introduction of two new articles in the Criminal Code, covering new types of offences: … ‘Improper induction to give or promise utility’, and … titled ‘Illicit trafficking of influence’… Further, the Italian Civil Code also has been modified with the amendment of art. 2635 now entitled ‘Corruption between private individuals’.”

    Read the full update, The Italian Anti–Corruption Reform - Recent News - K&L Gates LLP»

  10. Anti-Corruption Laws in China, US, UK and Other European Jurisdictions

    From law firm McDermott Will & Emery, an overview of anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws in China, the United Kingdom and selected European countries, and the United States, 

    “What emerges is that, whilst both the long reach of the US rules and pressure from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has meant that foreign corrupt practices are now to a greater extent unlawful in many jurisdictions worldwide, significant differences remain as to enforcement regimes. For example, facilitation payments are exempt in Germany in certain circumstances, but are not exempt under any circumstances in either the United Kingdom or the People’s Republic of China. In many other countries, both public and private bribery (whether domestic or foreign) are expressly outlawed, but the tests vary widely. Notably, In the United States under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the FCPA), a territorial nexus that is seemingly only tangential—such as a phone call or email from the United States or use of a US bank to clear funds relating to the foreign transaction—may be sufficient for the Department of Justice to exert US jurisdiction.

    The clear trend is that the enforcement of anti-corruption laws has become a major focus of law enforcement and regulatory authorities not just in the United States but globally.”

    Read Anti-Bribery and Corruption Law Multi-Jurisdictional Client Guide - McDermott Will & Emery»

  11. UK to Introduce Deferred Prosecution Agreements

    The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Justice is planning to introduce deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) as a new tool for enforcing economic crime laws in England and Wales. From Gary DiBianco and Matthew Cowie (Skadden Arps):

    “DPAs are viewed by the government as a necessary new tool for prosecutors such as the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the courts to bring serious and complex economic cases quickly, cost effectively and fairly to a conclusion. The government envisages that DPAs will be used primarily for corporations that cooperate with government investigations, and the government intends that DPAs will be made available for corporations in overseas corruption cases as well as other economic crimes.

    The government’s response to the public consultation sets forth a model for DPAs that has some similarities to U.S. law and practice but involves earlier and greater judicial oversight than U.S. DPAs.”

    Read the update, UK Government Set to Introduce Deferred Prosecution Agreements for Economic Crimes - Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP»

  12. EU Extends Sanctions Against Belarus for Another Year

    European Union sanctions against Belarus, which have been in place since 2006, will remain in place for another year. From law firm White & Case:

    “On 15 October 2012, the Council of the European Union (EU) decided to prolong the existing sanctions imposed against Belarus until 31 October 2013.1 The Council’s Decision follows the Parliamentary elections in Belarus on 23 September 2012, which were said to take place against ‘an overall background of repression’. 

    The EU Belarus sanctions regime … applies within the EU territory, to nationals of EU Member States (regardless of whether they are located inside or outside the EU territory) and on board vessels and aircraft under Member State jurisdiction. It also applies to companies incorporated or registered under the law of an EU Member State and to other non-EU companies in respect of business done in whole or in part within the EU. This means that even non-EU companies can be covered by EU sanctions, depending on the circumstances under which they perform business activities in the EU and how they are connected to any activities restricted by the EU Belarus sanctions regime.”

    Read the update, EU prolongs sanctions against Belarus for one year - White & Case LLP»

  13. UK Bribery Agency Withdraws Offer of Leniency for Minor Infractions

    The new head of the U.K. Serious Fraud Office, David Green QC, has been in the job for less than six months. But he’s already begun to shake things up, writes Raymond Sweigart at law firm Pillsbury:

    “Previously, companies had been reassured in published guidance that the SFO would not pursue them for certain technical infringements of the Bribery Act and that if certain procedures were followed, it would not prosecute facilitation payments—small payments to ensure that public officials more expeditiously carry out functions they should ordinarily do without such ‘bribes’. In addition, corporate hospitality if considered ‘reasonable and proportionate’ would also not be considered to run afoul of the law. But such guidance has now been withdrawn without further comment or explanation.”

    Read the full update, Bribery Act Prosecutor Withdraws Guidance; Whither SFO Enforcement, Self-Reporting? - Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP»

  14. UK Money Laundering Rules to Change October 1

    Her Majesty’s Treasury has published the changes it will be implementing to the UK’s money laundering regulations as of October 1, 2012. From law firm Katten:

    “The government stated that its proposed changes were aimed at reducing the regulatory burden imposed by the Regulations, strengthening the overall anti-money laundering (AML) regime and making the UK’s AML regime more effective and proportionate…

    … the government has decided not to introduce a de minimis exclusion for small businesses and has also decided not to decriminalize certain AML breaches by making them subject only to a civil penalty regime.”

    Read the full update, Changes to Money Laundering Regulations Announced - Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP»

    See also: Amendments to Money Laundering Regulations 2007 to Come into Force on October 1 – Orrick»

  15. EU Expands Sanctions Against Syria

    Earlier this week, the European Union increased its sanctions on Syria to include additional products that could be used for internal repression. From law firm White & Case:

    “The new restrictions, applicable as of 23 April 2012, apply to supply transactions by nationals of EU Member States (anywhere in the world) or by anyone from the territory of an EU Member State, or using the flag vessels or aircraft of a Member State, whether or not the goods originate in their territories. As always, non-EU businesses or non-EU nationals are affected if there is an EU nexus…

    The new Council Decision … expands [the previous] ban to additional equipment, goods and technology which might be used for internal repression and to the manufacture or maintenance of such products. The provision of related technical assistance, brokering services or other services, as well as related financing or financial assistance, is also prohibited.”

    Read the full update, EU expands sanctions against Syria - prohibits supply of more products which could be used for internal repression and bans sale, supply, transfer or export of luxury goods to Syria, White & Case LLP»