Seward & Kissel’s litigation attorneys have extensive experience advising clients on various cross border regulatory matters including those arising from U.S. laws involving economic sanctions and embargoes, export controls, anti-money laundering statutes and regulations (the “AML Laws”), the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) and antitrust laws. Our team includes members of our Government Enforcement and Internal Investigations practice group: former supervisory federal prosecutors, including the former head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, former federal prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the Southern and Eastern District of New York, and attorneys from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Members of our team frequently handle sensitive matters before numerous agencies, including the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), and the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”).
Sanctions regimes continue to evolve and expand globally, creating significant challenges for today’s companies when it comes to matters of compliance and consequences for violations. With the U.S government providing to OFAC significant latitude for restricting trade and financial transactions with numerous countries and entities, many companies struggle to keep abreast of these changes and the impact with which they have on their businesses.
Seward & Kissel’s litigation attorneys have substantial experience counseling U.S. and non-U.S. businesses across industry sectors, including financial services, insurance and maritime, on the complex regulatory rules and compliance requirements governing their relationships with sanctioned countries and their nationals, as administered by the U.S. Departments of State, Commerce, Energy and Treasury, including OFAC. Our team monitors ongoing developments on U.S. economic sanctions, which change rapidly based on evolving foreign policy and global and political developments. We provide frequent advice to major domestic and international financial institutions, the shipping industry and other operating companies with respect to compliance, licensing, transactions and other regulatory issues relating to the U.S. economic sanctions regime, including the U.S. Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010, as amended (“CISADA”), and legislation and Executive Orders relating to conducting business with Russia, Iran, Cuba, North Korea, Libya, Burma, Sudan and other countries. The Firm regularly provides risk assessments to clients regarding particular transactions or arrangements. We have substantial experience representing companies whose vessels are pirated in international waters and have assisted numerous clients with issues arising under the U.S. sanctions regime relating to blocked assets.
The Firm offers a comprehensive range of services to our clients in the Sanctions arena. We regularly draft compliance policies, manuals and procedures, conduct compliance trainings and audits, all of which assist clients to remain compliant, and, to the extent violations occur, mitigate the consequences where practicable. We also counsel clients on their respective disclosure obligations imposed by the SEC.
In addition, we advise and assist clients in doing due diligence on proposed joint venture partners, acquisition targets and investors in connection with potential transactions so as to avoid running afoul of the U.S. regulatory regime. We regularly provide foreign and domestic issuers, underwriters, lenders and targeting companies with advice relating to due diligence inquiries with respect to mergers and acquisitions and credit transactions.
Anti-Corruption, Foreign Corrupt Practices and Antitrust
Seward & Kissel’s litigation attorneys have extensive experience advising clients on compliance with U.S. AML and Antitrust Laws and the FCPA. We regularly represent individual and corporate clients located around the world across industry sectors in response to government investigations, enforcement actions and in matters having corruption implications. We also work with clients in creating comprehensive compliance and auditing programs, conducting internal investigations, and providing counsel for clients conducting business abroad. Such counsel includes guidance on conducting appropriate due diligence and analyzing potential transactions to minimize the risk that our clients will run afoul of applicable laws.
Because many of these matters are cross-border and involve cooperation among various government regulators such as the DOJ and the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO), our attorneys often provide advice about how a client’s cooperation or actions with a foreign regulator might impact the client’s exposure to U.S. regulators. We have represented clients in a number of high-profile cross-border investigations, including: the Swiss Bank tax evasion investigation by DOJ; the Libor rate-fixing investigations by the FCA, SFO, Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and DOJ; the Forex manipulation investigation by the CFTC, DOJ, FCA and Swiss Financial regulators; the air cargo and automobile-parts price fixing investigation by the DOJ Antitrust Division and Japanese Fair Trade Commission; the DOJ investigation of financial institutions involved in money laundering, and violations of the Bank Secrecy Act and the Trading with the Enemy Act; and various clients involved in investigations concerning the payment of items of value to foreign government officials.