EU introduces new asset freezing measures against Yemen

On 19 December, the EU published Council Decision 2014/932/CFSP and Regulation 1352/2014 in relation to the situation in Yemen. The measures came into force immediately upon publication.

The new measures impose an asset freeze on three individuals: Abdullah Yahya Al Hakim, Abd Al-Khaliq Al-Huthi and Ali Abdullah Saleh. These individuals were designated on the basis that they have engaged in acts which threaten the peace, security or stability of Yemen.

These measures follow the decision in November by the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on the same individuals pursuant to Resolution 2140 (2014).

The provisions in the Decision and Regulation are consistent with the asset freezes imposed in relation to other EU sanctions regimes. EU-incorporated companies and nationals of EU member states are prohibited from dealing with funds or economic resources owned, held or controlled by the designated persons, and from making funds or economic resources available to them or for their benefit. Member states may grant licences releasing frozen funds in certain circumstances.

Breach of the asset freezing provisions is criminalised in the UK by the Yemen (European Union Financial Sanctions) Regulations 2014.

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Filed under Corporate Crime, Europe, European Regulation, Middle East, Sanctions and Money Laundering, UK Regulations

US President signs Ukraine Freedom Support Act into law

On 13 December 2014, the US Congress passed legislation entitled the “Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014″ (H.R. 5859) seeking to impose new sanctions against Russia and in support of Ukraine.  On Thursday, December 18, President Obama signed the Act into law, while stating that at present, the Administration does not intend to impose new sanctions pursuant to the Act.

For further details on the law, click here to read our briefing.

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Filed under Americas, Corporate Crime, Sanctions and Money Laundering, Ukraine, US

EU sanctions update: Russia

Our latest briefing summarises recent developments in the EU’s sanctions imposed against Russia.  In particular, we provide an overview of (a) new measures relating to Crimea and Sevastopol and (b) new European Commission guidance on certain of the financial sector restrictions applied to listed Russian entities. 

For further background on these sanctions, please see our blog.

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Filed under Corporate Crime, European Guidance, European Regulation, Russia, Sanctions and Money Laundering

Market abuse update – December 2014

The FCA has continued to build on the strong track record of civil and criminal enforcement action against abusive conduct and manipulation, notably in relation to insider dealing and benchmark manipulation.  The regulator remains committed to strong enforcement action and credible deterrence, and now benefits from enhanced powers and longer limitation periods to enable it to do so.  In addition to numerous high-profile enforcement actions and prosecutions, the FCA has also made public several warning notices and conducted nearly 100 private outcomes.   Continue reading

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Filed under Americas, Asia, EU, Europe, European Regulation, FCA, France, HM Treasury, Hong Kong, US

Hong Kong revises and further consults on draft rules for mandatory reporting of OTC derivatives and related record-keeping

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) have published consultation conclusions on the draft rules for mandatory reporting of over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives and related record keeping.  The draft rules have been amended, taking into account the comments received and providing greater clarity to the proposed regulatory regime. Continue reading

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Filed under Asia, Hong Kong

US: Three Different Approaches to RICO Extraterritoriality

It is not uncommon for courts today to adjudicate claims arising outside their territorial jurisdiction.  Some jurisdictions, such as the US, stand out more in this regard than others.  The extraterritorial application of US law stokes fear that US courts will apply substantive US law whenever acts taking place beyond its shores have some alleged “effect” within the territorial boundaries of the US or areas subject to its jurisdiction and control.  This can be an especially vexing problem for corporations looking for some degree of predictability and certainty in an age when so much commerce crosses so many borders.   Continue reading

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Filed under Americas, US

US Federal Appeals Court vacates insider trading convictions of hedge fund traders

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in United States v. Newman, 13-1837 (2d Cir. Dec. 10, 2014), vacated the convictions of two former hedge fund managers, Todd Newman and Anthony Chiasson, on insider trading charges. The Second Circuit held that the trial court’s jury instructions were erroneous because the judge did not instruct the jury that, in order to sustain a conviction for insider trading, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a tippee who trades on inside information knew that an insider disclosed confidential information and that he did so in exchange for a personal benefit.   Continue reading

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Filed under Americas, Banking, Corporate Crime, Investment banking, Investment Funds, US

UK: The Davis Review: recommendations for improvement in FCA processes

On 10 December 2014 the FCA published the Davis Review in full together with the FCA’s formal response.   It provides a detailed account and analysis of the events leading up to and immediately after the publication of The Telegraph story about the FCA’s planned life assurance review on 27 March 2014.  On the morning of 28 March 2014, the prices of shares in a number of companies which specialise in pools of potentially affected insurance policies fell substantially. Despite calls by the affected insurance companies, the FCA did not issue an explanatory statement until 2.27 pm on 28 March 2014.  The share prices recovered substantially, but not entirely. Continue reading

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Filed under FCA, UK

Some positive FCA feedback on conflicts of interest for Wealth Management firms

In welcome news for the industry, the FCA in late November 2014 expressed pleasure in reporting generally positive findings from its thematic review assessing whether wealth management firms and private banks identify and manage conflicts of interest that might arise when providing investment products manufactured within the same group/firm (in-house products – “IHPs”). Continue reading

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Filed under Banking, FCA

Three convicted in £23m Green biofuel trial

Three individuals have been convicted following a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into the promotion of unregulated pension and investment products based on green biofuel by Sustainable Growth Group (‘SGG’) including its subsidiary companies, Sustainable AgroEnergy plc (‘SAE’) and Sustainable Wealth (UK) Investments Ltd (‘SWI’).  The investments were sold to UK investors primarily via self-invested pension plans (SIPPS).  The charges and convictions against two of the individuals under the Bribery Act 2010 were the first secured by the SFO since the Act came into force in 2011. Other individuals have been convicted of breaching the Bribery Act in separate cases brought by the Crown Prosecution Service.  Sentences in the case were handed down on 8 December 2014 in Southwark Crown Court: Continue reading

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Filed under Bribery and Corruption, Corporate Crime, UK