On June 16, 2017, President Trump announced a policy framework for the re-imposition of certain US sanctions with respect to Cuba. In particular, the United States' new policy will restore certain restrictions with respect to American investments in the Cuban private sector and the ability to travel outside of pre-arranged groups for American visitors to Cuba. While many of the details will become apparent only as regulations are promulgated implementing President Trump's new policy, the announcement suggests that the Administration will execute only a partial shift from the previous Administration's loosening of Cuba sanctions.
Former Chief Secretary and property tycoon lose appeal in Hong Kong’s highest profile corruption case
The convictions of former Chief Secretary of Hong Kong, Rafael Hui, former Sun Hung Kai chairman, Thomas Kwok, and two others have been upheld by Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal. The appellants have resumed serving their sentences for conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.
In a case that has occupied the legal, political and business community, the judgment provides important clarification on the scope of the common law offence, in particular what is required for conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. The judgment confirms the well-established principle that benefits offered to develop or retain goodwill may fall foul of Hong Kong’s bribery laws.
The US Senate has voted to impose an array of new sanctions with respect to Iran, related to Iran's alleged activity concerning its ballistic missile program, international terrorism, and arms supply and training. The bill serves as a reminder that, notwithstanding the continued implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action ("JCPOA"), tensions between the US and Iran have the potential to lead to additional and significant sanctions.
A bipartisan US Senate coalition has approved a wide-ranging package of new Russia-related sanctions as an amendment to the Countering Iran's Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017 ("S.722" or "Iran Sanctions Bill") currently pending before Congress. The changes contemplated by these provisions-dubbed-Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia Act of 2017 ("CRIEEA" or the "Amendment") would codify existing Russia-related sanctions and mandate congressional review of any attempts by the President to modify or terminate them.
Herbert Smith Freehills leads ASIFMA member working group to formulate Best Practices for Effective Development of Fintech
The Asia Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association (ASIFMA) released on Friday afternoon its guide, Best Practices for Effective Development of Fintech. Its press release can be accessed here.
The guide was developed by a member working group at ASIFMA led by Herbert Smith Freehills. The working group has agreed 10 best practices for policymakers and regulators in Asia Pacific to consider as they support the development of fintech in the financial services industry. The best practices acknowledge the delicate balance required between encouraging fintech innovation, and ensuring customer protection and market integrity.
The best practices are released at a time of rapid development in fintech and increased involvement by financial regulators. Our e-bulletin regarding the best practices and the recent initiatives taken by regulators in the region to support fintech development can be accessed here.
Welcome to the June 2017 edition of our corporate crime update – our round up of developments in relation to corruption, money laundering, fraud, sanctions and related matters. Our update now covers a number of jurisdictions.
HK SFC launches consultation on Proposed Guidelines on online distribution and advisory platforms and proposes to extend Suitability Requirement
On 5 May 2017, the Hong Kong SFC launched a three-month consultation in relation to proposed guidelines on online distribution and advisory platforms (Proposed Guidelines). The aim of the Proposed Guidelines is to provide tailored guidance and clarity on the design and operation of online platforms in compliance with existing regulatory requirements, including the Suitability Requirement.
Herbert Smith Freehills recently held its annual disputes client conference exploring some key legal and compliance risks facing major corporates. Following opening remarks by Mark Shillito, head of dispute resolution for the UK and US, there were presentations on cyber security, Brexit, insurance, class actions, decision analysis, privilege and internal investigations.
A summary of the conference from our Litigation team is below – if reading the full version of this post, you can jump down to read more detail on any of the sessions by clicking on the relevant heading.
The two year process of the UK's exit from the EU formally began on 29 March 2017 with notice being given under Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union of the UK's intention to leave the EU. One of the many legal issues to be determined will be the way in which the UK approaches its international sanctions framework post-Brexit, since the vast majority of the sanctions currently in force in the UK have directly applicable EU Regulations as their basis.
The Government has recently launched a public consultation into the question of the legal powers needed to impose sanctions after Brexit, while a House of Lords enquiry into UK sanctions policy is also underway. What do these two processes tell us about the UK's future sanctions regime?
SFC focuses on the role of financial advisers and valuers in advising listed companies in corporate transactions
The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has issued a circular to financial advisers to provide guidance on its expectations as to their role when advising listed companies on corporate transactions (FA circular). The FA circular reminds financial advisers of their obligations under the Corporate Finance Adviser Code of Conduct (CFA Code) and provides specific guidance as to steps financial advisers should take to discharge their obligations. At the same time, the SFC issued a statement to valuers (liability statement) highlighting their potential liability for valuation reports and related information in disclosure documents published by listed issuers. The SFC warns that those who fail to follow the FA circular and liability statement are at greater risk of investigation and regulatory action.