Singapore’s first cryptocurrency dispute to go to trial

There has been a significant increase in interest in, and the use of, cryptocurrencies in recent times. Cryptocurrencies are essentially de-centralised virtual currencies, which are not linked to any particular country, nor regulated by any central bank or monetary authority.

In late December 2017, the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) decided that the nation’s first dispute involving cryptocurrency merits a full trial. While this case does not involve questions of the legality of cryptocurrency itself, it involves issues relating to the manner in which such cryptocurrencies are traded.   Continue reading

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Filed under Announcements, Asia, Singapore


Just before Christmas Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd, a Singapore incorporated company, entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the United States Department of Justice. The DPA provides for payment of penalties of over US$400 million. The penalties are to be divided between the United States Treasury and the governments of Brazil and Singapore. Continue reading

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Filed under Asia, Bribery and Corruption, Sanctions and Money Laundering


China’s amended Anti-Unfair Corruption Law (AUCL) has been in force only a matter of weeks, yet the body charged with investigating potential AUCL violations, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), has already announced two investigations. China’s Nanjing and Hefei AICs are the municipal arms of SAIC reported to be investigating separate alleged breaches of the “acts of confusion” offences under Article 6. The investigations involve alleged theft of characters / writing style and misuse of brand names and product design, respectively. The investigations appear to capitalise in part on the looser criterion for confusion under the new law (sufficiency to mislead). Continue reading

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Filed under Announcements, Bribery and Corruption, China, Hong Kong, Sector Updates by Herbert Smith Freehills


Following the announcement of the new strategies on Iran in October 2017, on January 12, 2018, the Trump administration announced that it will continue to waive the application of certain nuclear sanctions under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”) as a “last chance.” In a statement, the President states that he intends to pursue a supplemental agreement with European allies of the US, and in the absence of such an agreement, the United States will ultimately withdraw from the JCPOA. Continue reading

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Filed under Announcements, Iran, Sanctions and Money Laundering, Sector Updates by Herbert Smith Freehills, US


A comprehensive New Penal Code came into force in Vietnam on 1 January 2018. This covers a wide range of crimes, including bribery and related offences. The New Penal Code substantially expands the range of offences, including regulating bribery within the private sector and introducing corporate criminal liability for tax evasion and money laundering. The revisions bring Vietnam’s domestic regime more in line with international laws. Continue reading

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Filed under Announcements, Asia, Sanctions and Money Laundering, Sector Updates by Herbert Smith Freehills, Vietnam

Corporate Crime update – December 2017


Welcome to the December 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. For the full update on each jurisdiction, please click on the name of the jurisdiction below. Below we provide a brief overview of what is covered in each update. Continue reading

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Filed under Bribery and Corruption, Corporate Crime, Sector Updates by Herbert Smith Freehills

Bridging the FinTech gap: What dividend should we seek from regulatory cooperation across jurisdictions?

Technology-facilitated innovation in financial services, a diverse collection of topics which coalesces under the portmanteau term of “FinTech”, is increasingly in the sights of policy-makers, whether at global, regional and national or state levels.  Keen observers will have noted a proliferation of consultation documents, statements, warnings, speeches and more emanating from national regulators.  Some of these recent publications address specific FinTech applications. Indeed, there has been a veritable deluge of material on Initial Coin Offerings over just the past few months.

Meanwhile bodies such as the Financial Stability Board (FSB), the influential Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS), and others, both within and without the traditional regulatory cohort, are making some efforts towards setting out (or attempt to setting out) some universal principles or truths which may address an increasingly gaping hole in the global regulatory policy canon.

We are at an early stage in the development of policy responses to FinTech, and it is perhaps unsurprising that globally agreed standards have yet to emerge.

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Filed under Regulatory Reform, Sector Updates by Herbert Smith Freehills

Hong Kong SFC issues new guidance note and FAQs on regulatory cooperation and its benefits

On 12 December 2017, the Securities and Futures Commission (the SFC) published its Guidance Note on Cooperation with the SFC (the Guidance).

The Guidance contains an updated section on disciplinary proceedings and a new section on proceedings in the civil courts and the Market Misconduct Tribunal (MMT). It does not apply to criminal proceedings, which is subject to the unfettered discretion of the Department of Justice. The Guidance replaces the previous version issued in March 2006. Continue reading

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Filed under Hong Kong, Investigations, Sanctions and Money Laundering

Hong Kong SFC announces investor ID regime for Northbound trading under Stock Connect

On 30 November 2017, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) announced that it had reached an agreement with the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) on proposals to introduce an investor identification (investor ID) regime for Northbound trading under the Mainland-Hong Kong Stock Connect schemes. The regime is intended to improve Mainland-Hong Kong cross-border market surveillance and is scheduled to be implemented by the third quarter of 2018. Continue reading

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Filed under Announcements, Hong Kong, Investment banking

The EU publishes a list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions

On 5 December 2017, the EU published its list of 17 non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. The list forms part of the EU’s work to clamp down on tax evasion and avoidance, presenting a united front to dealing with non-EU jurisdictions that, in the EU’s view, encourage abusive tax practices. The 17 jurisdictions identified are: American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, Korea (Republic of), Macao SAR, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates. Continue reading

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Filed under Announcements, Europe, Sector Updates by Herbert Smith Freehills