• Ericsson Caused Violation by Having U.S. Party Ship Equipment to Sudan
  • U.S. Employee Facilitated Sudan Business
  • OFAC Expects Parties Conducting International Business to Have Robust Compliance Processes

In June 2018, the U.S. Treasury Department, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced that Ericsson, a Swedish telecommunications company, agreed to pay approximately $145,000 for violating U.S. sanctions on Sudan.  Among other things, this is one of the few OFAC enforcement actions explicitly premised on a non-U.S. actor causing a U.S. company to violate U.S. sanctions.

Continue Reading Swedish Telecom Company Pays Penalty for Sanctions Violation

  • FIRRMA would significantly expand CFIUS jurisdiction.
  • Mandatory filing would be required in some cases.
  • Parties that protect and maintain personal information are likely to face more scrutiny.

As we have described in recent blog posts in March 2018, January 2018 and October 2017, a rash of proposed transactions have not survived the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) process.  Most notably, as we described here, in March 2018, President Trump announced that he would not allow Singapore-based Broadcom to acquire U.S.-based Qualcomm, a rival chipmaker.

The president made his decision based on the recommendation of CFIUS, the U.S. government’s inter-agency committee that reviews transactions that could result in control of a U.S. business by a foreign person in order to determine if the transaction would have an effect on the national security of the United States.

Continue Reading Proposed CFIUS Reform Moves Forward

  •  Previously permissible activities must be wound down in 90 or 180 days
  • Non-U.S. companies at particular risk of enforcement action
  • Only limited guidance issued so far, unclear what authority U.S. companies have

On May 8, 2018, President Trump announced that the United States is leaving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).  The U.S. Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which administers most U.S. economic sanctions programs, has taken an initial stab at providing guidance in a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) released the same day as the President’s announcement.

Continue Reading President Snaps Iran Sanctions Back

  • 7-year denial order imposed against Chinese telecommunications equipment maker
  • Denial order strictly limits business with company
  • Action comes as U.S. imposes other trade restrictions on China

On April 16, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced a seven-year denial order (the Order) against Chinese telecommunications company Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation (ZTE).  The Order prohibits ZTE from engaging in virtually any trade or other activities involving U.S.-origin goods or technologies.

Continue Reading US Hammers ZTE with Export Denial Order, May Further Weaken Trade with China

Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Thad McBride co-authored an article for Compliance & Ethics Professional magazine outlining best practices for conducting effective internal compliance investigations. Thad co-authored the article with Kate Garfinkel, Vice President and Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer at Alcoa Corporation.

As the article states, “A strong internal investigation process can make the difference between identifying and addressing a problem early on or letting it fester into an issue that becomes a legal liability and reputational crisis … Internal compliance investigations and reviews, when conducted in a confidential and professional manner, ensure that a company can adequately address compliance issues.”

Continue Reading Thad McBride Co-authors Article with Alcoa VP on Best Practices for Internal Investigations

On March 12, 2018, President Trump blocked Broadcom, a Singapore-based semiconductor manufacturer, from pursuing the purchase of U.S.-based Qualcomm, a rival chip maker.  Broadcom’s offer, reportedly for $117 billion or perhaps even more, would have been one of the largest technology deals in history.

The president’s decision followed a determination by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) that the transaction was likely to pose unacceptable national security risks to the United States.  The president apparently made his decision shortly after Broadcom met with Pentagon officials in a final effort to salvage the deal.

Continue Reading CFIUS Continues Aggressive Intervention, Qualcomm Deal Blocked

Thad McBride will present with Brian Cope, Director of International Trade for International Paper Company, at a Clear Law Institute webinar focused on exploring the key challenges companies face when engaging in export transactions, as well as best practices for avoiding enforcement action. Attendees of the webinar will learn to:

  • Examine the primary U.S. export controls laws and regulations
  • Understand penalties and recent enforcement actions
  • Recognize key compliance challenges, such as
    • Technology transfers
    • Conducting business with third parties
    • Entering new markets
  • Explore compliance best practices to prevent and detect violations

EVENT DETAILS:

Continue Reading Webinar – Export Controls: Compliance Challenges and Best Practices

This Post at a Glance:

  • Company made false statements related to import duty charges
  • Investigation initiated by whistleblower complaint from company’s competitor
  • Trump Administration likely to impose more anti-dumping duties

On February 6, 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Home Furnishings Resource Group Inc. (HFRG), of Hermitage, Tennessee, agreed to a $500,000 settlement to resolve allegations that the company violated the False Claims Act (FCA). The DOJ contended that HFRG made false statements on customs declarations to avoid paying anti-dumping duties on wooden bedroom furniture that HFRG imported from China between 2009 and 2014.

Continue Reading Tennessee Company Skirts Customs Obligations, Pays $500,000 FCA Penalty

  • MoneyGram and Ant Financial mutually terminate $1.2 billion proposed merger
  • CFIUS’s concerns focused on cyber and information security
  • Scrutiny of buyers’ information security processes is likely to increase

By Thad McBride and Todd Overman with help from law clerk Nicole Giles

On January 2, 2018, U.S.-based MoneyGram International announced that its proposed acquisition by Ant Financial, a Chinese company owned by Alibaba, was being blocked by the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).  CFIUS is the U.S. government’s inter-agency committee tasked with reviewing foreign entities’ purchases of and investments in U.S. companies when the transaction could pose a threat to U.S. national security.

Continue Reading CFIUS Continues Focus on Information Security, Blocks Chinese Acquisition of MoneyGram

  • Many medical products can be exported to Iran – so long as a license is obtained
  • Imposition of successor liability underscores importance of pre-transaction due diligence
  • OFAC enforcement, as in the past, continues to take a long time

In December 2017, the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced a penalty of $1.2 million against DENTSPLY SIRONA Inc. (DSI), one of the world’s largest manufacturers of dental products, for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.  DSI, which is publicly traded in the United States, is based in York, Pennsylvania, and maintains operations around the world.

Continue Reading U.S. Dental Supply Company Penalized for Violating Iran Sanctions