By: Mark Jensen

In a July 23, 2013 opinion, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia upheld the SEC’s rule requiring disclosure of companies’ use of conflict minerals originating in and around the Democratic Republic of the Congo (“DRC”).  The decision underscores the importance of due diligence provisions under the new law, which come into effect for large issuers during this reporting year, and should be incorporated into May 2014 reports.


Continue Reading Still Standing: U.S. Court Upholds SEC Conflicts Minerals Rule

By: Thad McBride

Asserting that “the protection of human rights … is not left exclusively to the internal affairs of [any one] country,” in December 2012 the United States enacted the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012 (the “Magnitsky Act”).  Under the law, the President is required to identify individuals found to be involved in human rights violations and impose targeted sanctions on them.  Interestingly, as discussed below, these sanctions seem to be based in significant part on concerns about corruption in Russia.  While the U.S. government continues to aggressively enforce the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act with respect to parties giving bribes, the Magnitsky Act suggests that Congress may seek to employ economic sanctions to target recipients of corrupt payments.


Continue Reading U.S. Sanctions Target Russian Corruption, Human Rights Violations

By: Thad McBride and Mark L. Jensen

Introduction: On October 24, 2011, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit released an opinion in United States v. Banki, No. 10-3381 (2d Cir. Oct. 24, 2011) that reversed convictions of Defendant Mahmoud Reza Banki on charges of conspiring to violate the Iranian Transaction Regulations (“ITR”) and aiding and abetting violations of the ITR.[1]  In doing so, the Court contradicted the position of the U.S. Government in a manner that may have important consequences for how the Government pursues sanctions enforcement matters going forward.
Continue Reading Clarity Required: Iran Sanctions Convictions Reversed in U.S. v. Banki

By: Curt Dombek & Reid Whitten

On November 7, 2011, the U.S. State Department published a proposed rule amending the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) by narrowing the categories of aircraft and related equipment controlled on the United States Munitions List (“USML”). Concurrently, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) published a proposed rule adding five new Export Control Classification Numbers (“ECCNs”) to the Commerce Control List, which lists items controlled under the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”). The two rules are linked, as the new ECCNs in BIS’s proposed rule will cover those items carved out of the ambit of ITAR controls by the State Department’s proposed rule.


Continue Reading Early Steps Toward a Streamlined Export Control System: Proposed Changes to the ITAR and EAR

By: Thaddeus McBride and Reid Whitten

Under a recent court decision, UK government agencies may be able to shield the names of British companies transacting in Iran, and thereby aid these companies in averting potential consequences of U.S. law.

Continue Reading Mind Your Own Businesses: UK Court Decision May Signal Pushback On Extraterritorial Enforcement of US Trade Laws

By: Thaddeus McBride , Reid Whitten & Corey Phelps

On August 18, 2011, based on the “continuing escalation of violence against the people of Syria,” President Barack Obama issued Executive Order 13582 (“EO 13582”) to expand significantly U.S. sanctions on Syria.  This briefing summarizes those sanctions as well as the General Licenses issued—first on August 18 and again on September 9—by the U.S. government to authorize limited transactions with Syria.
Continue Reading Syria Update: Significant New Sanctions Imposed

By: Reid Whitten and Corey Phelps

On June 2, 2011, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a new state law prohibiting Florida government entities from contracting with companies invested in Iran’s petroleum energy sector.  Florida’s law, and a similar California law that went into effect on June 1, 2011, announce a coming trend of state laws targeting potential contractors that also deal with Iran.  These two laws, and several others on the horizon, present pitfalls for unwary companies as well as unique opportunities for informed, well-advised businesses.
Continue Reading California and Florida Lead Trend of New State-Level Iran Sanctions