Europe has come up with a nifty plan to help Iran buy and sell stuff outside the reach of U.S. sanctions. The problem is that the plan is a fraud magnet. How do we know? It’s been tried before, and the fraud was epic.

The plan is known as the “Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges,” or “INSTEX.” Lots of smart people have been involved in creating the program. Let’s hope they’re not too young to remember 1995, when fraudsters first heard that the UN was setting up a program known as “Oil-for-Food.” Similar to INSTEX, Oil-for-Food was designed to allow a sanctioned country (in that case, Iraq) to sell oil on the world market in exchange for food, medicine, and other humanitarian goods. A 2005 independent audit of the program found a staggering variety of fraudulent schemes netting billions of dollars in income for illicit merchants, intermediaries, and the Saddam Hussein regime itself. If INSTEX is not careful, it could be the victim of similar scams.
Continue Reading How to Steal $10 Billion from Europe

Introduction

Our “trends for 2018” are only a selection of interesting developments to watch for in 2018.

Within the political and legislative cycle of the European Union, 2018 promises to be an eventful year, given that it is the last full year before the 2019 EU elections when a new European Commission will be appointed and the European Parliament will hold new elections. This means, in practice, that there will be pressure in 2018 on the current European Commission and European Parliament to act on all their initiatives and to complete their legislative agenda.

Our team of EU lawyers will continue to report on noteworthy developments including for instance, Brexit and its implications for competition and regulatory policies, the surge in foreign direct investment controls, the opening of new competition enforcement fronts, the practical implementation of the EU damages directive, as well as the development of alternative means of resolution in competition investigations and their impact on rights of defence.

We invite you to contact us directly should you have an interest in discussing any topic further or in obtaining additional information. We hope you will enjoy the read!
Continue Reading 2018 EU Trade, Regulatory and Competition Trends

EU food safety authorities are still feeling the repercussions of the insecticide-contaminated eggs crisis. That crisis highlights the many challenges of dealing with unsafe and non-compliant products in a single European market, such as a lack of cooperation between EU authorities, traceability difficulties and widely varied national safety and testing standards.
Continue Reading Scrambling After an Egg Crisis – EU Safety Guidance for Online Product Sales

On July 27, 2017, the U.S. Congress sent to President Trump’s desk a bill that imposes new financial sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea. It appears nearly certain that the president will sign that bill, now called the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (CAATSA). Edit: President Trump signed the bill on August 2, 2017.
Continue Reading In the Chaos of (Trade) War, Where Does Your Company Find Peace?

How The EU Data Privacy Regulation Will Affect American Companies’ Data Collection and Processing Practices – and Their Revenue

For American companies who do business in Europe or who process the personal data of EU residents, the world of data privacy and security is about to get much more complicated. While U.S. privacy law is unsettled, with rapidly proliferating state and federal laws and regulations and uncertainty as to how strictly they will be enforced, the rules in the European Union are tough and about to get much tougher. The General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR), slated to take effect in May 2018, will give consumers in the EU substantially more control over how their personal data is used. The increased control includes the right to:

  1. access any personal data that has been collected,
  2. obtain confirmation about whether an individual’s data is being processed, and
  3. require that the data be “erased” if the consumer withdraws consent.


Continue Reading The GDPR and The Bottom Line

On April 3, 2017, the UK Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) announced new penalties for economic sanctions violations of £1 Million or 50% of the value of the transaction, whichever is higher. As a result, this new detective has a powerful new enforcement tool, and it may be taking notes from the aggressive U.S. sanctions enforcers.
Continue Reading A New Sleuth in Britain: The UK Quietly Empowers a Sanctions Enforcement Office

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom by a majority of 8 to 3 has today confirmed that triggering the exit procedure from the European Union requires an Act of Parliament.

As such the Supreme Court disagreed with the current UK Government which had argued that Government ministers could rely on their prerogative powers to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union without prior authorisation by Parliament. Scottish Parliament, Welsh and Northern Ireland assemblies had argued that they too should be consulted. The judges did not agree with that view.


Continue Reading Bre(xit)aking News

On the morning of June 24, 2016, we woke up to a headline that had been much discussed, but still added a jolt to many people’s morning coffee: Britain to Leave the European Union.

The first response, almost inevitably, was fear and confusion. Global markets dropped precipitously (as did the Pound Sterling and the Euro) until the Bank of England spoke up to reassure investors, and even then the exchanges appeared jittery. Nevertheless, after bolting from bed in the first shocking instant, we propose a calmer moment to reflect on the new reality. Over breakfast (English breakfast tea with that, perhaps?), we may carefully examine how Brexit will impact global business.

To begin, we have taken that moment to analyze the implications of the UK’s separation from the European Union in the realm of sanctions, export controls, and foreign investment in the United States. We address those implications in the four questions below.
Continue Reading The Morning After: Waking up to Brexit and Its Impact on Your Business

On February 29, 2016, the European Commission and United States released the terms of the much-anticipated renewed framework for the transfer, sharing, and processing of European individuals’ data to the United States. The framework replaces the “Safe Harbour” mechanism, which enabled U.S. to transfer data from the EU to the United States by self-certifying that their practices ensured an adequate level of protection for personal data under the EU Data Protection Directive. In October, the “Safe Harbour” framework was declared invalid by the European Court of Justice in the Schrems decision covered earlier in this blog.
Continue Reading EU-US Privacy Shield: Brace Yourself . . . or Maybe Not

Privacy activists across Europe raised their data protection banner following the announcement by EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová on Tuesday 2 February 2016 that a political agreement had been reached between the EU and the US on a new framework for handling transatlantic data flows. This does not bode well, especially because the exact content of the new agreement which will replace the “Safe Harbour” mechanism is still unknown. We will expand on the indications provided by the Commissioner on some of the negotiated protection mechanisms. More importantly, we will highlight the risks that over 4.000 companies, mainly US tech companies, still face and the measures they should put in place to ensure compliance with EU data protection rules.
Continue Reading EU-US Privacy Shield: Still Awaiting Certainty

On January 16, 2016, the United States and the EU lifted certain sanctions against Iran in compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreed among Iran, China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States. January 16, 2016 was the day on which the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) certified that Iran had met certain milestones set forth in the JCPOA toward dismantling the military aspects of its nuclear program. On the same day, the United States and the EU announced the lifting of sanctions consistent with the announcement of Implementation Day.
Continue Reading US and EU Iran Sanctions Lifted: How to Proceed in the Aviation Sector?