“A free and open economy is the foundation of global peace and prosperity.”
– Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, G20 summit, June 2019.

On July 1, 2019, only few days after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe opened the G20 summit with a speech endorsing an open global economy, the Japanese government announced that it will impose tighter controls on technology-related exports from Japan to South Korea for reasons of national security. The controls may have a devastating effect on trade between the two countries and will create further drag on the world economy.
Continue Reading A Chinese Export License to Get a Smart Phone? Tech-Tonic Changes in World Export Controls

The Prohibitions

On May 8, 2018, the United States withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and reimposed all pre-JCPOA sanctions against Iran. We provide a detailed discussion of the reimposition in our article linked here (and linked here is our prediction, a year earlier, that it would happen). After a prescribed wind-down period, all U.S. sanctions on Iran are now in force. Effectively, U.S. sanctions on Iran now return to their pre-2016 levels, including secondary sanctions on non-U.S. companies transacting with the Government of Iran and many of Iran’s industries and financial institutions.
Continue Reading CLIENT ALERT: Iran Sanctions Are Back On: Can Business Continue?

I spent last week in Seoul talking to clients about the latest changes to U.S. trade and sanctions policy (as South Korea is one of Iran’s largest trading partners, it is understandable that some concerns have arisen there in May). Interestingly, a topic that came up often was how to reenter the North Korean market. The people with whom I spoke, in industries ranging from financial, to manufacturing, to technology, to legal, were sanguine on the possibility of a détente and the resulting opportunities for investment, growth, and profit in a reopened North Korea.
Continue Reading Your Way-Too-Early Guide to North Korean Investment: Big Opportunities, Big Risks, and the Regulatory Guidance to Identify Both

April 24 marked another day of progress in holding kleptocrats accountable for their corruption.

On that day, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) filed a civil forfeiture complaint to seize more than $700,000 in allegedly illicit funds from former South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan. The corrupt proceeds came from the sale of a Newport Beach house, purchased in 2005 by Chun’s son, Chun Jae Yong, who used funds that the former President had wrongfully obtained.  According to the DOJ, the United States is collaborating in this matter with the Republic of Korea’s Supreme Prosecutor’s Office, Korea’s Ministry of Justice, and the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office.


Continue Reading Beach Houses and Bribes: DOJ Seeks Over $700,000 From Former South Korean President