United Arab Emirates Financial Centers Enhance Economic Security and Business Viability

In an earlier post, here, we examined Law No. 20 of 2018 on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Illegal Organizations, the new Federal AML Law enacted by the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) to ensure best practice anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing measures.

In this post, we consider how the UAE’s two financial free zones, established in the Emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which both possess their own civil and commercial legal frameworks, inclusive of court systems modeled closely on international standards and principles of common law and, importantly, autonomous financial services regulation, have followed suit by augmenting their financial crimes regulatory frameworks.

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New Antitrust Strike Force Focuses on Government Contracts

A new strike force of federal and state investigators is targeting antitrust violations in government procurement. The strike force consists of investigators from a variety of agencies who will receive special training in detecting and prosecuting antitrust agreements. The strike force seeks to increase both criminal and civil enforcement actions.

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So You Think Tailored FCPA Training Does Not Matter? – Think Again

ComplianceAsk the bank that just paid the SEC more than $ 6 million for failing to adequately train its Asia Pacific Region (APAC) personnel on antibribery with respect to hiring practices.  The bank had policies against hiring personnel in exchange for business, but, according to the SEC’s order, the company “failed to effectively train APAC employees or monitor their compliance with those policies…. APAC bankers and compliance personnel lacked familiarity with and understanding of [the company’s] anti-bribery and corruption policies, particularly as those policies relate to hiring.” SEC Order in Administrative Proceeding File No. 3-19537. Continue Reading

Company May Characterize Employee as a Compliance Risk

Wooden Blocks with the text "Risk"In certain circumstances, a company’s statement that one of its employees poses a significant and unacceptable compliance risk is not defamatory. According to a recent federal appellate decision, such a statement (made by a company while complying with a deferred prosecution agreement relating to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations) had no “provably false factual connotation,” and was a statement of opinion beyond the reach of defamation law. Continue Reading

Bipartisan Banking Committee Senators Introduce Anti-Money Laundering Reform Bill

United States Capitol BuildingOn September 26, 2019, a bipartisan group of eight Senators introduced the Illicit Cash Act[1], which, among other proposed reforms, would require certain companies to disclose beneficial ownership information to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) at incorporation and within 90 days of any change in beneficial ownership.

Led by Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), co-sponsors to the bill include Republican Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Mike Rounds (R-SD), John Kennedy (R-LA), and Jerry Moran (R-KS); and Democratic Senators Doug Jones (D-AL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV). This cohort of Senators – who sit on the powerful Senate Banking Committee – achieved something rarely seen in the current US political climate: bipartisanship. Though the sponsors have crossed the aisle in introducing this legislation, prospects for passage this year remain uncertain. Against the backdrop of the recently-announced House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, lawmakers have a shrinking number of legislative days to tackle complex issues like anti-money laundering (AML) reform. What’s more, Congress must also come together to fund the government when the current Continuing Resolution expires on November 21. Looking ahead, the Illicit Cash Act is a step toward meaningful AML reform but it still has a long way to go. Below, we discuss what’s in the bill, outside support, uncertainty for AML reform in the House, and next steps. Continue Reading

Australia Plans to Join U.S. and U.K. in the CLOUD Act

Following its agreement with the United Kingdom, the United States announces formal negotiations are underway with Australia about joining the CLOUD Act. Although also a bi-lateral negotiation, the U.S. talks with Australia strike a more practical tone than those with the U.K.

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U.S. and U.K. Ease Data Collection Across Borders

Saying it will accelerate complex investigations, the United States and the United Kingdom proposed an historic data exchange agreement. In future, each government will be able to obtain electronic data directly from technology companies in the other country. The governments also say this first of its kind agreement will protect privacy and enhance civil liberties.

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United Arab Emirates Issues New AML Law in Context of FATF Evaluation

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental organization founded 30 years ago to develop and uphold policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, is conducting a peer review (or “mutual evaluation”) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this year.

FATF last assessed the UAE in 2008, and found the country’s systems and frameworks geared to prevent criminal abuse of the financial system to be “satisfactory” at that time.  FATF made a number of suggestions for improvement, including expanding the range of predicate offenses in the law, extending customer due diligence (“CDD”) requirements to Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (“DNFBPs”), clarifying the bases upon which suspicious activities/transactions are expected to be reported, and providing greater powers to enforcement authorities.

In the context of this year’s mutual evaluation, the UAE has undertaken a number of proactive initiatives to ensure best practice anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing measures, including enacting an important new law and seeking to combat financial crime in cooperation with international partners. Continue Reading