Supreme Court Resolves Constitutionality of SEC’S ALJ Appointments — Now What?

Last week, the United States Supreme Court settled a circuit split regarding the constitutionality of the appointment of Administrative Law Judges (“ALJs”) by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or the “Commission”).  In Lucia v. SEC, the Court held that the Commission’s five ALJs are “officers” subject to the Constitution’s Appointments Clause, which requires officers to be appointed by the President, “Courts of Law,” or “Heads of Departments.”  And because the SEC’s ALJs were hired by the agency’s staff, the Court reasoned, their appointments were unconstitutional.  The SEC reacted quickly, immediately issuing an order staying all pending administrative proceedings, the constitutionality of which is now unclear.

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Circuits Split About Border Search of Electronic Devices

The Supreme Court allows routine border searches because the “Government’s interest in preventing the entry of unwanted persons and effects is at its zenith at the international border.” Some level of suspicion is required only when a search infringes the dignity and privacy interest of the persons being searched. Circuits are now split about whether reasonable suspicion is needed to justify a forensic search of information stored on an electronic device. Continue Reading

Serious Fraud Office: Apparent Renewed Faith

Serious Fraud OfficeIn the first part of this two-part post, we looked at some of the infamous cases that may explain repeated attempts by Theresa May, first as Home Secretary and later as Prime Minister, to dismantle the SFO, see here. Our attentions now turn to the important role the SFO continues to play in combatting corruption, fraud, and other forms of white collar crime, especially now its coffers have been boosted and Lisa Osofsky has been appointed the new Director.

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Serious Fraud Office: Boost to Coffers Is Vote of Confidence

Serious Fraud OfficeThe UK’s Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) recently received an unexpected, yet significant, increase in baseline funding for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The funding boost comes in spite of Prime Minister Theresa May’s previous efforts, following several high-profile prosecutorial setbacks for the SFO, to fold it into the UK’s National Crime Agency (“NCA”). Relatedly, a new funding arrangement addresses prior concerns of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (“OECD”) about potential conflicts of interest. It is probable that these changes will enable the SFO to better develop and retain internal talent.  These developments should come as good news to Lisa Osofsky, the newly appointed Director of the SFO who will begin her renewable five year term on September 3, 2018.

In this two-part post, we look first at the alleged chequered history of the SFO, seemingly causative of attempts by the government over time to disband it, before then focusing on a remarkable turnaround in its fortunes, both figuratively and literally.

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2018 – Problem and Promise of Cryptocompliance in America

Having looked comparatively at the approaches of certain authorities around the world to addressing and mitigating the risks associated with cryptocurrencies, our attentions now turn to the emerging position of regulators in the U.S., which is often considered the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency market. In the first two parts of this three-part post, we examined “cryptocompliance” in Asia, click here, and in Europe, click here.

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2018 – Problem and Promise of Cryptocompliance in Europe


In the first part of this three-part post, we examined “cryptocompliance” as an emerging focus of various Asian regulators, click here. Next, we analyze European (and intergovernmental) attitudes. As will become clear, there is perhaps a healthy blend on display between “cryptocaution” and “cryptofriendliness.” Countries such as the UK and France are making an effort not to unnecessarily repress the innovation that could potentially change our global economic system for the better and lead us into a new and improved digital future.

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2018 – Problem and Promise of Cryptocompliance in Asia

The first ever bitcoin transaction occurred in 2009. Despite bitcoin’s meteoric rise in value since then, from 1 cent per coin in May 2010 to USD 17,900 per coin in December 2017, governments around the world have been extraordinarily slow to respond and implement regulatory regimes. In this three-part post, we look at “cryptocompliance” as an emerging focus of various international regulators in Asia, Europe, and the U.S.

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Yahoo Fined Millions by SEC for Failing to Disclose Cybersecurity Breach

cybersecurity breachIn late April, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) hit Yahoo with a $35 million dollar fine for failing to properly assess and disclose a 2014 data breach that affected more than 500 million user accounts. The case marks the first time the SEC has charged a public company with cybersecurity-related disclosure violations and serves as a reminder that the SEC remains laser-focused on cybersecurity issues.

Read our full client alert  here.

Iran’s “Trojan Horse” Bank

The Kingdom of Bahrain recently filed its statement of defence in an ongoing UNCITRAL arbitration in the Permanent Court of Arbitration (“PCA”) in The Hague against Iranian financial institutions Bank Melli and Bank Saderat. The statement of defence cites a Bahraini government audit evidencing a multibillion-dollar corruption scheme perpetrated by Bank Melli and Bank Saderat on Bahraini soil.

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