Corporate & Commercial

On November 28, 2022, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced a $362,158.70 settlement agreement with Payward, Inc. (Kraken), an online virtual currency exchange, in connection with 826 apparent violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations. This enforcement action highlights the OFAC compliance risks for virtual currency platforms and comes on the heels of the Bittrex settlement which we discussed here. Again, it is critical to assess your risks and take steps to make sure you’re addressing them with smart compliance and screening measures.
Continue Reading OFAC Continues Focus on Virtual Currency Industry with Announced Settlement with Payward, Inc.

CFIUS 최초의 행정명령으로 본 바이든의 국가 안보 우선순위

U.S. President Biden signed the first-ever Executive Order (E.O.) on CFIUS – the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States – on September 15, 2022. While the E.O. does not substantively change CFIUS’s jurisdiction or the legal process, the Biden Administration provides some explicit guidance on certain national security priorities and factors for CFIUS to consider when evaluating transactions – focusing in on protecting U.S. technological advantage, supply chain resiliency, and sensitive data from U.S. adversaries. No doubt, the E.O. will impact certain cross-border transactions and investments as CFIUS develops strategies
Continue Reading First-Ever Executive Order on CFIUS Highlights Biden’s National Security Priorities

Yesterday, each of Nasdaq, FINRA and NYSE released Regulatory Alerts highlighting concerns surrounding fraudulent activities in Small-Cap IPOs. Each of these alerts raises similar issues, highlights the importance of the Underwriter in the process, and stresses the obligations that Underwriters have as Gatekeepers in the IPO Process. Below is a link to each of these Alerts and some relevant excerpts from them.
Continue Reading Nasdaq, FINRA and NYSE Issue Warnings of Small-Cap IPO Fraud

On November 10, 2022, the Federal Trade Commission issued its “Policy Statement Regarding the Scope of Unfair Methods of Competition Under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.” The Statement replaces prior guidance on the subject that was rescinded by the FTC on July 1, 2021[1] and “supersedes all prior FTC policy statements and advisory guidance on the scope and meaning of unfair methods of competition under Section 5 of the FTC Act.”
Continue Reading FTC Policy Statement on the Scope of Unfair Methods of Competition – A Broad But Vague Warning

On November 10, 2022, the Federal Trade Commission issued its “Policy Statement Regarding the Scope of Unfair Methods of Competition Under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.” The Statement replaces prior guidance on the subject that was rescinded by the FTC on July 1, 2021[1] and “supersedes all prior FTC policy statements and advisory guidance on the scope and meaning of unfair methods of competition under Section 5 of the FTC Act.”
Continue Reading FTC Policy Statement on the Scope of Unfair Methods of Competition – A Broad But Vague Warning

Over the last year, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has been laser-focused on the use of personal devices by employees of the large Wall Street banks to conduct company business. The SEC’s investigations have focused on whether the banks complied with the “books and records” requirement that they preserve all communications that relate to Company business. The SEC has asserted that certain “off-channel” business communications not captured in company systems run afoul of this basic record keeping requirement. Not surprisingly, during the pandemic and with the increase in remote work, the SEC has determined that violations have been widespread. 
Continue Reading SEC Shifts Focus on Employees’ Off-Channel Business Communications to Investment Advisers

We have previously posted about the SEC lawsuit against LBRY. In that post, we noted that while the crypto community is rightfully focused on the Ripple case to see how the SEC will fare in court on enforcements alleging cryptocurrency offerings are a security, a lesser-known case may provide clarity first. And today that came to be. The federal district court in the LBRY case granted summary judgment in favor of the SEC. In so ruling, the Court found no reasonable trier of fact could reject the SEC’s contention that LBRY offered LBC as a security, and LBRY does not
Continue Reading Federal Court Rules LBRY Offered Security and Rejects Arguments SEC Did Not Provide Fair Notice

As we recently noted (see our Corporate & Securities Law blog from October 26, 2022, “SEC Adopts New Executive Compensation Clawback and Disclosure Rule”), in accordance with Section 954 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Reform Act”), the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) issued a press release and published final regulations (Release No. 34-96159) (the “Final Rules”) regarding so-called “Clawback Policies”. The Final Rules require specified publicly-held companies to adopt, disclose and maintain a policy to recover incentive compensation which was previously paid to specified company executive officers based on financial
Continue Reading Another Seven Year Wait is Over! SEC Finalizes Regulations on Clawback of Incentive Compensation for Restated Financial Statements

We previously blogged about the NFT insider trading case against Nathaniel Chastain. He was charged with wire fraud and money laundering in connection with a scheme to commit “insider trading” in Non-Fungible Tokens (“NFTs”) by using confidential information about what NFTs were going to be featured on a marketplace homepage for his personal financial gain. Despite referring to this case as insider trading, there was no allegation that the NFTs at issue were securities. This caused many in the NFT community to question whether this activity could be illegal if the NFTs were not securities. In fact, there was a
Continue Reading NFT Insider Trading Charge Doesn’t Require the NFT To Be a Security

On Monday, October 24, 2022, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced charges against two alleged Chinese intelligence officers for bribing and stealing documents to obstruct the criminal investigation of, reportedly, Huawei (while the complaint does not name Huawei, it is the company according to multiple reports).
Continue Reading Bribes, Bitcoin and Obstruction: DOJ Announces Charges Against Chinese Agents for Trying to Impede Investigation of Huawei

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) voted on Wednesday to adopt a new rule requiring companies listed on a national securities exchange to claw back incentive-based executive compensation that was erroneously awarded on the basis of materially misreported financial information that requires an accounting restatement.
Continue Reading SEC Adopts New Executive Compensation Clawback and Disclosure Rule

Today, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) officially moved Myanmar onto the agency’s blacklist, where it joins Iran and North Korea, the only other two listed countries. It is likely that the United States and other countries will take the FATF designation as grounds to impose financial sanctions on the country, likely focusing on its central bank and financial institutions.
Continue Reading Myanmar Sanctions – A Last Resort Against a Non-Cooperating Country

USMCA는 그 의미에 충실한가? 핵심 자동차 부품 원산지 규정에 대한 분쟁패널 회담

In recent weeks we saw Canada, Mexico and the United States present their respective positions and legal arguments, often in sharply worded exchanges, about how the Auto Core Parts rules of origin under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) should be interpreted. It is a high-stakes issue because assembly operations for vehicles and their “Core Parts” (engine, transmission, etc.) inevitably involve lengthy bills of materials with components from many countries, and what is being disputed is whether Core Parts once found to meet the USMCA requirements to be “originating” can
Continue Reading Does the USMCA Mean What It Says? The Disputes Panel Hearing on the Auto Core Parts Rules of Origin

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has announced the next steps in its review of the Trump-era tariffs on Chinese imports. Today, on October 17, 2022, USTR published the official request for comments in the Federal Register. The tariffs were issued by then-President Donald J. Trump under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.
Continue Reading China Tariffs: USTR Requests Comments for Review of Section 301 Tariffs

On September 26, 2022, New York Attorney General Letitia James (the “NYAG”) took definitive action in the wake of her warning last year that crypto lending platforms must register with her office or face legal action, filing a complaint against Nexo Inc. and Nexo Capital, Inc. (collectively “Nexo”) alleging that Nexo violated New York’s Martin Act and Executive Law by acting as an unregistered securities and/or commodities broker-dealer within the state. Specifically, the complaint alleges that Nexo improperly offered and sold securities and commodities by allowing users to purchase, sell, deposit, trade, borrow against, and earn interest on virtual currency,
Continue Reading NYAG Delivers on Promise to Rein In Unregistered Crypto Lending with New Suit