Russian Competition Regulators, Mount Up: Russian Authorities Crack Down on Anti-Competitive Agreements With Uptick in Criminal Liability for Antitrust Violations

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This article has been republished with permission from K&L Gates.

Just one month into the new year, Russian courts have already handed down three new criminal judgments for violations of anti-competition laws, a stark contrast to previous years that often passed without a single conviction for cartel agreements. Over two decades after Russia introduced criminal liability for cartels, this increased activity could signal that the Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Russian Federation (“FAS”) is finally beginning to focus on criminal sanctions for cartels—prosecutions that it has long shied away from. Russia’s expanded focus into the enforcement of criminal antitrust laws may be felt most heavily by the construction, pharmaceutical, and medical device industries, where procurement procedures and auctions are particularly vulnerable to cartel manipulation.[1] These actions could foreshadow an increased era of Russian enforcement or a backlash against foreign companies doing business in Russia.

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CFIUS Finalizes Rules Reforming Foreign Investment Reviews

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This article has been republished with permission from King & Spalding.

Focus on Technology, Infrastructure, Data and Real Estate

On February 13, 2020, two Final Rules issued by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States’ (“CFIUS”) implementing most of the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 (“FIRRMA”) became effective. CFIUS, an interagency committee, reviews foreign investments in U.S. businesses and real estate and determines whether transactions should be unwound, blocked, or restricted due to national security concerns. FIRRMA is the first major expansion to CFIUS’ powers in a decade.

One Rule expands CFIUS’ jurisdiction to review certain non-controlling foreign investments in U.S. businesses involving critical technology, critical infrastructure, and sensitive personal data (“TID businesses”) (“U.S. Business Rule”). The other Rule expands CFIUS’ jurisdiction to review certain foreign investments in U.S. real estate (“Real Estate Rule”).

The Rules create narrow exceptions for certain Australian, Canadian, and UK investors. They indicate that CFIUS anticipates future rulemakings to create CFIUS filing fees and to increase CFIUS enforcement.

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UK Sanctions Post-Brexit

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This article has been republished with permission from Ropes & Gray.

One of the many unanswered questions associated with the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union on 31 January 2020 is the future use of sanctions as part of the United Kingdom’s foreign policy playbook. From the time of Brexit on 31 January 2020 until 31 December 2020, OFSI has confirmed that the United Kingdom will continue to apply all current EU sanctions. At the end of this period, the United Kingdom will be free to alter the extent to which the EU sanctions program is applicable in the United Kingdom. As discussed further below, while UK and EU officials have said they intend to coordinate as much as possible on sanctions policy, the UK government has provided some indication that it will use Brexit as an opportunity to carve its own path and potentially strengthen its sanctions regime. A related key question will be whether the United Kingdom will align itself to the United States’ or the European Union’s policy on Iran, or adopt its own position.

The Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 (“SAMLA”), the cornerstone of the United Kingdom’s new autonomous sanctions regime, gives the United Kingdom the power to diverge from EU sanctions in a number of critical ways. SAMLA will also provide a post-Brexit mechanism for the United Kingdom to satisfy its obligation to impose UN sanctions. During transition, UN and EU sanctions will continue to be implemented in the UK through EU law.

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International Practice Section Loses One of Its Own

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We are saddened to hear of former International Practice Section Chair Richard (“Dick”) J. Boles Sr.’s passing on December 11. A native of Cambridge, Mass., Dick was a graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (1957) and UNC School of Law (1966).

Boles was a licensed Engineering Officer in the U.S. Merchant Marines and a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, held a commercial pilot’s license, and traveled to more than 40 countries, the Arctic and Antarctica. He also served as Construction Engineer on the U.S.S. Enterprise, the first nuclear powered Air Craft Carrier.

After earning his J.D., Dick clerked for the Chief Judge of the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. He became a highly respected tax attorney, publishing numerous articles in various journals on taxation and estate planning, including the North Carolina Law Review.

In addition to serving as Chair to our Section, Dick authored the North Carolina Foreign Legal Consultants Act, taught a course in International Taxation at UNC School of Law, and taught at the University of Sydney Law School in Sydney, Australia.

Richard is survived by his sons: Richard J. Boles, Jr. of Murrells Inlet, SC and Thomas E. Boles of Durham, NC. A sister, Mildred F. Donovan of Londonderry, New Hampshire, also survives.

More information can be found on the Goldfinch Funeral Home website.

NCBA International Practice Council Seeking Nominations

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The NCBA International Practice Council is seeking nominations for new Council members from which a slate of proposed new Officers to the Council will also be considered.  As a reminder, Council membership requires both membership in the NCBA and the International Practice Section, attendance at four Council Meetings scheduled around the state each year, and a willingness to serve a three-year term.

A special word of thanks to all currently serving as Officers; your participation is greatly appreciated.  For members who are not Officers, please let Nominations Chair Jennifer Parser know if you are interested.  Also, any member who would like to propose a new Council member should also contact Jennifer at 919-783-2955 or jparser@poynerspruill.com.

ICYMI: Trade in the Trump Era

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Pat Togni discusses “Trade in the Trump Era.”

On November 7, the International Practice Section held a Lunch and Learn titled “Trade in the Trump Era” at Poyner Spruill in Raleigh. Pat Togni from King & Spalding introduced the topic with an overview of the historical trade landscape. The Trump Administration’s activities, in part, are premised on the idea that while other countries have been actively pursuing their national interests, the United States historically has not been as aggressive as it should have been in trade negotiations to promote the interests of the United States.  The change in approach can be seen in at least three current administration objectives: (1) restoring U.S. manufacturing, as trade negotiations have been more heavily weighted in the past on other interests; (2) recognizing that a well implemented trade strategy can promote other policy objectives (e.g., serving as an additional “tool in the toolbox”); and (3) addressing the China “problem”, i.e., recognizing that the world’s second largest economy is not a market economy and fails to respect intellectual property.  These tactics have included unilateral actions/tariffs (to bring countries back to the negotiating table), bi-lateral vs. multi-country agreements, and a focus on leverage and supply-chain uncertainty.

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Join Us for Lunch as Pat Togni Speaks on “Trade in the Trump Era”

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Patrick “Pat” Togni

Please join us for lunch as the International Practice Section invites Patrick “Pat” Togni to present on “Trade in the Trump Era.”

Pat is a senior associate in the International Trade practice group of King & Spalding, LLP, where he assists clients in Charlotte, N.C., and Washington, D.C.  Particularly, Pat has worked to help his clients navigate the Trump Administration’s approach to international trade policy.

The presentation will take place at 12:00 p.m. on November 7, 2019, in Poyner Spruill’s offices located at 301 Fayetteville Street, Suite 1900, in Raleigh, N.C.  Attendance is free to all International Practice Section members.  Lunch will be provided.

Please note, this presentation will not provide CLE Credit.

Space is limited, so please click here to RSVP now.

If you have any questions, please contact Brandon Wheeler at btwheeler0506@email.campbell.edu.

Micro-Lending with a purpose: A closer look at Kiva

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By Bryant Pernell

Kiva is one of several non-profit organizations helping to provide access to financing and outside investment through micro-lending for humanitarian purposes.

What is Kiva?

Organizations like KivaHeifer International, and Accion International, are leading the charge in the global effort towards financial inclusion.  These microfinancing organizations are helping to provide disadvantaged individuals and businesses with financial tools to improve their lives and their communities.

Officially launching in 2005, Kiva is a 501(c)(3) U.S. non-profit based in California.  As a person-to-person crowdfunding platform, Kiva connects everyday Americans who are willing to lend capital oversees to people needing small amounts of capital to start and grow their businesses.  Because so many people around the world lack access to financial institutions, Kiva is helping to expand interaction with underserved and impoverished communities.

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Volunteers Needed for Law School Panels

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By Laura Burton

We are seeking volunteers for the following law school panels:

UNC School of Law: Tuesday, November 5, 2019 at 12:00 – 12:50 pm (2-3 panelists needed).

Elon University School of Law: Monday, January 27, 2020 at 12:00 pm (3 panelists needed).

Duke University School of Law: Wednesday, February 5, 2020 at 12:30 pm (3 panelists needed).

Additional Information:
Many law students would like to have an international career but don’t know where to start, what the opportunities are, how to prepare or what to expect. Each year our Section’s Law School Liaison Committee organizes panels of international attorneys at each of the North Carolina law schools.  The panels are composed of 3-4 attorneys who are willing to speak to students about their careers and opportunities in the international legal arena. Typically, the panelists talk for a few minutes about their backgrounds, their international practice, how they got involved in international law and opportunities they see.  It is then opened to Q&A.

Please consider volunteering! It is a rewarding experience providing information on your career, international legal career opportunities and general suggestions and advice.

If you are interested in serving on a panel, please contact me at LBurton@foxrothschild.com.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Duke Law Opens New Immigrant Rights Clinic

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By Jennifer Maher

The Duke University School of Law has announced a new clinic to be housed at the law school.  The Immigrant Rights Clinic will be Duke’s 11th clinical program and will offer students the opportunity to develop critical professional skills and knowledge while providing free legal services to immigrants who could not otherwise afford a lawyer.  Supervised by clinic faculty, student-attorneys will have the opportunity to primarily represent individuals seeking asylum or facing deportation.  The clinic aims to engage students in cutting-edge work from grassroots community empowerment efforts to litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court.  In doing so, the Immigrant Rights Clinic will partner closely with the local immigration bar and immigrant rights organizations.

Duke Law’s Immigrant Rights Clinic will be run by Kate Evans, who recently joined the Duke Law faculty as a clinical director and professor.  In addition to numerous accolades, Ms. Evans graduated magna cum laude from NYU Law, where she won the dean’s award for exceptional work in NYU’s Immigrant Rights Clinic.  Ms. Evans now brings her depth of experience and passion for immigration work to Duke.

Duke Law students will be able to enroll in the clinic for the spring 2020 semester.