The International Enforcement Law Reporter

The International Enforcement Law Reporter is a monthly print and online journal covering news and trends in international enforcement law.

Since September 1985, the International Enforcement Law Reporter has analyzed the premier developments in both the substantive and procedural aspects of international enforcement law. Read by practitioners, academics, and politicians, the IELR is a valuable guide to the difficult and dynamic field of international law.

Chinese Hacking Groups Continue to Threaten U.S.-based Businesses and Personnel

Friday, May 17, 2019
Author: 
Alex Psilakis
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
5
Abstract: 

On May 9, 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the federal grand jury indictment of a Chinese hacking group accused of stealing the information of more than 78 million individuals. The indictment charges Fujie Wang, alongside other members of the hacking group, including a John Doe, with four counts: “one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in relation to computers and identity theft, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and two substantive counts of intentional damage to a protected computer.” The indictment alleges that Wang and his fellow hackers broke into four U.S.-based businesses, including Anthem, Inc., a health insurance company, alongside companies based in the technology, basic materials, and communications sectors, which the indictment refers to as Victim Businesses 1, 2, and 3. The hacking group applied a variety of techniques to break into these businesses’ computer networks, including spearfishing and malware.

Assistant Attorney General Heralds Progress in Global Competition Enforcement Cooperation

Friday, May 17, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
5
Abstract: 

On May 10, 2019, in remarks to the American Bar Association’s program on “Antitrust in the Americas,” in Buenos Ares, Argentina, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim heralded progress in global competition enforcement cooperation. In June 2018, the U.S. announced cooperation with a group of leading competition agencies on an initiative for a Multilateral Framework on Procedures (MFP).  The initial group of competition agencies that developed this initiative included Brazil’s CADE, Canada’s Competition Bureau, Chile’s FNE, and Mexico’s COFECE.  The joint initiative had the goal of establishing fundamental procedural norms and achieving commitment from participating agencies to abide by these norms.  The MFP initiative combined widely accepted procedural fairness norms, such as transparency, non-discrimination, access to counsel, and judicial review, with an adherence, cooperation, and review mechanism. More than 50 competition agencies now participate in the MFP. On April 3, 2019, the International Competition Network (ICN) Steering Group adopted the norms in the MFP proposal, as well as meaningful adherence, review, and cooperation mechanisms within an ICN instrument in the form of the “Framework on Competition Agency Procedures” (CAP).

1MDB Case: Malaysia Extradites Former Banker to the U.S. and U.S. Indicts Malaysian Financier for Foreign and Conduit Election Contributions

Friday, May 17, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
5
Abstract: 

On May 7, 2019, the United States government announced Malaysia has extradited Ng Chong Hwa, 46, and a Malaysian national, also known as “Roger Ng,” to face charges of conspiring to launder billions of dollars embezzled from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), Malaysia’s investment development fund.  The indictment also charges him with conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by paying bribes to multiple government officials in Malaysia and Abud Dhabi, and conspiring to violate the FCPA by circumventing the internal accounting controls of a major New York-headquartered financial institution. On May 10, 2019, the U.S. government announced the unsealing of a four-count indictment in the District of Columbia for conspiring to make and conceal foreign and conduit campaign contributions during the U.S. presidential election in 2012.

NCA Civil Asset Recovery Investigation Nets £6 Million Worth of Assets

Friday, May 17, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
5
Abstract: 

On May 12, 2019, the National Crime Agency in the United Kingdom recovered approximately £6 million worth of assets, including an award-winning luxury hotel and a £100,000 Bentley from alleged members of an international money laundering ring. The Honorable Mrs. Justice Cheema-Grubb DBE issued the order after three defendants, including a practicing barrister and associated companies, agreed to surrender the assets rather than face a 15-day trial. The consent forfeiture orders resulted from a complex eight-year civil recovery investigation into businessman Jonathan Nuttall, 46, of Romsey, Hampshire.  The NCA first encountered Nuttall’s activities when it undertook a civil recovery investigation involving convicted drug smuggler Amir Azam, from whom it recovered £4 million in assets.  Nuttal structured his wealth so it was in the name of Amanda Nuttall, his wife, with whom he shared a London flat in Belgravia, which rented for £2,000 a week.

U.S. Court Enforces Grand Jury Subpoena for N. Korean Sanctions Violations against Chinese Banks

Saturday, May 11, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
5
Abstract: 

On April 30, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia unsealed an opinion issued on March 18, 2019, by Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell enforcing grand jury subpoenas and an administrative subpoena against three Chinese banks for records of transactions for a now-defunct Hong Kong based front company for North Koreas state-run company.  In doing so, Judge Howell found jurisdiction and, notwithstanding a conflict of law with China, that comity required the Chinese banks to comply with the subpoenas. Between October 2012 and January 2015, the Chinese banks were allegedly responsible for helping move $105,339,483.59 through U.S. correspond accounts.  Banks One and Two are Chinese banks with U.S. branches while Bank Three is a Chinese bank without any U.S. branch, but which maintains correspondent account. Many of the transactions occurred after Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated an entity as a Special Designated National.  The details in the Howell opinion appear to align with OFAC’s allegations in 2017 that the Hong Kong firm Mingzheng International Trading Limited acted as a front company to facilitate U.S. dollar transactions that helped North Korea’s proliferation program network, on behalf of a covert foreign branch of North Korea’s state-operated Foreign Trade Bank.

ICC Rules on Al Bashir’s Immunity and Jordan’s Referral to the Security Council

Saturday, May 11, 2019
Author: 
Michael Plachta
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
5
Abstract: 

In a unanimous judgement made on May 6, 2019, the Appeals Chamber found Jordan did not fulfill its obligations as a State Party to the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), as it failed to arrest former Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir when he was in the country in March 2017. However, the Appeals Chamber was divided on whether this should lead to Jordan being referred to the Assembly of State Parties (ASP) or the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for not cooperating with the ICC. In a majority judgement on this issue, the Appeals Chamber decided not to refer Jordan to ASP or the Security Council. The core legal issue boils down to whether Head of State immunity finds application in a situation where the Court requests a State Party of the Rome Statute to arrest and surrender the Head of State of another State (in this instance, Sudan), which, while not being party to the Rome Statute, is the subject of a referral to the Court by the UN Security Council and, in terms of Resolution 1593, obliged to fully cooperate with the Court.

U.S. District Court Denies Justice Department’s Motion to Dismiss Emoluments Clause Case

Saturday, May 11, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
5
Abstract: 

On April 30, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Columbia Emmet  G. Sullivan issued a memorandum opinion, denying on behalf of President Donald J. Trump the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss that were deferred in the Court’s prior order. Previously Judge Sullivan held that plaintiffs, approximately 201 members of the 535 members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, had standing to sue President Trump in his official capacity as President of the United States for alleged violations of the Foreign Emoluments Clause. The President moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim because, inter alia, he argues in the Motion to Dismiss that “Emolument” should be narrowly construed to mean “profit arising from an official’s services rendered pursuant to an office or employ.”

U.S. Announces New Sanctions against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua

Friday, May 3, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
5
Abstract: 

On April 17, 2019, the United States government announced new sanctions against Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. While giving a speech in Miami, National Security Advisor John Bolton announced that the Trump administration is re-imposing limits on the amount of money Cuban Americans can send to relatives in Cuba and ordering new restrictions on U.S. citizen, nonfamily travel to Cuba. Also on April 17, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the administration will remove restrictions that have prevented lawsuits from U.S. citizens seeking compensation for property expropriated by the Cuban governments when it came to power in 1958.

U.S. Court Authorizes John Doe Summonses about Finnish Residents Using 3 U.S. Bank Payment Cards Linked to Non-Finnish Bank Accounts

Friday, May 3, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
5
Abstract: 

On May 1, 2019, a U.S. Court in North Carolina authorized the Internal Revenue Service to serve John Doe summonses on Bank of America, Charles Schwab, and TD Bank in an order that was unsealed on April 30.  The John Doe summonses seek information about persons residing in Finland that have Bank of America, Charles Schwab, or TD Bank payment cards linked to bank accounts located outside of Finland.  The summonses are known as “John Doe” summonses because the IRS does not know the identity of the persons under investigation.

EIA Releases Report Showing Illegal Logging and Wood Trade by Chinese Company in Congo and Gabon

Friday, May 3, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
5
Abstract: 

On March 25, 2019, the Environmental Investigation Agency, after four years of investigating the logging sector in Congo and Gabon, released a report and accompanying video, Toxic Trade: Forest Crime. The report explains that The Congo Basin, which is home to the second largest tropical forest in the world after the Amazon and equal in size to half of the continental United States (U.S.), is of vital importance for thousands of species. EIA has investigated the logging sector in the Congo and Gabon, countries that together account for approximately 60 percent of the total area under forest management in the Congo Basin. EIA’s report  shows that one the most influential groups of affiliated timber companies in Africa, the  “Dejia (deh-ja) Group,” has developed  its business model on bribery and other crimes.  The report alleges the Group has continuously broken the most fundamental forest laws, turned timber trade regulations upside-down, and diverted millions in unpaid taxes from the governments of Gabon and the Republic of Congo.

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