The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS” or the “Committee”) is a U.S. government interagency committee that has the authority to review investments that provide a foreign person with control or, in some cases, certain non-controlling rights over a U.S. business and evaluate the extent to which such transactions raise national security concerns.  For decades following the establishment of CFIUS, the Committee largely only reviewed transactions that parties proactively submitted to CFIUS.  This primarily was due to CFIUS’s limited resources and dedication of such resources to reviewing transactions notified to CFIUS.  In 2018, Congress passed the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (“FIRRMA”), which, among other things, provided CFIUS with additional resources to identify transactions that: (1) could be within the jurisdiction of CFIUS, (2) potentially raise national security concerns, and (3) were not notified to CFIUS (often referred to as “non-notified transactions”). Continue Reading A Look Behind the CFIUS Non-Notified Process Curtain; How it Works and How to Handle Outreach From CFIUS

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) published a final rule (the “Final Rule”) imposing export controls on additional emerging technologies pursuant to the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 (“ECRA”).[1]  We previously wrote about the process to identify and impose export controls on emerging and foundational technologies under the ECRA, as well as the steps taken in furtherance of that process, here and here. Continue Reading New Biotech Export Controls Expand CFIUS Mandatory Notification Requirements

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Let’s use a typical U.S. sponsored private equity fund as an example.  In this example, the limited partnership (“Fund”) is registered in the Cayman Islands and managed by a U.S.-based investment firm through a U.S.-based general partner (“GP”) entity and U.S. citizens in New York making investment decisions. Continue Reading Is Your U.S. Sponsored Private Equity Fund a Foreign Person for CFIUS Purposes?

On September 21, 2021, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC): (i) issued an updated advisory on potential sanctions risks for facilitating ransomware payments; and (ii) designated SUEX OTC, S.R.O. (SUEX), a virtual currency exchange, on the list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) for its role in facilitating financial transactions for ransomware actors.[1]  These actions demonstrate the U.S. government’s increasing focus on virtual currencies as a key means of facilitating ransomware payments and related money laundering, as well as OFAC’s commitment to combating ransomware attacks and other malicious cyber activities. Continue Reading OFAC Updates Ransomware Advisory and Sanctions Virtual Currency Exchange

Magnachip Semiconductor Corporation (“Magnachip”), a South Korea-based semiconductor company, recently disclosed that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS” or the “Committee”) threatened to recommend that President Biden exercise his authority to block a Chinese private equity firm’s acquisition of Magnachip due to unresolvable national security concerns.  Given Magnachip’s very limited nexus to the United States, this case demonstrates the willingness of CFIUS to stretch its jurisdictional arms, especially when it comes to transactions implicating sensitive sectors. Continue Reading CFIUS Threatens to Block Magnachip Deal; Shows Willingness to Interpret its Jurisdiction Broadly

The “Supplemental Arrangement Concerning Mutual Enforcement of Arbitral Awards between the Mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region” was signed on November 27, 2020 and entered into force partially on the same day and partially on May 19, 2021.

Significantly, the Supplemental Arrangement modifies and expands the existing “Arrangement Concerning Mutual Enforcement of Arbitral Awards between the Mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region”, which entered into force on February 1, 2000.  The modifications simplify enforcement proceedings and enhance judicial support to parties subsequent to arbitration proceedings bridging Mainland China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, including by providing for:

  • Simultaneous enforcement of arbitral awards in Hong Kong and Mainland China;
  • Extension of the scope of the Enforcement Arrangement to cover also the recognition of arbitral awards;
  • The ability for parties to arbitration proceedings with a seat in one of the two jurisdictions to apply to the courts of the other for interim measures after the rendering of an arbitral award;
  • Enforcement of all arbitral awards having a seat in Hong Kong in Mainland China and vice versa, regardless of the administering arbitration institution.

This Alert Memorandum analyzes and summarizes the most prominent elements of the Supplemental Arrangement which are likely to be of significance to practitioners and users of arbitration involving Mainland China and Hong Kong.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) recently released its 2020 annual report, which provides information and statistics regarding transactions reviewed by CFIUS in 2020.[1]  For the first time, the 2020 annual report also includes information regarding so-called non-notified transactions identified and reviewed by CFIUS. Continue Reading CFIUS Releases 2020 Annual Report

On 20 July 2021, the UK Government announced that the National Security and Investment Act 2021, which was passed on 29 April 2021, will come into force on 4 January 2022. This new regime for review of investments on national security grounds will be among the most wide-ranging in the world. It represents the most significant change in the UK regulatory environment since the Government ceded the power to approve or prohibit mergers on competition grounds to an independent agency in 2002.

Please click here to read the full alert memorandum.

While large financial institutions have traditionally been hesitant to enter new areas of financial products, particularly virtual assets, many more banks and companies have expressed interest in virtual currencies as cryptocurrency has become increasingly mainstream.  Given the use of such services by terrorist groups, it is important for banks and other financial institutions to consider evolving dynamics in this area.  On the one hand, one of the widely described benefits of virtual currency is the transparency and public nature of transactions since they are typically recorded in a publicly accessible blockchain, which could facilitate policing and enforcement against illicit activity.  At the same time, the relevant legal framework for combating terrorist funding creates potential areas of liability, including, in particular under the Anti-Terrorism Act (“ATA”) and the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (“JASTA”).  These considerations are important for companies and banks that provide services related to virtual currency, but also are relevant to any company that could be the target of ransomware attacks since attackers may be sanctioned entities or have ties to terrorism and as a matter of practice demand that the ransom payment be made in virtual currency.

Continue Reading Cryptocurrency and Other New Forms of Financial Technology: Potential Terrorist Financing Concerns and Liability

On June 10, 2021, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China adopted the “Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law,” which represents the Chinese government’s most recent and direct response to U.S. and EU sanctions that have been imposed on China during the last year.  The law, which took immediate effect, authorizes the Chinese government to take certain actions when foreign countries are deemed to breach international laws or basic norms of international relations, seek to contain or suppress China’s interest under pretext or using their domestic laws, adopt restrictive measures against Chinese citizens or organizations on a discriminatory basis, or interfere with China’s domestic affairs.  Given how broadly a number of the provisions are worded, it remains to be seen how the Chinese government will implement and enforce the law. Continue Reading China Passes “Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law”