House Bill Would Enhance U.S. States’ Iran Sanctions Authority

On July 26, 2017, a bill was introduced in the House that would bolster U.S. states’ authority to impose sanctions on parties that engage in certain business with or in Iran. The State Sanctions Against Iranian Terrorism Act, H.R. 3425, would “amend the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 to secure the authority of State and local governments to adopt and enforce measures restricting investment in business enterprises in Iran, and for other purposes.” Among other measures, the House Bill would expand U.S. states’ authority to impose indirect Iran sanctions by excluding or debarring from state procurement and investments parties that do business in or with Iran, where… Read More

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House Bill Would Establish National Strategy for Combating Terrorism Financing

On July 20, 2017, Representative Ted Budd (R-NC) introduced in the House of Representatives H.R. 3321, the “National Strategy for Combating Terrorist, Underground, and Other Illicit Financing Act.” The purpose of H.R. 3321 is to “require the establishment of a national strategy for combating the financing of terrorism and related financial crimes, and for other purposes.” As summarized by the House Financial Services Committee, which will meet to markup the bill on July 25, 2017, H.R. 3321 would among other measures “require the President, acting through the Treasury Secretary, to develop and publish a whole-of-government strategy to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.” The text of H.R. 3321 is available here.  ****  For more information about… Read More

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World Bank Accountability Act of 2017

World Bank Accountability Act of 2017 Would Condition Certain U.S. Appropriations on World Bank’s Anti-Corruption and Counter-Violent Extremism Performance and Authorize Trump Administration’s Request to Reduce Funding to IDA  On July 25, 2017, the House Financial Services Committee will meet to markup H.R. 3326, the “World Bank Accountability Act of 2017.” H.R. 3326 was introduced in the House on July 20, 2017 by Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY), who is a member of the House Financial Services Committee. To date, the bill has no co-sponsors. The stated purpose of the World Bank Accountability Act of 2017 is to “increase accountability, combat corruption, and strengthen management effectiveness at the World Bank.” Among other… Read More

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Maryland Banking Regulation: Commercial Bank Directors State Residency

Commercial banks in Maryland will soon have an added degree of latitude in selecting their directors. On April 18, 2017, Governor Hogan approved Maryland Senate Bill 206, Financial Institutions – Qualifications of Directors of Commercial Banks – Residency (the “Amendment”). The Amendment, which repeals and reenacts, with amendments, Section 3-403 of the Maryland Code, Financial Institutions Article, provides that “[a]t least 30% of the directors of a commercial bank shall be residents of this State.” The Amendment, which takes effect on October 1, 2017, will decrease, as of its effective date, the percentage of commercial bank directors that must be residents of Maryland. Current law requires that a “majority” of commercial bank directors be… Read More

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State-Owned Enterprises and Anti-Corruption Enforcement

Anti-Corruption Enforcement and State-Owned Enterprises: Understand Unique Risks and Incentivize Compliance State-owned enterprises (SOEs, including sovereign wealth funds) are prominent players in international business. Given their ownership, SOEs have garnered scrutiny for their lack of transparency and heightened anti-corruption and anti-money laundering risk, as have individual SOE executives and other personnel who qualify as Politically Exposed Persons. In connection with commercial activities, SOEs are not protected in most cases by sovereign immunity. Thus, SOEs can, like their privately-owned counterparts, be subject to foreign legal processes. Given the greater scrutiny around SOEs and some of the high profile enforcement actions involving them directly or indirectly (for example, the 1MDB case), anti-corruption… Read More

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China’s One Belt One Road Could Disrupt U.S. Legal Dominance

How China's One Belt One Road Will Open Trade Routes and Raise Barriers to U.S. Law Source: The Economist On May 14, 2017, President Xi Jinping of China outlined plans to fund China's One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. If successful, OBOR would alter the global trade landscape and, secondarily, likely curtail the global reach of U.S. law. The potential legal effects of the OBOR and other non-U.S. dollar- and Bretton Woods system-centric trade and finance initiatives were discussed in an earlier MassPoint Occasional Note. Given President Xi's fresh announcement of concrete plans to carry forward the OBOR project, MassPoint's earlier discussion of the project's potential curtailment of the global reach of… Read More Continue Reading

After Election 2016: 5 Legal and Business Issues to Watch in 2017

Download Infographic The dismantling of Obama-era laws and regulations, broader deregulation, and economic and political nationalism were and remain themes of the 2016 U.S. Election and presidential transition period. Donald Trump and members of the incoming Republican-controlled Congress have singled out for repeal or significant modification the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, along with trade, immigration, foreign affairs, and environmental laws, regulations, and policies. If taken, these actions will not only effect legal changes in specific areas, they will create legal and policy voids that may be filled by U.S. states and localities, foreign governments and multilateral and non-governmental organizations,… Read More Continue Reading