May 2016 Who’s Who Legal has recognized Hdeel Abdelhady for Corporate: M&A and Governance, in its 2016 listing of the world’s leading lawyers. Who’s Who Legal is a global listing of top lawyers who are selected for inclusion by surveying private practitioners,…
It has been reported that Muhammad Ali’s final resting place is marked with a gravestone that bears only his name. “In keeping with [the] Muslim tradition” of simple funerary practices, “there are no dates or loving tributes.” This is most appropriate, as Muhammad Ali needs no special inscriptions or tributes. The name he chose for himself as a young man is the epitaph that describes him best. “Worthy of all praises, most high.”
The enforcement of OFAC-administered sanctions by a state agency—even against banks by a banking regulator operating in a dual banking system—raises fundamental constitutional and other legal questions. Chief among them is the overarching question of whether U.S. states have authority to directly or effectively enforce OFAC-administered sanctions, particularly independently and prior to enforcement by competent federal authorities—namely OFAC. This question and some of the legal issues and policy and practical considerations appertaining to it are discussed in detail in a forthcoming publication. This document provides a summary preview of some of the key legal issues discussed in that publication. Additional summary previews may be provided separately.
Traditionally businesses have looked to contractual terms, industry groups, legislatures, regulators and other conventional authorities to identify and manage commercial, legal, and compliance requirements and risks. In today’s interconnected, information rich, and reputation-conscious business world, this model is outdated and insufficient. It creates blind spots that can expose businesses to commercial, legal, and compliance risks from sources that traditional models ignore, misunderstand, or underestimate. In the same ways that the internet and social media have enabled non- “establishment” actors to communicate and amplify political messages, these and other tools of the information/new media age have enabled non-traditional actors to effectively influence business conduct standards. As a result, constituencies and issues that not so long ago were marginal or viewed as niche or inconsequential are now relevant, and for some businesses and industries they are integral.
The 2013 sale of American pork producer and processer Smithfield Foods to China’s Shuanghui International aroused concern among some U.S. lawmakers. The $4.7 billion deal ($7.1 billion including debt), was and remains the largest acquisition of a U.S. business by a Chinese entity. This year, some U.S. lawmakers are again raising concerns about a Chinese firm’s acquisition of an agricultural company: the proposed $43 billion acquisition by state-owned China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina) of Syngetna AG , the Swiss agrochemicals company that does substantial business in the United States. If completed, the Syngenta deal would “transform ChemChina into the world’s biggest supplier of pesticides and agrochemicals.”With Chinese buyers, record-setting deals, and industry-leading acquisition targets in the mix, the Smithfield and Syngenta transactions provide the ingredients needed to stir media interest and controversy about foreign investment in and affecting the United States. Beyond deal optics, a more interesting, strategically-oriented, and potentially consequential policy and public discourse about foreign investment in U.S. agriculture is emerging in the United States, at least in some quarters
Like some emerging economy countries, some EMEs that have had prior success and are financially strong are, at the enterprise level, in transitional phases. These EMEs:(1) are facing changing global and local economic and operating conditions; (2) have newfound global visibility that invites greater public scrutiny; (3) have strategic, next level goals; and, (4) must navigate established and evolving standards of business conduct that are being set and enforced by diverse external constituencies and growing more material to the bottom line. To adapt to changing conditions and advance their objectives efficiently—i.e., by proactively limiting reputational, commercial, legal and other risks and costs and capitalizing on opportunities that favor well-governed enterprises—these EMEs need not just strong governance, but entrepreneurial governance.
Among those added to the SSIL on July 30 are the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and other entities identified by OFAC as being owned 50% or more by Russian state development bank Vnesheconombank (VEB). VEB itself was added to the SSIL on July 16, 2014, the same day on which OFAC first issued Directive 1, the relevant financial services sanctions implementing measure discussed in detail below (as applicable to the VEB-owned entitles and generally). The July 30 action is significant more for its likely practical impact, rather than its immediate legal meaning. This is so because the relevant VEB-owned entities, while not previously listed on the SSIL, have nevertheless been subject to Sectoral Sanctions since July 16, 2014.[iii] The VEB’s sanctioned status as of July 16, 2014 was imputed to its owned entities on the same day by operation of OFAC’s “50% Rule,” which attaches to entities owned 50% or more by one or more SSIL entities (individually or in the aggregate) the sanctions status of their owner(s), even if such owned entities are not separately listed on the SSIL. The 50% Rule significantly expands the potential scope of Sectoral Sanctions and corresponding compliance obligations. Effectively, the 50% Rule requires parties to determine, at every link in the ownership chain (vertically and horizontally), whether one or more SSIL entities (alone or in the aggregate) directly or indirectly owns 50% or more of a relevant entity. This can be particularly burdensome where corporate structures are complex and/or opaque.
Enforcement authorities in the US and Asia reportedly are investigating financial institutions for potentially corrupt employment and business relationships with family members of government officials. The investigations underscore policy links between anti-corruption and anti-money laundering regimes where dealings with Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) are involved. This article, published by Hdeel Abdelhady in Butterworths Journal of Banking and Financial Law, briefly discusses the pending investigations and the anti-corruption-AML policy nexus, and suggests, with respect to PEPs and more generally, that financial institutions facilitate fluidity in their compliance programs to allow for the sharing of information and adaptation of compliance protocols across (sometimes impermeable) internal functional and disciplinary lines.
Hdeel Abdelhady was a guest on WVON Radio Chicago's African Diaspora Today. She and fellow guest Dr. John Mbaku of the Brookings Institution took part in an engaging discussion of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the Egyptian and Ethiopian positions, and related issues.
Ultimately, the success of Egypt's political transition will be measured not at the ballot box, but at the breadlines. Egypt needs a national economic vision to transform its political aspirations into reality. But first the country must undergo a national mindset revolution. Egyptians must ask themselves and their leaders the clichéd question: where do they see themselves in the next five, 15, or 50 years? Will Egypt remain a foreign aid recipient whose fortunes twist in unpredictable political winds? Will its economic path continue to be paved with off-the-rack structural adjustments thought up in the halls of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund? Will Egyptians continue to accept -- and expect -- economic mediocrity? The answers, and Egypt's future, will depend on the health of the national mindset.