Sanctions: An update on navigating current international changes and trends


IBA Japan Seminar

There has been a substantial amount of political activity this year which has resulted in the US authorities imposing additional sanctions in relation to Russia, Iran and China; this is likely to have a wide ranging impact, including on many financial institutions. The details are:

  • 38 Russian businesses and individuals were added to the US OFAC Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list (April 2018)
  • The US has stated it will reimpose sanctions, including secondary sanctions, following their withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal: the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Despite this, the other p5+1  countries have indicated they plan to continue to trade with Iran under the Treaty’s provision.
  • The US  Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security gave a rarely observed Denial Order to a major Chinese telecoms company (ZTE) but President Trump rather confusingly has also indicated that he is working to help ZTE get back into business and prevent job losses in China

The full ramifications for this substantial upsurge in sanctions activity is still unravelling, and this seminar will examine the likely impact on the financial sector, and the potential issues that firms should look out for to avoid possible problems from US regulatory authorities. The themes that will be discussed include:

  • The potential fallout on industry as a result of sanctions being used increasingly as a geopolitical tool, especially the ‘contagion’ impact of interacting with a US business,  public institution or via US dollar funding.
  • Russia: recent developments and their impact on sanctions compliance, and potential counter-measures by Russia
  • The impact of diverging policies being pursued by the US and the other P5+1 countries (i.e. including EU, UK, China and Russia).
  • ZTE Denial Order: key factors and lessons learnt

William Robinson

William is a disputes partner at Freshfields’ Hong Kong practice, where he has been based since 2013. He specializes in multi-jurisdictional disputes, investigations and regulatory issues.

William is a commercial litigator with extensive experience in competition litigation and investigations work, with a focus on sanctions and cartel investigations. He works on complex regulatory disputes with clients from a wide range of sectors, including: consumer goods, technology, private equity and transport. Beyond his work in commercial disputes, William also addresses risk management issues in his practice, including: antitrust investigations and litigation, corporate crises and investigations, anti-bribery and corruption issues. The majority of his work involves coordinating litigation and regulatory strategies across various regions including North America, Europe and Asia.

William studied and taught law at the University of Durham, and from 1995 to 1999 worked for Judge Sir David Edward at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. He is a qualified lawyer in England, Wales and Hong Kong.

Alexander Dmitrenko

Alexander is a senior associate within Freshfields’ global investigations practice, based in Tokyo. He specialises in sanctions and other regulatory matters, with a particular emphasis on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and UK Bribery Act, in recent months has been leading on projects targeting sanctions on Russia and Iran.

Alexander has substantial experience of advising many companies and financial institutions on compliance-related issues such as: building and enhancing compliance programs, transactional due diligence as well as internal and regulatory investigations. He also focuses on other regulatory areas, including anti-money laundering, data protection, cyber security, human rights and modern slavery.  He has represented clients in complex international disputes (litigations, investigations and arbitrations), especially involving Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and other CIS and Eastern European jurisdictions.

Alexander is qualified in the Russian Federation, New York State, as a solicitor in England & Wales and is registered as Gaikokuho-Jimu-Bengoshi with the Daini Tokyo Bar Association.  Alexander speaks English, French, Russian, Ukrainian and Japanese.

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