A New Latitude: Charting a Course for Cuba

Today President Barack Obama made a stunning speech announcing steps the United States will take to reduce U.S. sanctions against Cuba. The announcement followed the release of two U.S. citizens held by the Cuban government. Alan Gross was detained by Cuban authorities in 2009 while working as a USAID subcontractor. Separately, a U.S. intelligence officer, not named in the announcement but described by the President as “one of the most important” U.S. intelligence agents in Cuba, had been imprisoned in Cuba for nearly two decades.

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Drop Your Weapons: The United States Restricts Military Exports to Venezuela

The U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has amended the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to restrict exports to Venezuela of certain items intended for “a military end use or end user.”  These changes complement a pre-existing U.S. arms embargo against Venezuela – in place since 2006 – that was imposed because of Venezuela’s failure to cooperate on counterterrorism initiatives.

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Attacking the Money-Laundering Problem in Mexico

According to the Los Angeles Times, Mexican officials have estimated the amount of laundered money in the Mexican economy at $50 billion annually—three percent of the legitimate Mexican economy.  The CIA World Fact Book labels Mexico as a “major drug-producing and transit nation”, as well as a “significant money-laundering center”.  Illicit cash flows from cartels have affected nearly every corner of the Mexican economy.

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The Secret To Starting a Cross-Border Investigation

They come without notice and under the cover of night.  They are sometimes in unmarked envelopes or conveyed through whispered phones calls and very often from your very own employees.  They are allegations of corruption, fraud and criminal conduct.

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Beyond the Checklist: Seven Keys to Effective Trade Due Diligence

Anti-corruption due diligence can be vexing even in the best of conditions; it is often made more complicated by time and business pressures that arise in the context of a merger or acquisition or an urgent sales opportunity.  Anti-corruption compliance is always fact-intensive, and due diligence is no exception, requiring many judgment calls about what issues to prioritize and how to deploy limited resources.  This article aims to provide a basic outline of seven key steps to consider in anti-corruption due diligence.

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Sovereign Litigation in Latin America: Top Five Issues To Think of When Doing Business With a Latin American Country

We are in the soup exclaimed, federal judge Thomas Griesa, referring to Argentina allegedly defaulting on its sovereign bonds.  And so we are.

According to bondholders, on July 30 of 2014, Argentina defaulted on its sovereign debt for the eighth time in its history. That a developing nation is accused of defaulting on its international debt might not warrant legal headlines, but in this case the “soup” was precipitated by a court order from Judge Griesa, of the Southern District of New York.  Judge Griesa is presiding over litigation brought by Argentina’s “hold-out” bondholders, including hedge funds who refused to restructure their bonds after Argentina’s previous bond default in 2001, and chose instead to pursue judicial relief.

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Groundbreaking Cross-border Airport Terminal Linking Tijuana to San Diego Breaks Ground

Sheppard Mullin client, Otay Tijuana Venture, announced this week that a cross-border pedestrian bridge linking San Diego with Tijuana’s A.L. Rodríguez International airport will be set to open next year. The project, which began in 2008 when Otay Tijuana Venture purchased the land in Otay Mesa, involved Presidential permits in both countries as well as  unique Public Private Partnerships with U.S. and Mexican customs and immigration authorities.  It is the first project to connect a U.S. facility with a foreign air terminal.

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Shedding Light on CFIUS: Appeals Court Holds That CFIUS Review Lacks Constitutional Due Process

In a stunning ruling issued on July 15, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”) and the subsequent unwinding of the investment deprived the foreign investor of due process under the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Ralls Corp. v. Comm. on Foreign Investment in the United States, No. 12-cv-01513 (D.C. Cir. Jul. 15, 2014) (a copy of the opinion is here).  If upheld, the ruling may require fundamental changes in how CFIUS conducts its reviews and may enhance foreign investors’ ability to influence or challenge the outcome of a review.

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Film Tax Incentives in Latin America

Distribution of audiovisual content is blooming at a very fast pace, and while the consumer is still demanding for more new content, producers are struggling with this new competitive era. While appetite for content is at its highest peak, and consumer is getting original content from distributors such as Free-TV networks, basic and premium cable, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, and other new competitors, it is hard to breakeven in the television and motion picture industry (most productions are unable to recoup their investment).

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