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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations


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  • Treasury issues Cuba joint fact sheet

    Financial Crimes

    On August 11, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) released a fact sheet to emphasize the U.S. government’s commitment to promoting the ability of the Cuban people “to seek, receive, and impart information” through access to the internet. According to OFAC, “[t]he fact sheet highlights the most relevant exemptions and authorizations pertinent to supporting the Cuban people through the provision of certain internet and related telecommunications services.” The fact sheet also notes that though most transactions between persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction and Cuba are prohibited under the current embargo, the U.S. government permits certain activities to support the Cuban people’s access to information on the internet. The relevant OFAC regulations can be found in the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 515 and the relevant BIS regulations can be found in the Export Administration Regulations, 15 C.F.R. parts 730-774.

    Financial Crimes OFAC Department of Commerce Cuba

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  • Department of Commerce requests comments on new federal approach to consumer privacy rules

    Federal Issues

    On September 26, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) published a notice and request for comments on behalf of the Department of Commerce seeking input from stakeholders on ways to address consumer privacy concerns while protecting prosperity and innovation. The NTIA’s notice seeks comments on a proposed set of “user-centric privacy outcomes” to be addressed by future federal action on consumer privacy policy, along with a set of high-level goals that would establish the outlines for the direction these protections should take. Among other things, the NTIA also seeks feedback on ways to (i) increase harmonization across the regulatory landscape; (ii) ensure a balance between legal clarity, flexibility for innovation, and consumer privacy; (iii) prevent a fragmented regulatory approach by ensuring that any law is applied equally to all businesses not covered by sectoral laws; (iv) develop a regulatory framework “consistent with the international norms and frameworks”; and (v) provide the FTC with the necessary tools and resources to effectively enforce such rules.

    The NTIA’s proposal follows the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was implemented this past summer, and the recently enacted and amended California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (see previous InfoBytes coverage here). Comments on the notice must be received by October 26.

    Federal Issues Department of Commerce Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security GDPR FTC

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  • U.S. imposes denial of export privileges on Chinese telecom giant for violating prior settlement agreement

    Financial Crimes

    On April 16, the U.S. Department of Commerce imposed a denial of export privileges on Chinese telecommunications equipment corporation for violating a previous settlement relating to illegally shipping telecommunications equipment to Iran and North Korea. As previously covered in InfoBytes, in March 2017, the company agreed to a combined civil and criminal penalty and to forfeiture of over $1.1 billion for shipping the equipment, making false statements, and obstructing justice. As part of the settlement, the company agreed to a seven-year suspended denial of export privileges, which would trigger if the agreement was not met or if the company committee further violations.

    The Department imposed the denial after determining that the company made false statements during the 2016 settlement negotiations and again during the probationary period in 2017 related to disciplinary actions against senior employees that the company said it was taking or had already taken. The false statements covered up the fact that the company had actually failed to issue letters of reprimand and paid full bonuses to the employees who had engaged in illegal conduct.

    Financial Crimes Settlement Department of Commerce North Korea China International

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