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The EU has proposed reforms to its Wire Transfer Regulations which will increase “Know Your Customer” (KYC) requirements under EU anti-money laundering (AML) laws. The reforms are expected to be passed and come into force later this year. A link to a copy of the latest publicly available draft of the proposed amended Regulation is set out below. Summary Essentially the reforms will impose new obligations on payment service providers (PSP) acting on behalf of the recipient or “payee” of –Read More–

Section 33 of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (Cap. 486) (the “PDPO”) prohibits the transfer of personal data to places outside of Hong Kong unless certain conditions are met, but it is not currently in force and there is still no indication as to when it will be brought in to force. However, recently (29 December 2014) the Hong Kong Privacy Commissioner issued its “Guidance on Personal Data Protection in Cross-border Data Transfer” which is supposed to serve as a –Read More–

On 26 January 2015, the Export Control Organisation (“ECO”) of the UK’s Department of Innovation & Skills (“BIS”) issued a reminder that the deadline for holders of Open General and Open Individual Export Licences to file the first annual report of activity under certain of these open licenses is the end of January 2015. Holders of these open licenses will no doubt already be aware of the reporting requirement, which was mandated under the UK’s Strategic Export Control Transparency Initiative –Read More–

On Thursday 29 January at 2pm EST, Bryan Cave will be running an FCPA enforcement webinar. The webinar will include a short primer on the FCPA before discussing enforcement trends over the past year and how they affect your compliance programme. Further details including panelists and sign up details can be found by following this link.  

The US Congress has passed and President Obama is expected to sign the “Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014” (“the Act”), which gives the President authority to impose certain secondary sanctions on non-US persons that make “significant” investments in special Russian crude oil projects. In addition, the President is authorized to impose a specified sanction on foreign financial institutions that are determined to have knowingly engaged in significant transactions involving certain defense and energy-related transactions or facilitated certain transactions for any Russian person that is a –Read More–

There has been substantial debate and some confusion over how you identify when a restriction is a restriction ‘by object’ or ‘by effect’ under Article 101 and 102 TFEU. This debate follows on from the Commission’s recently publishing a revised De Minimis notice and certain policy papers in June 2014 and the recent European Court of justice case in Groupement Des Cartes Bancaires (“GCB case”). We reported on the De Minimis notice and a list of restrictions ‘by object’ in –Read More–

On 27 November 2014, the CMA laid out its hit list of likely sectors and priorities for investigation in 2015. The CMA, as the main UK competition watchdog and consumer champion, has a mandate to enforce effective competition in markets in the interest of consumers. It has a wide discretion in dictating its own agenda. The list of 6 priorities the CMA has identified in its Strategic Assessment are: Online and the digital economy (more on this below) Technology and –Read More–

9 December 2014 Webinar: Comparative review of US and EU Antitrust/Competition law on the interface between IPR and competition law including their approach to Standard Essential Patents. The exclusive rights conferred by Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) are not absolute. In certain cases the enforcement of IPRs can undermine or infringe other rights and laws such as antitrust/competition law. The challenge for US & EU antitrust/competition regulators is striking the right balance between fostering innovation and stimulating free and effective competition. –Read More–

On 10 November 2014, the EU Council of Ministers formally adopted the Commission’s Directive on antitrust damages. The Directive will be formally signed by the EU Parliament at the end of November, starting a two year countdown in which each EU Member State must adopt the Directive into their own national legislation. The Directive aims to raise and standardise many aspects of antitrust or competition litigation throughout the EU, meaning the ability of victims of anti-competitive behaviour to claim compensation –Read More–

Difficulties often manifest themselves in transferring data from the ‘safe’ EU to the ‘unsafe’ US. Difficulties also exist with US law enforcement authority requests for access to such data, which is often not permitted under EU law. Jana Fuchs, an Associate with Bryan Cave LLP, examines the problem and potential solutions. When a Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) is finally able to check the box to ‘implement sufficient EU data protection adequacy measures for data transfers,’ nerves are often frayed and a level of frustration remains. For global companies, the path to centralise data management (e.g., –Read More–

The issue of night work is topical in France since changes in the labor market and the economy have led to a doubling of the number of employees working at night over the past two decades, concerning about 3.5 million workers, or one employee out of seven. The issue of night work has recently crystallized for certain brands like Monoprix, Carrefour City, Sephora … The Law defines night work as “all work performed between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.” (Article –Read More–

On 21 October 2008, in a co-ordinated effort with national competition authorities, the European Commission conducted dawn raids at the premises of a number of smart card chips producers across various EU Member States. The Commission was investigating possible violations of EC Treaty rules which prohibit cartels and anti-competitive conduct such as price fixing, customer allocation and the exchange of commercially sensitive information. Some six years later, on 3 September 2014, the European Commission rendered its decision, finding four companies –Read More–

In a speech on 11 September 2014, Alex Chisholm, Chief Executive of the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) emphasised the importance of maintaining strict competition based merger controls to boost business confidence and incentivise investment in the UK economy. This subject is topical given the increasing attempts to politicise UK merger control in recent years. Often sensitive issues like job losses and factory closures mean there is intense public and media scrutiny during takeovers. After the Kraft/Cadbury takeover in –Read More–

On 10 September 2014, Jean-Claude Juncker, the President-elect of the next EU Commission, appointed Margrethe Vestager as the new EU Competition Commissioner. If Juncker’s Commission is approved by the European Parliament in October, the new Commission will take effect in November. Ms Vestager was until this role, the Deputy Prime Minister of Denmark representing the Danish Social Liberal Party in the coalition headed by Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt (who herself received greater international recognition when famously posing for a ‘selfie’ –Read More–

Along with the recent wave of EU Ukraine-related and Russian restrictions described in our August 1, 2014 Bulletin, the EU has amended its earlier regulation restricting imports into the EU of goods originating in Crimea and Sevastopol to add restrictions on certain investments and exports to those areas. The earlier Council Regulation 692/2014 (June 24, 2014) prohibited the import into the EU of goods originating in Crimea or Sevastopol…. To read the full bulletin prepared by Anita Esslinger, please follow –Read More–

Despite the geopolitical turmoil that has affected the east of the country nothing should mask the highly significant step Ukraine took on 27 June 2014 when it signed the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) sections of its controversial Association Agreement with the European Union (the Association Agreement). The political section of the Agreement was signed on 21st March earlier this year. The Association Agreement will hopefully put Ukraine on the path to eventual EU membership bringing with it –Read More–

On 9th July the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued a call for inputs on the wholesale financial sector and related industries such as corporate banking. This call for inputs marks the first step in the FCA’s review with the possibility of a full market study if warranted to be launched early next year. This news is of significance to business in this sector as representations made now to the FCA may shape the FCA’s stance in any forthcoming market study. –Read More–

On 26 June 2014, Ofgem announced that it had formally referred the UK energy market to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for a full market investigation under the Enterprise Act 2002. This announcement followed a provisional decision by Ofgem to refer the market back in March. High energy prices, poor customer service standards as well as concerns about future investment in the sector will be the focus of an 18 month Market Investigation enquiry by an independent panel of –Read More–

With corporate transparency high on the international agenda, global Anti-Money Laundering (“AML”)  standards have been strengthened by the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”) and the United Nations  Convention against Corruption. Despite this, people continue to be able to launder and hide proceeds of  crime and corruption around the world. Illegitimate proceeds are often concealed using shell or holding companies, foundations and trusts. European Union (“EU”) financial centres continue to attract dirty money, posing risk to the stability, integrity and reputation –Read More–

The new UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently issued Provisional Findings in its Payday Lending Market Investigation, concluding that payday loan customers in the UK appear to be paying too much for their loans as a result of a lack of price competition. The CMA will be suggesting measures to increase competition and transparency, which will work alongside changes being made by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) aimed at strengthening consumer protection for such borrowers, many of whom can –Read More–