Background - Practices (Details)

Regulatory & Enforcement

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Drawing on decades of experience as former regulators and prosecutors, our attorneys provide day-to-day regulatory counseling to a range of financial services companies, in an industry which is both heavily regulated and faces constant disruption from emerging technology. We seamlessly combine the experience of former prosecutors and other white-collar authorities with the industry-specific knowledge of former regulators to provide innovative, effective responses to civil and criminal investigations by regulators and in affirmative and defensive litigation between private parties in this space. We also provide counseling to clients on cybersecurity, data privacy, employment, intellectual property, and other issues. Our lawyers closely track developments in FinTech and blockchain technologies, emerging payments models, and the dynamic areas of economic sanctions, anti-money laundering (AML), and anti-bribery/anti-corruption regulation.

Anti-Bribery/Anti-Corruption

We represent financial services companies in designing required programs for compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and UK Bribery Act, and in civil and criminal enforcement investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Our team blends career defense lawyers with former prosecutors from the agencies responsible for enforcing the FCPA—the DOJ’s Criminal Fraud Section and the SEC’s Enforcement Division—to custom-tailor the ideal team for each anti-corruption matter. Among our partners are former supervisors and prosecutors at both the SEC and DOJ, including an Assistant Chief of DOJ’s Criminal Fraud Section, a Senior Counsel and Branch Chief in the SEC’s Enforcement Division, and a number of former U.S. Attorneys and Assistant U.S. Attorneys at top offices around the country.

Anti-Money Laundering

Our team advises banks, broker-dealers, and other financial institutions on their compliance with the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), related laws of federal banking agencies and securities regulators, state AML and money transmitter laws, and European Union AML directives and their implementing authorities in EU member states. This work encompasses both regulatory counseling and representation in civil and criminal enforcement proceedings by a variety of regulators, including FinCEN, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), the SEC, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and equivalent foreign regulators. Our team includes the former Chief Counsel of FinCEN, a senior former regulator at the SEC, and former senior prosecutors from the United States Attorney’s Offices for the Southern District of New York and the Eastern District of New York.

Commodity Futures

For participants in commodity futures markets—including futures commission merchants, introducing brokers in commodities, commodity pool operators, and commodity trading advisors—we advise on compliance with rules administered by the CFTC and in investing in (or engaging with) entities subject to CFTC jurisdiction. We also represent these entities in civil and criminal enforcement by the CFTC and DOJ.

Economic Sanctions

We counsel banks, broker-dealers, and other financial institutions and financial services companies on compliance with economic sanctions laws administered by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) in the United Kingdom, and comparable authorities elsewhere in the EU and Asia. This includes regulatory counseling and the design and implementation of sanctions compliance programs, plus representation in civil and criminal sanctions enforcement proceedings. Our work in the United Kingdom includes advising international businesses, traders, ship owners, charterers, insurers, financial institutions, and energy companies on U.K.-specific and cross-border sanctions involving national and international trade and financial sanctions. Our team includes several OFAC veterans, including former counsel to OFAC and former OFAC licensing and enforcement officers; the former head of sanctions advisory for the Americas of one of the largest banks in the world; and a 20-year veteran of the intersection of EU and UK sanctions with the shipping and insurance industries. We understand not only what regulators expect but also the practical challenges that financial institutions face in designing and administering sanctions compliance programs.

Investment Companies/Investment Advisors

Our lawyers advise investment companies and investment advisors on their compliance with the

Investment Company Act of 1940, the Securities Act of 1933 and Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and related regulations and guidance administered by the SEC and (for investment advisers) state regulators. We represent these companies in civil and criminal enforcement proceedings before these regulators and the DOJ.

Payments

We advise companies on compliance with rules relating to credit cards, prepaid cards, debit cards, and rewards programs, as well as payment processing, including Bank Secrecy and Fair Credit Reporting Act rules, state money transmission rules, and in related enforcement. Our team is particularly adept with FinTech and emerging payments solutions.

Securities Regulatory Enforcement and Financial Crimes & White Collar Investigations

Our White Collar & Regulatory Enforcement practice has represented many public and private companies, their Boards of Directors and senior management, and their employees and executives at all varieties of financial institutions in regulatory investigations and enforcement proceedings. In addition, we have substantial experience representing entities and individuals in criminal investigations and proceedings in complex financial matters. We have represented current and former employees/officers/executives of global banks in investigations regarding:

  • The foreign currency exchange (FX) spot market probes, the multifaceted regulations where seven regulators fined seven major banks a total of approximately $10.3 billion for manipulating the foreign exchange markets.
  • Internal investigations and related criminal and regulatory inquiries by the DOJ, SEC, and CFTC into potential manipulation of the Volatility Index Exchange (VIX).
  • Internal and SEC investigations in the digital asset space.
  • Internal investigations and related criminal and regulatory inquiries by the DOJ, CFTC, Financial Conduct Authority, and the Serious Fraud Office into LIBOR interest rate benchmark setting practices and derivatives trading affected by the potential manipulation of rate setting.
  • ISDAFIX regulatory inquiries by the DOJ, SEC, CFTC, and NYDFS into potential manipulation of the financial derivatives market.
  • Internal investigations and related criminal and regulatory inquiries by the DOJ, SEC, CFTC, and NYDFS into potential manipulation of the $12.7 trillion U.S. Treasury market.
  • High-profile insider trading matters being investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by U.S. Attorney’s offices.
  • Internal investigations (and a related antitrust inquiry) by the DOJ regarding compensation practices.

Representative Experience:

  • Representing senior executives, officers, and employees of global banks in a variety of criminal and regulatory enforcement matters involving many varied investigations (as described above).
  • Performing internal investigations relating to allegations of accounting fraud at an international subsidiary of a Fortune 500 company.
  • Successfully representing an Asian bank in DOJ’s “1MDB” investigation of alleged embezzlement and money laundering of $4 billion from the state investment fund of Malaysia, resulting in no prosecution or other action taken.
  • Representing the former head of FX trading at a well-respected bank in connection with a federal criminal indictment in the Eastern District of New York.
  • Representing a global financial institution in responding to grand jury investigation related to certain accounts as part of the highly publicized “Panama Papers” cases.
  • Advising a broker-dealer in responding to an investigation by OFAC relating to transactions in Iran, Syria, Cuba, and North Korea.
  • Representing an industry-leading digital assets company in DOJ criminal money laundering and BSA investigations, resulting in no action taken against the financial institution or its officers.
  • Representing the chief BSA/AML officer of a leading U.S. regional bank in a DOJ criminal BSA investigation, resulting in no action taken against that officer despite substantial penalties imposed against the institution.
  • Advising a money transmitter and payments company in response to an SEC subpoena relating to its acceptance of a leading virtual currency.
  • Representing executives and compliance officers at an international financial institution in a DOJ investigation regarding the adequacy of an international bank’s AML controls and potential BSA violations.
  • Representing the managing director at a global investment bank in connection with a DOJ/SEC FCPA investigation in a high-profile “Sons and Daughters” Investigation.
  • Counseling an investment advisor firm and its CEO in connection to a SEC enforcement investigation regarding disclosure to fund investors.
  • Representing a prominent broker-dealer as lead counsel in FINRA enforcement investigation.
  • Counseling a registered investment adviser in connection with an SEC examination and industry-wide SEC investigation of Collateralized Debt Obligations.
  • Representing the former COO and founder of an online small business lender in connection with an investigation of alleged investment fraud involving the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California and the SEC.
  • Advising a senior officer of a publicly traded corporation in a securities fraud investigation by the DOJ and the SEC.
  • Representing two strategic financial analysts in connection with accounting fraud investigation in the SDNY and SEC and a related civil class action lawsuit.
  • Representing numerous clients in cartel investigations and related class action lawsuits regarding alleged price-fixing, and bid-rigging in the global resistors market.