I recently did an interview with Russia’s top news agency, RIA Novosti on Worldwide Freezing Orders (WFO). The interview was conducted by RIA correspondent Carl Shecker.
The interview was for the article In Global Tussle, Russia and Émigré US Socialite Battle for Fortune. As Carl puts it, the story centers on “a byzantine Russian corruption scandal intertwined with the opaque world of offshore finance.”
Yachts, Alpine Chalets and 19th Century Art.
Briefly, the case involves a New York real estate mogul and socialite Janna Bullock. The couple fled Russia five years ago amid allegations of stealing from the Russian government to support a jet-set lifestyle.
Proceeds from the ill-gotten gains were used to purchase a $20 million yacht, a posh London apartment and luxury hotels in Courchevel, France, a posh ski resort frequented by wealthy Russians. Continue Reading
A special guest post by Global Security Consultant and Political Risk Expert, Paul Crespo.
Getting kidnapped while traveling internationally is a real and present danger. Kidnap for ransom, versus kidnapping for political goals, is a fast-growing worldwide industry. The majority of these kidnappings are purely for financial gain and are seen simply as business transactions.
High Risk Countries
Countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia are obvious high-risk locations for kidnappings. There is however an ever growing kidnap risk to business executives traveling to countries such as Colombia, the Philippines, Mexico, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ecuador and Brazil.
Latin America remains one the most dangerous places for kidnapping, with Mexico being the highest kidnap threat. The number of kidnappings there has exploded in recent years due to the drug wars. Statistics on kidnappings are hard to confirm because the majority go unreported, but estimates range from 5,000 to over 10,000 kidnappings per year. Continue Reading
A special interview with Global Security Consultant and Political Risk Expert, Paul Crespo
This is the first in a series of posts dealing with global security and risk management. While companies doing business internationally generally protect themselves against numerous risks, political risk is often ignored or accepted as fate. While there are many ways to manage and mitigate political risk, this post we will focus on political risk insurance (PRI).
Why is political risk a hot topic for international business today?
Paul Crespo: Riots in Brazil, uprisings in Egypt, nationalizations in Argentina, bailouts in Cyprus and economic crises across the Eurozone countries, official corruption in Russia, political uncertainty in China, systemic violence in Mexico, conflict in Syria, all remind us that the world can be a dangerous place to do business. With the tremendous increase in globalization, more and more small and mid-sized companies are expanding globally; often into very risky countries they know little about. Continue Reading
The latest issue of Global Trade Magazine ranks the Top 25 Cities for International Trade. The ranking is based on the largest export volume increase in 2011.
This approach is different than the International Administration’s Top 50 ranking, which is largely the same every year.
Houston and New York topped the list with a combined increase of $44 billion. That’s leaps and bounds above the numbers they posted in 2010. Houston posted a 30% increase and New York improved by 23%.
Other cities also saw a dramatic rise in international trade. San Antonio, Peroria, Greenville and Davenport all increased their export/imports by at least 30%.
The largest increase was in Corpus Christi, Texas, which posted an astounding 100% increase over the previous year.
The Top 25 Cities for Global Trade are:
- Houston, Texas
- New York, New York
- Los Angeles, California
- Miami, Florida
- New Orleans, Lousinana
- Chicago, Illinois
- Seattle, Washington
- Detroit, Michigan
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- San Antonio, TX
- Dallas, Texas
- Peoria, Illinois
- Philadelphia, Pensylavania
- Greenville, South Carolina
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Corpus Christi, Texas
- Portland, Oregon
- Atlanta, Georgia
- San Francisco, California
- Brownsville, Texas
- Bridgeport, Connecticut
- Davenport, Iowa
- Beaumont, Texas
- Decatur, Illinois
I’m glad to see that my hometown Miami, Florida saw a 20% increase in international trade to $43 Billion.
What do you think about the list?
Earlier this week I had a discussion with the general counsel of a mid-size company. He was going on and on about how his in-house attorneys secured a huge U.S. court judgment against a foreign company.
I simply smiled and thought to myself, this person does not have a clue about the rough road ahead.
You see, securing a U.S. court judgment against a foreign company is fraught with a host of issues that may ultimately leave the plaintiff corporation holding a judgment not worth more than the paper it’s written on.
That’s because the U.S. is not a signatory to any treaty recognizing court judgments.
It’s more likely that the “victorious” plaintiff company will become involved in a long legal battle on foreign soil litigating issues of jurisdiction, equity and reciprocity. Ultimately, the case may need to be retried in the foreign court where enforcement is sought.
Good luck with that.
Note to in-house counsel: it’s far easier to enforce an international arbitration award than attempting to collect on a U.S. court judgment in a foreign country. Continue Reading
With all the international business ventures our firm is handling, it’s no surprise that we are frequently asked to draft a Non-Circumvention and Non-Disclsoure Agreement (NCNDA).
An NCNDA is used when a business needs to keep intellectual property and other confidential information secure in the early stages of a business venture arranged by brokers or intermediaries.
The main purpose of an NCNDA is to ensure that: 1) the intermediaries (brokers who introduce the buyer and seller are not by-passed; and 2) the intellectual property disclosed during the negotiations is not disclosed to any third parties.
In the event the parties choose not to pursue a business relationship, neither party can use the other party’s information. This is why a non-circumvention agreement is almost always signed together with a non-disclosure agreement.
If an NCNDA is breached, the party who revealed the confidential information could be sued for damages, be forced to pay back lost profits, and in some cases, be held in contempt of court (which could lead to criminal charges). Continue Reading
I recently came across a situation where someone unwisely sought the advice of one of those late night television bankruptcy attorneys offering the deal of the century. You know the one.
Well, unfortunately certain foreign property holdings were not disclosed and the court came very close to denying the debtor’s bankruptcy petition.
In a very similar case, the court held the debtor in contempt for failing to disclose foreign real estate.
In both cases, the debts were ultimately discharged but the added stress and anxiety could have been avoided if the debtors were properly advised to list and disclose all foreign property holdings e.g., real estate, bank accounts, investments, art collections, jewelry—everything. Continue Reading
Last month I received an email from a potential foreign client regarding the Importer Security Filing (ISF) Rule, known in the international shipping industry as the “10+2” Rule.
Specifically, this person wanted to know what the penalties were for failing to comply with the rule’s filing requirements.
I’m not sure whether it was a coincidence or whether the writer knew that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began the liquidated damages phase of ISF enforcement less than one month ago.
Because this is one of many inquires I’ve received since the 10 + 2 Rule was implemented several years ago, I thought it would be a good idea to provide a brief over view of the ISF or 10 + 2 Rule.
What is the “10+2” Rule?
The ISF is commonly referred to as “10+2” because importers or their agents have to electronically submit ten data elements to customs 24 hours prior to vessel departure to the U.S., and ocean carriers have to submit two additional data elements
This additional information is required to assist United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in identifying containers that may pose a risk for terrorism. Any suspicious containers undergo scanning or physical inspection. Continue Reading
Several months ago, I handled a matter on behalf of a foreign company that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection here in the U.S.
When I explained the general details of this case to a seasoned bankruptcy attorney, whom I had run into at legal seminar, I was surprised that he didn’t think it was possible for a foreign company to do so.
I went on to tell them that not only was it possible but it had become quite common in the past several years, particularly with foreign shipping companies.
I mention this because the Wall Street Journal just published an excellent article by Jacqueline Palank precisely on this topic.
The article, Q&A: Foreign Companies Seek Protection of U.S. Chapter 11, serves as an excellent primer for anyone wanting to know why many foreign companies prefer to file for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. rather than in their home country. Continue Reading