ESG Enforcement Actions Underscore SEC Focus on Public Company and Investment Adviser Disclosure

Key Takeaways:

  • The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) Climate and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance)Task Force has brought its first two enforcement actions for allegedly misleading ESG-related disclosures by a public company and an investment adviser, respectively.
  • The actions reflect the close and continuing focus on ESG by the SEC’s Division of Enforcement (Enforcement); more such actions are virtually certain to follow.
  • These cases also underscore the importance for issuers and advisers of mitigating the risk of ESG-related disclosure violations through robust internal controls and careful vetting of public statements about ESG impacts and investments.…
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SEC’s Expansion of Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit Signals Increased Enforcement Ahead

Key Takeaways:

  • The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) Division of Enforcement (Enforcement) announced that it will nearly double the size of its Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit, making the Unit one of the largest within Enforcement.
  • The decision reflects the SEC’s increasing prioritization of cryptocurrency and cybersecurity enforcement.
  • Issuers of digital assets, crypto exchanges and lending platforms, and other industry participants should expect more frequent investigations and enforcement actions.…
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Russia and Belarus Sanctions and Export Controls Update – June 14, 2022

Key Takeaways:

US Actions:

  • The Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) imposes new restrictions on the export of certain industrial EAR99 items to Russia
  • OFAC extends expiration date for general licenses related to administrative transactions and issues general license authorizing the processing of pension payments to U.S. persons by Russian financial institutions
  • OFAC adds Russian government officials, oligarchs, and mining companies to the SDN List,…
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Russia and Belarus Sanctions and Export Controls Update – May 10, 2022

Key Takeaways:

  • The U.S. restricts the provision of accounting, trust and corporate formation, and management consulting services to Russia
  • OFAC publishes general license authorizing certain IP-transactions prohibited by the Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations
  • Three Russian state-run media television companies are added to the SDN List, along with a Russian state-owned bank and a state-controlled defense company
  • BIS implements stricter export controls – only EAR99 items (with some limited exceptions) are now eligible for export from the U.S.…
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Russia Sanctions Update – April 11, 2022

Key Takeaways:

  • U.S. sanctions major Russian state-owned enterprises Alrosa (diamonds) and United Shipbuilding Corporation (defense sector)
  • OFAC publishes new Russia-related general licenses, including a license authorizing certain transactions related to telecommunications
  • “Fifth Wave” EU sanctions package restricts trade with Russia and imposes sanctions on 217 individuals and 18 entities

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I.    U.S. Actions

Following increased sanctions on Russian banks and a new Executive Order banning investment in the Russian Federation (reported by Foley Hoag here),… More

Russia Sanctions Update – April 7, 2022

Key Takeaways:

  • New Executive Order prohibits all new investment by U.S. persons in Russia
  • U.S. imposes full asset freezing sanctions on Alfa-Bank and Sberbank, along with more Russian government officials and their family members, including the daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin
  • Sanctions target Russian cybercrime and ransomware

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I.    New Executive Order Bans U.S. Investment in Russia

On April 6,… More

Russia Sanctions Update – March 28, 2022

Key Takeaways:

  • U.S. imposes sanctions on Duma members, board members and executives of sanctioned Russian banks, and defense companies
  • UK sanctions 65 individuals and entities, focusing on Russian oligarchs, financial institutions, and senior executives of state-owned enterprises
  • OFAC issues new FAQ clarifying that gold transactions fall within the scope of existing Russia-related sanctions

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U.S. Sanctions

The U.S.… More

Three Takeaways from the SEC’s New Proposed Rules on Climate Disclosures

Today, the Securities & Exchange Commission voted 3 to 1 in favor of adopting a long-awaited set of proposed revisions to SEC regulations concerning the disclosure of climate risks and related financial impacts, as well as data on greenhouse gas emissions in certain SEC filings. The recommendation to adopt the new set of rules was not unanimous, with Commissioner Hester Peirce voting against the measure, arguing that the new set of rules is at best unnecessary,… More

Russia and Belarus Sanctions Update – March 17, 2022

Key Takeaways:

  • U.S., UK, and EU impose additional sanctions in response to Russia’s continued escalation of conflict in Ukraine
  • U.S. imposes sanctions on human rights violators and senior Russian defense officials
  • UK sanctions over 370 Russian individuals, including 51 oligarchs and their family members
  • EU imposes investment and trade restrictions and sanctions Russian oligarchs, propagandists, state-owned entities, and defense sector entities

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On March 15,… More

Looking at the Landscape of Congressional Investigations in 2022

This is the tenth and final post in this year’s series examining important trends in white collar law and investigations. Be on the lookout for a roundup of our 2022 White Collar Year in Preview Series shortly.

Last March, we anticipated that the 117th Congress would use the powerful investigative tools at its disposal to drive its legislative agendas. Since then, we have seen congressional inquiries focusing especially intensely on climate change and prescription drug costs.… More