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internationallawsection.org                                                    Friday May 3, 2019
The International Law Section Gazette
Section News
2019 Conference on International Law in Panama

Please join t he  Florida Bar International Law Section  for its  2019 Conference on International Law  that will be hosted by  Morgan & Morgan at the MMG Tower in Panama City, Republic of Panama.   

S tarting off with a welcome dinner on May 30, 2019, the Conference will feature panels on Comparative Tax Law, Comparative Maritime Law, Comparative Litigation and Arbitration, and Comparative Corporate Law. For the Conference's agenda, click here.

TO REGISTER:  CLICK HERE


Great Success for the ILS Conference on Defending Human Rights

From left to right: ILS Chair Carlos F. Osorio, ILS Treasurer James M. Meyer, Prof. Lisa Iglesias, Richard A.C. Alton, and ILS Immediate Past Chair Arnoldo B. Lacayo.

The Conference on Defending Human Rights presented by the Florida Bar International Law Section Standing Committee on Public International Law, Human Rights and Global Justice was a success!  Interested parties partook in several intriguing panel discussions covering topics on not only Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, but also human rights issues facing our entire global community.  Of special note were the several Keynote speakers, including Rosa Maria Paya of Cuba Decide, Dr. Felicia Knaul, Director of the University of Miami Institute for Advanced Studies of the Americas, Retired Ambassador John Feeley, Photojournalist Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen, and Felix Maradiaga, the Nicaraguan Opposition Leader.   It was an amazing Conference and one which the Committee hopes shall serve as a launching pad for further initiatives facing these regions and human rights in general.

The Committee would like to extend a special thank to The Florida Bar, the International Law Section, the University of Miami School of Law Inter-American Law Review, the University of Miami Latin American Studies, and the members of the Steering Committee, namely the Committee Head Prof. Lisa Iglesias, the ILS Chair Carlos F. Osorio, the ILS Treasurer James M. Meyer, and Richard A.C. Alton. Finally, the Committee extends its gratitude to all the panelists, speaker, volunteers, and the promotional team at the Gazette. 
Join the International Law Section 

If you are reading the Gazette, chances are that you are a practitioner or a student with an interest in International Law , one of the most wide-ranging, exciting and challenging legal specialties. Everyone in our field knows how crucial it is to stay on top of diverse and evolving national legal regimes, and at the same time, the difficulty of keeping meticulously up-to-date on developments around the world.

The International Law Section (ILS) of The Florida Bar is here to help you, the practitioner, navigate both the everyday and big-picture challenges of our field. Our Section is your forum to share knowledge and best practices, and to meet and mingle with peers in professional collaborations that can only enhance your grasp of the specialty and your standing among clients and peers.

Let ILS membership assist you in developing a thriving international practice through peer network development that includes important shared learnings and reciprocal referrals of clients and casework.

If your practice transcends borders, join us in making this the authoritative, go-to forum for Florida and the gateway to the region for anyone practicing International Law.  Our Section is open to lawyers from other states and countries, full-time faculty at U.S. law schools, and full-time U.S. law students , all of whom may participate as associate members.


International Law Quarterly - Call for Articles

The editorial board of the International Law Quarterly is now requesting articles and proposals for the  Spring 2019 ILQ  to be released before (and highlighted at) The Florida Bar annual convention in June.  Although proposals will be considered on any relevant international topic, the Spring ILQ will focus on  "International Cross-Border Investing."   We hope to have articles on a variety of topics, such as tax implications of cross-border investments, ICSID issues and recent cases, energy/infrastructure projects, pre-immigration tax planning, Brexit impact in UK and EU, investment in Cuba, and much more.  But we need your help to make this edition of the ILQ a success.
 
Please send your article proposals to Ana Barton ( abarton@reedsmith.com) and Laura Reich ( laura@reichrodriguez.com) as soon as possible. 
International Law Section - Call for Member News

The Executive Board of the International Law Section calls for all Members to share news about their professional achievements, endeavors, and successes to be published in the Gazette and on the International Law Section website. 

To share your professional achievements with the ILS Network, please submit all relevant information to Davide Macelloni, Editor of the ILS Gazette.

Upcoming CLE Events

The Florida Bar International Law Section is proud to offer the following CLE events, which will be held in webinar form. The CLE webinars will include a wide variety of topics, including Key changes in EU General Data Protection, FIFA Transfer Rules and the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and the New Landscape of Data Protection and Privacy in Brazil. All past programs have a link to register for on demand and downloadable podcasts for the next 18 months. To get further information or to sign up click on the webinar links below:






From our Members
Uber Discloses FCPA Investigation in IPO Documents

By Richard Montes De Oca* and Priscila Bandeira**

On April 11, 2019, Uber Technologies, Inc. (Uber) disclosed, in an SEC filing, an investigation by the U.S.  Department of Justice (DOJ) on possible Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations related to Uber's  activities in Asia, including the countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, China, and India.
 
Uber made such disclosures in its first SEC filing, in connection with the company's initial public offering (IPO)  as follows:

We received requests from the DOJ in May 2017 and August 2017 with respect to an investigation into allegations of small payments to police in Indonesia and other potential improper payments in other countries in which we operate or have operated, including in Malaysia, China, and India. The investigation is ongoing, and we are cooperating with the DOJ in this investigation. If we are determined to have violated the FCPA or similar laws, we may be subject to criminal sanctions and other liabilities, which would adversely affect our business, financial condition, and operating results.
 
According to news reports from 2017, the payments made by Uber in Indonesia are "small" payments related  to the operation of the company's drivers in areas where commercial carriers were not allowed. In Malaysia,  on the other hand, the press reported that in 2017, Uber was facing investigations over a corporate donation  to the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Center, a government-backed accelerator for entrepreneurs,  because legislation favorable to Uber was passed by the Malaysian government shortly after. However, the DOJ has  not yet commented or published a press release on the investigation in connection with Uber's disclosure.
 
Furthermore, the investigation on FCPA violations was not the only legal issue Uber disclosed. The company also mentioned  other compliance risks and lawsuits involving unfair competition, trade secrets theft, and claims relating to  employment status of its drivers.
 
With the DOJ and SEC's aggressive enforcements efforts and record-setting fines, MDO Partners encourages  companies to establish strong Anti-Corruption Compliance Programs to mitigate the risks of FCPA violations.  Indeed, recent reports reflect that nearly 500 enforcement actions were initiated and $4 billion in fines levied by  the DOJ and SEC in 2018, boosted in large part by foreign corruption cases.


* Richard Montes De Oca is Managing Partner at MDO Partners, a boutique law firm that focuses on Corporate, International, and Real Estate Law, as well as Global Compliance and Business Ethics.

** Priscila Bandeira is a Global Compliance and Corporate Law Associate Counsel at MDO Partners, where she assists clients with 
corporate governance documentation, corporate formation, and international transactions. A graduate of the J.D./L.LM. Joint Program at the University of Miami, Ms. Bandeira is also registered with the Brazilian Bar.




New Phase in US-Cuba Relations Adds New Layers of Complexity for Foreign Companies Doing Business in Cuba

By Arthur M. Freyre*

President Trump's decision to end the waiver of Helms-Burton's [1] Title III lawsuits has dramatically changed how foreign companies do business in Cuba. Individuals who have a claim or may have a potential claim against the Cuban government for stolen property can now file suit against foreign companies who are trafficking or trespassing on property they used to own but confiscated by Cuba without compensation. The waiver that has been in the law since the signing of the bill in 1996, ended on May 2nd and Title III will finally be implemented. This post provides a general overview on the Title III lawsuit process. Let's answer three basic questions: "Who are the plaintiffs?" "What is property?" and "What is the trafficking?"

Prior to discussing the three questions, counsels should note that pursuant to 22 U.S.C. §6082 (a)(8), the Attorney General was supposed to have prepared and published in the Federal Register a concise summary of the Act sixty days after the date of enactment. Now that the waiver has been lifted, we anticipate that the Attorney General will prepare and publish the Title III summary. Besides being familiar with the statute, attorneys filing or defending Title III lawsuits need to be aware of certain required actions (i.e. notice to parties and the wind down period) prior to the filing of the lawsuit.

The first question is "Who are the Plaintiffs?" Helms-Burton recognizes two groups of plaintiffs. The first group of plaintiffs is known as certified claimants. The second group of plaintiffs consists of individuals, or heirs of Cuban nationals, who are now U.S. citizens.  These are known as uncertified claimants.

Certified claimants are individuals or corporations who were U.S. citizens when their property in Cuba was confiscated by the Castro revolution after 1959. These individuals provided evidence to the U.S. Foreign Claims Settlement Commission showing that the Cuban government confiscated their land without compensation. The Commission issued a certified claim to the claimant based on the property's value. Prior to this implementation of Title III, certified claimants effectively had no access to federal court to file a lawsuit, except for a limited number of victims of terror with personal injury or wrongful death claims.

Uncertified claimants are persons whose families left Cuba after the 1959 communist takeover and whose property were also confiscated by the Cuban government. At the time of the taking, these property owners were not U.S. citizens, and were not eligible to present their matter before the U.S. Foreign Claims Settlement Commission when they arrived to the United States.  Subsequently, they or their sons or daughters became U.S. citizens.  Regarding this class of potential plaintiffs, Title III states that the federal courts may use the Commission as a special master to review the uncertified claim and make a finding on it's validity and it's value for the court to decide.

An additional question the courts may have to consider is the question of what is property? Pursuant to Title III, property is broadly defined to include intellectual property (i.e. trademarks, copyrights, patents, and so forth), real property (commercial and personal), and any item that may have a present, future, or contingent right, security, or other interest therein.

The third and final question is what is defines as trafficking? Trafficking in a confiscated property involves a person who knowingly and intentionally, and without authorization of any U.S. national who holds a claim to the property, engages in or benefits from a wide range of transactions in Cuba that include or relate to a confiscated property. There are several exceptions to the trafficking definition. It is important to discuss this matter with counsel.

One final point regarding trafficking, 22 USC § 6082(b) states the required minimum threshold for damages in federal court is $50,000 value of the property at the time of the confiscation. This amount is exclusive of interest, costs, and attorney fees.

Just because one believes that they might meet the minimal threshold of standing, there are other factors that one needs to consider. For instance, the Judicial Conference announced that there is an additional filing fee of $6,548.00 that one needs to pay the courts for the filing of a Title III action, Besides the filing fees, other costs may include service of process, and other fees and expenses we have not mentioned here regarding litigation.
 
In closing, companies doing business in Cuba should reassess their increased risk exposure during this time, as it may be significant. They need to make sure that they are not trafficking in stolen property. This was the case before May 2nd since there remains an economic embargo of Cuba. Counsel should read and understand Title III carefully and also review the economic sanctions regulations in conjunction with your Title III analysis. Failure to do this assessment may expose companies and individuals to potential lawsuits and liability. Reading and understanding Title III carefully is just as important for those who believe that they may have a Title III claim. Failure to comply with the notice provisions could lead to unnecessary expense and the dismissal of a Title III claim.


* Arthur M. Freyre, Esq., is an attorney at the Law Offices of Poblete Tamargo LLP. His practice area includes federal regulatory law and public policy. Mr. Freyre would like to thank Mr. Mauricio Tamargo, Esq., former Chairman of the Foreign Claim Settlement Commission and Mr. Jason Poblete, Esq., an expert in U.S. economic sanctions and export control laws, for their assistance and input in this blog post.  


[1] The Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, 22 U.S.C. §§ 6021-6091.





Upcoming Events
September 3-7, 2019
T he 57th International Young Lawyers' Congress of the  Association Internationale des Jeunes Avocats - International Association of Young Lawyers  will take place in Rome. The event will be an opportunity to network and learn with a focus on "Sustainability and the Law. Planet. People. Future." For more information or to register, please  refer to th event's website .

September 22-27, 2019
The  International Bar Association invites all members to attend its 2019 annual conference, which will be held in  Seoul, South Korea , a thriving metropolis that mixes the traditional with the modern - from skyscrapers, high-tech subways, K-pop culture and K-beauty to Buddhist temples, palaces and street markets and a history going back 5,000 years. For more information or to register, please refer to the event's website .




Career Opportunities
Harper Meyer, LLP
Harper Meyer, LLP, a Downtown Miami international law firm, 20 plus years established, seeks a hard-working, tenacious litigation associate for its international commercial litigation and arbitration group. The supervising and mentoring partner will be Carlos F. Osorio, Head of Litigation.   
 
The job has a demanding level of Spanish.  Portuguese and other foreign languages are considered a plus.  Cases are all unique and clients are high-end from the United States to Chile and all over Europe.  Membership in good standing with the Florida Bar is required.  Please provide Curriculum Vitae and writing sample to Gabriela Saavedra at  gsaavedra@harpermeyer.com .




Winter 2019 ILQ
International Law Quarterly: Winter 2019

The new issue of the International Law Quarterly - Focus on International Human Rights is now available. Click on the image below to download.


Visit our Sponsors                                             
ILS thanks its sponsors 
 

In light of what we accomplished this past year, we hope you will continue to support the Section as a sponsor. In 2017-2018, various firms, companies and suppliers sponsored the Section. 

We look forward to another year of innovative programs where we can advance international law and further promote our sponsors. To learn more, read the Section's sponsorship package. You can also c ontact our Treasurer, James Meyer at jmeyer@harpermeyer.com  for more details.

  Become a Sponsor for the 2018-2019 Cycle
The ILS Gazette


Chair: Carlos F. Osorio
Immediate Past Chair: Arnoldo B. Lacayo
Chair-Elect:  Clarissa Rodriguez
Secretary:  Robert J. Becerra
Treasurer: James Meyer