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Our clients face an often conflicting web of foreign and domestic legal and regulatory requirements. At the same time, regulators across the world are closely scrutinising organisations that operate in multiple jurisdictions and increasingly are pursuing coordinated investigatory and enforcement actions against them.
Mayer Brown’s Cross-Border Investigations & Enforcement practice comprises lawyers from our offices throughout the world, allowing us to provide localised advice and offer harmonised solutions to problems that implicate more than one legal regime.
We fully understand compliance requirements in jurisdictions across the globe. For example:
In the field of competition law, we have represented clients at dawn raids at locations around the world and have advised many global corporations in relation to their defence strategy in major cartel cases. In a number of cases this has involved applications for immunity and reductions in fines, usually in multiple jurisdictions and in close co-ordination with local lawyers. In such cases, the interplay between leniency and the risk of civil damages actions, criminal enforcement and (where applicable) self-reporting obligations under sectoral regulation (for example the UK Financial Services and Markets Act 2000) is invariably of central importance. Members of our team have regularly acted as global lead counsel co-ordinating the response of clients to multiple investigations worldwide, and have advised on parallel investigations, both civil and criminal, by different authorities within a single jurisdiction. We have advised on settlement of competition investigations, legal challenges in the national courts of EU Member States, the EU courts, and a wide range of courts in other jurisdictions, as well as on extradition/mutual legal assistance.
In the field of customs and sanctions, we have assisted clients in pre-emptive audits to ensure compliance with domestic and international customs law and sanctions provisions. We have also assisted during audits and in handling all types of proceedings before the customs authorities or the authorities in charge of the implementation of sanctions provisions. We advise on customs procedures before the World Customs Organization and are involved in dispute settlement on customs issues before the World Trade Organization. We have also assisted in investigations by a UN Sanctions Committee in the implementation of UN sanctions.
In the financial sector within the United States we defend and represent companies and individuals in the broad array of investigations conducted by virtually any financial products regulator, including the SEC, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), individual states, and self-regulatory organisations (SROs). Outside the United States our financial sector experience covers the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the United Kingdom, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) in Germany, the Swiss Financial Markets Supervisory Authority (FINMA) and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, among others. As such, we have represented financial institutions with head offices in Belgium, Bermuda, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and countries in Africa and Latin America.
We understand how supervisors and enforcement authorities think. Accordingly, our team can anticipate and appropriately respond (but not capitulate) to the authorities’ “hot-button” areas of concern. For example, we assist our clients, where necessary, to remediate issues discovered in real time, to mitigate ongoing risks and to demonstrate commitment to best practices. Moreover, our team takes a broad strategic approach necessary in a complex environment where achieving optimal results requires navigating multi-jurisdictional developments that can spill over into (and be affected by) parallel litigation, legislative initiatives, and media coverage.
We put a premium on transparency, collaboration, and engagement. We work with our clients to design, implement, and update detailed action plans with attendant budgets that will assure timely, efficient, and successful completion. We are not enamoured of any one specific forensic technique (indeed, we disfavour a “cookie-cutter” approach that adheres to generic investigative protocols regardless of their relevance to the particular situation, e.g., non-targeted email reviews), but believe that every investigation should be designed specially, depending on the relevant subject matter, business and scope (geographical and otherwise). For example, we may try to resolve an adverse judicial dispute legislatively or achieve a desired result by convincing one nation’s government to intervene with another’s government.
In addition to our team leadership, we staff investigations with junior colleagues drawn from across our global footprint, who are resident in the relevant region and have familiarity with the issues involved, the relevant legal considerations including data protection and privacy, and knowledge of the local language(s) and culture. We avoid “parachuting in” people who lack these important skills.