Photo of Faraz Alam Sagar

Partner in the Disputes, Regulatory, Advocacy and Policy Practice at the Mumbai office of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Faraz has significant experience in the areas of commercial litigation and investment dispute arbitrations. He regularly advises multinational corporations and financial institutions in a wide range of contentious disputes including investigations, litigation and regulatory enforcement proceedings in India. Faraz also has considerable expertise in telecom disputes, white-collar, forensic and corporate espionage investigations. He can be reached at faraz.sagar@cyrilshroff.com

 

Corporate Defamation: A Perspective on Analyst Reports

In 2008, Bank Atlantic, a Florida based bank, sued a prominent Wall Street analyst over a report on potential bank failures titled “Who’s Next?” The Bank stated that the analyst had defamed the bank by suggesting that it might fail. Bank Atlantic had previously sued ABC over a news report in 1991. In 2009, Hertz Global Holdings Inc., sued an analyst for defamation over a report that Hertz claimed, suggests that the world’s largest car rental company could go bankrupt.


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Legal Privilege and Covid-19 - Part I

Part I discuses the concept of attorney-client privilege, work product doctrine and the legal position in the US and the UK.

Legal privilege and attorney work product

The legal privilege or attorney-client privilege is often regarded as the crown jewel of the legal profession. It provides protection from disclosure of communications between a client and an attorney made for the purpose of seeking legal advice.
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Into the Web - AML Risks of Virtual Assets - Part 1

Part I of this article explores the current Indian regulatory and legal framework governing the virtual asset industry and recommendations for AML/CFT compliance in respect of virtual asssets.

Indian legal framework

The virtual asset industry has had a somewhat difficult time in India, with the RBI banning any regulated entities from providing services to any individual or business, dealing in digital currencies, given the risks involved in such transactions. The term ‘services’ included maintaining accounts, registering, trading, settling, clearing, giving loans against virtual tokens, accepting them as collateral, opening accounts of exchanges, dealing with them and transferring or receipt of money in accounts relating to purchase/ sale of VCs or facilitating the same thereof.
Continue Reading Into the Web: AML Risks of Virtual Assets? – Part II

Into the Web - AML Risks of Virtual Assets - Part 1

Nothing is permanent but change.

                                                                            – Heraclitus

Part I of this article explores the anti-money laundering risks associated with virtual assets and provides a glance at the current international regulatory and legal framework governing the virtual asset industry.

Technology has evolved to a point where we have to redefine what we assume would be easy to legally categorise. The evolution of virtual assets is such an example — with a dynamic categorisation of virtual assets, as also securities such as NFTs (a Non-Fungible Token, which is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger called a blockchain, that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable. Examples include: photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files) and DeFi (Decentralised Finance is a blockchain-based form of finance that does not rely on central financial intermediaries such as brokerages, exchanges, or banks to offer traditional financial instruments, and instead utilises smart contracts on blockchains, example: Ethereum).
Continue Reading Into the Web: AML Risks of Virtual Assets? – Part I

Invoking Arbitration Agreements in Unstamped Documents – Course Correction from the Garware Wall Ropes’ Judgment 

 

What happened in the Garware Wall Ropes’ Judgment?

In our earlier article,[1] we had discussed the decision of the Supreme Court in Garware Wall Ropes Ltd. v. Coastal Marine Construction & Engineering Ltd. (“Garware Judgment”).[2] We had remarked that much was left to be done to strike a balance between arbitration law, stamping law and the equitable rights of litigants. We had analysed how the Garware Judgment took a narrow view on invoking arbitration agreements in unstamped documents, in holding that an arbitration could not be invoked in case of an arbitration agreement forming a part of an unstamped document, until the defect of non-stamping was rectified. It held that before proceeding under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Arbitration Act”), the Court ought to impound the document and send it for collection of stamp duty dues. This also meant that neither the parties, nor the Court could appoint an arbitrator till the requisite stamp duty was paid.
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Understanding Cross Border Legal Assistance

The increasingly globalised and liberated world economy has created opportunities for economic growth as well as transnationalisation of crimes.

Economic liberalisation aided by technological advancements has contributed significantly to complex cross-border offences with actors and offences and its implications occurring in multiple jurisdictions as well as the offenders seeking refuge in foreign jurisdictions. Especially with increase in organised crime, trafficking of humans and drugs, smuggling, mutual legal assistance is an invaluable resource in investigating crimes and bringing criminals to justice.

As offences are no longer a mere domestic governance issue, it is imperative for governments to aid domestic law enforcement agencies through proper channels for ensuring inter-jurisdictional assistance among nation states by entering into agreements providing for legal assistance or a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty “MLAT”. Mutual legal assistance may also be given informally through bilateral cooperation and sharing of information between policing or judicial officials in different states.
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COVID-19 - Its impact on the telecommunications sector in India

As the global economy continues to reel from the shock and the lasting impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, “work from home” and “social distancing” have become the buzzwords in today’s business landscape, with the telecom sector being the invisible hand driving this shift. Remote working, video conferencing, and telecommunications technology have quickly emerged as key enablers for business operations during this lockdown, and streaming services such as Netflix have become the go to source for entertainment, putting the telecom sector in the spotlight today.

The importance of having a strong telecommunications network during this lockdown has also been acknowledged by the government in the guidelines dated March 24, 2020, issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)[1], which provides that “telecommunications, internet services, broadcasting and cable services, IT and IT-enabled services (ITeS) only (for essential services)” are the essential services and are exempt from the lockdown. This exemption was also provided in the MHA notification dated April 15, 2020 (which extended the lockdown until May 3, 2020)[2] and in the MHA notification dated May 1, 2020 (which further extended the lockdown for a further period of two weeks).
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The Green Wave - Legal Challenges, Considerations for Investors in Cannabis Industry

Marijuana or cannabis can be used to treat a multitude of diseases; more importantly, it is known to be effective in reducing pain. In countries or states where medical marijuana is legal, doctors can prescribe it to alleviate nerve pain or glaucoma, or at times to help with nausea caused due to chemotherapy for cancer patients as well as treatment of HIV patients.

Investment in cannabis/ marijuana is not new. Venture capitalist Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund invested in the cannabis industry in 2015. Pharmaceutical companies and governments have long been investing in medical cannabis and conducting scientific research into its medicinal properties. Wellness and health brand, Goop, owned by Oscar winning actor Gwyneth Paltrow, is actively investing in the cannabis industry and selling CBD Oil (a cannabis derivative with potential therapeutic/ medicinal uses).
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 LEGAL PROTECTION OF SOFTWARE IN INDIA

Introduction

As businesses strive to shift from paper to digital, there is an increasing penetration of software products across industries. This is particularly true in India. The NASSCOM Report evinces that the software products market was the fastest-growing segment amongst all IT services in India in FY2019.[1] While the making of software requires a considerable amount of human, technical, and financial resources; it can be copied within seconds, at infinitesimal cost. Thus, there is a need to protect software with the strongest available intellectual property protections. In India, the intellectual property regime provides a number of tools to protect such innovations. These include, patents and copyright. Each of these tools have their own set of peculiarities and will be discussed vis-à-vis protection of software, within the framework of cross-jurisdictional analysis.
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