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Senior Associate in the Dispute Resolution practice at the Mumbai office of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Pragati focuses on white collar crimes: advisory, investigations, and litigation, international economic sanctions, regulatory enforcement, and related technology law issues. She has extensively advised and represented both domestic and international clients before courts/tribunals in civil, criminal, and commercial litigation and arbitration.  She can be reached at pragati.sharma@cyrilshroff.com

Russia Ukraine Sanctions

Part 2[1] of the two-part blog discusses the Sanctions measures adopted globally against the Russian Government and its affiliates in response to its actions in Ukraine, with special emphasis on sanctions imposed by the US, UK and the EU, their impact on Indian businesses and key takeaways for businesses operating in sanctions regions.

Continue Reading Analysing the Russia/Ukraine Sanctions & their Impact on Indian Businesses – Part 2

Russia Ukraine Sanctions

Introduction

Sanctions are political, diplomatic, or economic measures under International law, deployed by an International organisation or States against a State or States either to protect national security interests, or to protect international law, and defend against threats to international peace and security. Sanctions can be economic, targeting specific commodities, trades, etc., military, diplomatic, and also include travel bans, asset freezes, or arms embargoes.

Continue Reading Analysing the Russia/Ukraine Sanctions & their Impact on Indian Businesses – Part 1

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

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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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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Finance Act 2019 - Prevention of Money Laundering Act Amendment

The Finance Act, 2019 (the 2019 Act) is the Central Government’s endeavour to tighten the gaps around the existing provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA). Amidst the growing number of financial crimes and high-profile cases, the 2019 Act attempts to make the existing provisions stricter and better armoured to detect suspicious transactions. Additionally, the Act, along with the other amendments, has a greater aim of targeting money laundering and terrorist financing. The 2019 Act attempts to remove the ambiguity in the existing provisions by amending eight clauses of the PMLA.
Continue Reading PMLA Amendment 2019 – Plugging the Loopholes