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Paul Zimmerman
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Binance De-Platforms Suex Exchange Amid Groundbreaking Sanctions: Potential New Standards in Cryptocurrency Compliance

Last month, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) levied sanctions against Russian-based cryptocurrency exchange Suex. This move represents the first time the U.S. has sanctioned a digital currency exchange, signaling a major shift for cryptocurrency exchanges and their potential exposure to liability.

The news gets even worse for Suex. Around the same time that OFAC announced the sanctions, cryptocurrency exchange Binance announced that its compliance program had identified issues with Suex, de-platformed the exchange, and shared information from its investigation with law enforcement. Binance’s success may set a new standard for digital asset compliance programs, but time will tell whether it has set a new gold standard or will become the bare minimum. (Read More)

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5 Corporate Takeaways from the Facebook Whistleblower Hearing

Stakeholders at businesses worldwide listened attentively last week as a former Facebook product manager testified before a Senate subcommittee about, among other things, the company’s purported knowledge of Instagram’s impact on young users of the app. Frances Haugen, who worked on issues regarding civic integrity while at Facebook, also released thousands of pages of research and internal documentation suggesting Facebook knew about an array of problems associated with Instagram, including its allegedly toxic effect on teens. (Read More)

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SEC v. BitConnect: New Technology, Same Old Financial Fraud

Blockchain technology is often touted for its enormous potential to revolutionize many aspects of the financial system. This relatively new technology, however, does nothing to eliminate would-be criminals from leveraging age-old fraud schemes. The SEC’s recent case against BitConnect bears this out. The proceeding also demonstrates that the federal government maintains a strong interest in rooting out old-fashioned fraud, even in the digital asset space. (Read More)

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Quick Resource Guide to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) for Turkish Companies

Lawyers from Michelman & Robinson and Cetinkaya have authored a recently published white paper titled “FCPA for Turkish Companies.” This is a comprehensive resource guide to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and its application in Turkey. You can read the white paper here.

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Delta-8 THC Is All the Rage, But Its Legality Is in the Crosshairs

Delta is very much in the news these days.

The delta variant continues to spread, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases to 40 million since the start of the pandemic.

Delta Airlines made headlines when it recently announced that its unvaccinated employees will face $200 monthly increases on their health insurance premiums beginning November 1, citing steep costs to cover workers hospitalized with COVID.

And then there’s a delta having nothing to do with the novel coronavirus. Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a psychoactive compound naturally occurring in hemp and cannabis and believed by many to be legal at the federal level. (Read More)

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The Status of COVID Vaccine Mandates in the Shadow of FDA Action

For many here in the U.S., the COVID-19 vaccine remains a hot button and rather divisive issue. Some of those who have thus far refused to roll up their sleeves for inoculation have justified this decision with a common refrain: the federal government hasn’t fully approved COVID vaccines; instead, they’re only authorized for “emergency use.” This distinction has been a deal breaker for countless Americans.

But now that the Food and Drug Administration has fully approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, that justification no longer holds water. Not surprisingly, in the wake of the FDA’s full approval, the share of adults flat out refusing to get the vaccine has dropped by 5%—this according to a recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. In fact, nearly 80% of adults in the U.S. have received, or now intend to line up for, inoculation against the novel coronavirus. (Read More)

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New York City Council Approves Permanent Caps on Food Delivery Fees

Late last month (on August 26), the New York City Council voted to approve a bill that serves to permanently cap the commissions that third-party food delivery service providers can charge restaurants. The same bill is also intended to regulate food delivery services by requiring licensing throughout the industry. The legislation now awaits Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature. (Read More)

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Optimizing the Legal Spend: A Better Approach for GCs

Notwithstanding the economic impact of COVID-19 upon businesses nationwide, corporation across industries continue to rack up some rather hefty legal bills. In fact, according to Statista, it is estimated that in 2021, large domestic companies will have spent more than $23 billion on litigation alone, up from the $22.8 billion spent in 2020.

As corporate legal fees continue to rise, GCs across the country are being asked to reduce costs. This, however, is a real challenge, especially as first-year associate compensation is becoming increasingly competitive, with many of the nation’s largest law firms offering starting salaries exceeding $200,000 (an amount that only increases as associates get promoted to more senior status). At the same time, there is an anticipated uptick in both litigation and corporate transactions as a result of the pandemic. (Read More)

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Starting a California Business with a Cause: Comparing the California Social Purpose Corporation with the Delaware Public Benefit Corporation

Hayley Hodson, a rising third-year student at UCLA School of Law and an M&R 2021 Summer Associate assisted in the writing of this article.

As home to the Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and a host of some of the world’s finest academic institutions, California is a haven for entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors alike. Many of these are socially conscious and mission-driven individuals and entities, operating at the intersection of purpose and profit. For them, laws on both coasts providing for unique corporate forms that allow directors to balance a company’s profit-maximizing goals with its society-benefitting ones should be of great interest. (Read More)

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Purpose Meets Profit: 5 Things to Know if Your Business Is Considering Becoming a Certified B Corporation

If you’ve spent any time in a shopping mall, you’ve surely passed by, or perhaps made purchases from, The Body Shop, which for decades has been selling ethically sourced beauty, skincare, bath and body products. The company has done so since 1976, all the while adhering to a rather admirable vision: that business can be a force for good. With that as its driving force, The Body Shop has launched a series of activism campaigns over the years and even became the first international cosmetics brand recognized under the Humane Cosmetics Standard. (Read More)