Fatema Merchant

Fatema Merchant

Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP

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Latest Publications


Implementation Day: Do the Rules Let You Play in the New Ballgame for Business in Iran?

After a twelve-year standoff that saw the United States and Europe ratchet up sanctions pressure on Iran, a diplomatic breakthrough has been reached. But robust trade between Iran and the West will not arise immediately,...more

7/19/2015 - EU Exports IFCA Iran Iran Sanctions Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) Manufacturers NDAA Non-US Entities Nuclear Power Nuclear Weapons

A Break From the Past: Historic Deal with Iran Marks A New Day in U.S.-Iran Relations

Today, President Obama announced a landmark agreement with Iran designed to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon in exchange for lifting sanctions that have retarded the country’s development for the decades since the...more

7/15/2015 - Barack Obama Foreign Relations Iran Iran Sanctions JPOA Nuclear Power Nuclear Weapons OFAC P5+1 Nations Political Parties

Government Contracting Abroad: Beware Compliance Risks

On June 16, 2015, IAP Worldwide Services Inc., a private defense and government contracting company, agreed to pay $7.1 million to settle criminal charges of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) related to bribing...more

6/25/2015 - Chief Compliance Officers Compliance Criminal Prosecution Defense Sector DOJ Enforcement Actions FCPA Federal Contractors Foreign Official Kuwait

Paying the Piper: PayPal Inc. Settles Sanctions Violations with OFAC for $7.7 Million

On March 25, 2015, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced that PayPal Inc. (“PayPal”) agreed to pay $7.7 million to settle 486 violations of U.S. economic sanctions. According to OFAC,...more


Havana Hold Your Hand: Reaching Out to Cuban Entrepreneurs

New regulations on Cuba enter into force today, only 29 days after President Obama promised them. The liberalized provisions focus on support for private sector actors in Cuba. As we described here, the President announced on...more

1/19/2015 - Banking Sector Barack Obama Cuba Entrepreneurs Exports Imports OFAC Telecommunications Trade Policy Travel

New Year, New Orleans, Old Tricks

The Department of Justice’s Kleptocracy Initiative is kicking off 2015 strong.  On January 13, 2015, the DOJ filed a civil complaint seeking the forfeiture of nine properties in New Orleans, worth close to $1.53 million.  The...more

1/16/2015 - Bribery DOJ Foreign Official Forfeiture

A New Latitude: Charting a Course for Cuba

Today President Barack Obama made a stunning speech announcing steps the United States will take to reduce U.S. sanctions against Cuba. The announcement followed the release of two U.S. citizens held by the Cuban government....more

12/18/2014 - Barack Obama Cuba Foreign Relations

DOJ Issues Opinion, Provides (Some) Comfort on Successor Liability

In a recent Opinion Procedure Release (OPR), Number 14-02, the U.S. Department of Justice expressly limited successor liability for a US company purchasing a non-US company that had paid bribes in the past. In so doing, DOJ...more

12/5/2014 - DOJ Due Diligence Enforcement Guidance FCPA FCPA Guidance FCPA Resource Guide Successor Liability Target Company UK Bribery Act

Accounts and Accountability: Arab Bank Found Liable for Transactions Under the Anti-Terrorism Act

On September 22, 2014, a Brooklyn jury found Arab Bank, Jordan’s largest lender, guilty of violating the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act for providing financial services to individuals and entities linked to Hamas. Hamas is currently...more

10/13/2014 - Anti-Terrorism Act Banks Foreign Banks Hamas OFAC Terrorism Funding U.S. Treasury

What’s New Out There? Highlights from the Federal Register

SBA Proposes to Increase Small Business Size Standards (79 Fed. Reg. 54145; 79 Fed. Reg. 53646) - The U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) proposes to increase small business size standards for: (1) 209...more

9/30/2014 - DFARS DOD FAR Federal Procurement Systems FOIA GSA NASA Satellites SBA Small Business

Who’s a “Foreign Official”? Supreme Court Could Clarify Key FCPA Term

On August 14, 2014, Joel Esquenazi and Carlos Rodriguez filed a Petition for a writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court seeking clarification of a key term in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Among other arguments,...more

9/19/2014 - Bribery Corruption FCPA Foreign Official Instrumentality SCOTUS

Don’t try this at Home or Abroad: Export Controls and Sanctions Violations Lead to $21 Million in Penalties for Dutch Company...

We frequently discuss enforcement actions in this blog, because understanding enforcement is a key aspect of trade compliance. From a fifty-thousand foot view, each enforcement case serves as a cautionary tale about the...more

7/16/2014 - Aerospace BIS Burma EAR Enforcement Enforcement Actions Exports Fokker Iran Iran Sanctions OFAC Penalties Sanctions Settlement Sudan Trade Policy

Where Two Worlds Collide: The Impact of Sanctions in Space

As we continue to find new ways to look at the implications of the Ukraine-related sanctions introduced by the United States over the past few months, we have shifted our perspective to the extra-terrestrial to focus on the...more

6/13/2014 - Aerospace Foreign Policy Russia Sanctions Ukraine

Spacing Out: BIS Issues Report on Export Controls and the Space Industrial Base

In February 2014, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) published a report (“Report”) detailing the impact of export controls on the U.S. space industry. Titled the “U.S. Space Industry...more

4/7/2014 - Aerospace BIS Export Controls ITAR

Export Control Reform Series Episode III: Harmonizing EAR Exceptions and ITAR Exemptions

In Episode I and Episode II of this series, we discussed some key points of U.S. Export Control Reform and took you through a step-by-step reclassification analysis of parts and components transitioning from the USML to the...more

8/8/2013 - Classification Export Controls Exports ITAR Licensing Rules Software Technology US Munitions List

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