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Professional woman in a meeting with two clients

Sanctions, International Trade and Investment Compliance

Our team assists clients in navigating the complex and sometimes competing requirements to which they may be subject.

Sanctions, international trade, and investment compliance rules can result in the imposition of onerous restrictions on businesses. Violations can lead to substantial risks, including criminal liability, fines, penalties, loss of business, reputational harm, and a variety of associated costs which can be difficult to quantify.

We have a thriving practice advising corporations, financial institutions and individuals on the economic, financial and trade sanctions regimes of the United Nations, European Union, United States, United Kingdom and many other jurisdictions. Our market-leading team provides integrated cross-jurisdictional advice and is well versed in the most complex and sensitive transactions in the market.

International trade is a complex area, and the movement of goods and services between jurisdictions is increasingly affected by governmental actions. We provide expert advice on matters relating to international trade law (including WTO law, associated regulations and free trade agreements), trade related disputes, trade defences, customs rules and tariff applications, the interpretation of customs codes and export and import controls. A number of our expert lawyers have worked on trade and sanctions-related issues for OFAC, the European Commission and the UK’s Department of International Trade amongst other government agencies and have an in-depth understanding of how trade organisations and regulators work.

Our team also regularly advises clients on matters of investment compliance, and offers strong anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing expertise. Our lawyers around the globe can advise on the rules and regulations in numerous jurisdictions.

For those facing investigation or prosecution, we have experienced litigators, including many former government litigators, in the EU, Asia, the Middle East and the U.S. who can defend them.

We provide the full range of support to clients including:

  • assessing potential risks associated with particular contracts, relationships or proposed business ventures, including in relation to sanctions, export controls, anti-corruption, and foreign direct investment
  • advising on mergers & acquisitions, lending, project finance and capital markets (debt and equity) transactions, and on dealings with agents, distributors and other third parties. This includes conducting due diligence, drafting and negotiating appropriate contractual protections, and setting in place operational, compliance and auditing protocols
  • advising on jurisdiction issues, for example, determining which sanctions apply to businesses or operations in other jurisdictions, to joint ventures, or to minority equity investments
  • drafting compliance policies and assisting clients with the implementation of these policies
  • managing compliance with conflicting sanctions obligations and blocking laws across multiple jurisdictions
  • providing sanctions, anti-bribery and AML compliance training to senior management, boards of directors, employees and agents
  • assisting clients faced with regulatory investigations or prosecutions concerning sanctions and other regulatory breaches, including approaching authorities and negotiating settlements
  • assisting clients to secure export, import and sanctions licences
  • advising on trade defence issues covering all aspects of anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and safeguarding measures and related disputes
  • advising on the impact of free trade agreements and WTO law on the cross-border movement of goods and the provision services
  • providing customs advice including in relation to tariff classification, valuation, origin, labelling, trade agreements and preference programs
  • handling WTO, customs and other trade related disputes
  • advising on the European Union Anti-Money Laundering Directives, the United Kingdom Proceeds of Crime Act, interactions with the UK National Crime Agency, the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act, U.S. money laundering laws, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and other international guidance
  • advising on foreign investment in the U.S., including in particular in connection with contemplated transactions that may impact U.S. national security
  • evaluating transactions to determine if they necessitate a filing with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), developing strategies for approaching CFIUS, and assisting in the transaction review process which CFIUS may conduct
  • advising on multiple European foreign direct investment regimes supporting clients get clearances for transactions where necessary
  • tracking regulatory developments 

News & insights

Publications: 03 JULY 2020

The long arm of OFAC: English law contracts and U.S. secondary sanctions

The UK’s Court of Appeal has given judgment in Lamesa Investments Ltd v Cynergy Bank Ltd regarding the interplay of English contract law and U.S. secondary sanctions. What can we learn from the…

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Publications: 24 JUNE 2020

Changes to UK merger control: public health emergencies and national security

On 21 June the UK Government announced plans to introduce a new public interest consideration to the UK merger control regime: public health emergency. It also announced a proposal to expand its…

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Publications: 19 JUNE 2020

European Commission targets foreign subsidies causing market distortions

As part of a broader effort to reshape the EU’s trade policy, the European Commission (EC) proposes to expand its toolbox to tackle foreign subsidies undermining the level playing field in the EU’s…

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Publications: 10 FEBRUARY 2020

Liability for breaches of sanctions: financiers, lessors and charterers beware, OFAC settles claims against Apollo and Eagle Bulk

Two recent settlements in the United States have highlighted the risks for parties involved in aviation and shipping of incurring liabilities for a breach of sanctions.  

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Our international trade expertise

International trade is a complex area, and the movement of goods between jurisdictions is increasingly subject to financial and trade restrictions. 

Our sanctions and expert controls expertise


Sanctions compliance can result in the imposition of onerous restrictions on businesses, and violations can lead to substantial risks, including criminal liability, fines, penalties, loss of business, reputational harm and a variety of associated costs which can be difficult to quantify.

Brexit Law - the way ahead

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Leading businesses through Brexit and beyond, our Brexit Law microsite provides key resources to help identify Brexit-related issues and contingency plan accordingly.