A Global Regulatory Overview of Token Offerings

Posted in Blockchain, Corporate, Corporate & Securities, Investments, Securities

The world’s attitude toward token offerings, sales and issuances is ever-shifting. The positions of various countries range from an official recognition of no interference to a full ban on digital currencies. Many nations are pursuing changes to their regulatory policies to keep pace with broad market interest in cryptocurrencies and other digital assets. This article summarizes recent developments by lawmakers and regulatory authorities in certain key jurisdictions around the globe, including Israel, (other than the United States, which is the subject of a separate article [Payment Systems and Electronic Fund Transfers Guide 100:800]) and the related impact on the market for cryptocurrencies and other digital assets. The regulations and guidance noted in this article are applicable only with the specified jurisdiction. Consequently, global or multi-jurisdictional offerings or sales of tokens must take into account the local law of each jurisdiction in which the tokens are being offered, sold or otherwise distributed.

Click here to read the full article by GT Blockchain & Crytocurrency Practice Co-Chair Barbara Jones, originally published by Thomson Reuters Westlaw.

Greenberg Traurig Opens in Milan as Greenberg Traurig Santa Maria; Celebrates 10th Anniversary of London Office

Posted in Firm News

MILAN, 1 July 2019 – Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP, one of the largest in the United States, has opened in Milan, Italy, its 41st office worldwide and its fifth in Europe, as Greenberg Traurig Santa Maria. Today the firm also celebrates the 10th anniversary of its dynamic and growing London office.

In May, the global firm announced it would combine with its longstanding ally Santa Maria Studio Legale, an elite Italian boutique, and simultaneously add stars in the real estate and finance fields in Milan.

“On July 1, during 2009, a challenging time in global markets, we opened our doors in the United Kingdom with a small group of brave souls, including Paul Maher and Fiona Adams. Paul is now a Vice Chair of our firm and continues to be a leading M&A lawyer, Fiona is the Managing Shareholder of the office and a Co-Chair of our Global Corporate Practice. It is fitting that today we celebrate still another significant milestone in the firm’s history,” said Richard A. Rosenbaum, Executive Chairman of Greenberg Traurig.

Click here to read the full release.

Greenberg Traurig Represents Volvo Group Venture Capital in Mobility Start-Ups Investment

Posted in Firm News, Investments, Israel, Startup Nation, Startups, Tel Aviv, Venture Capital

Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, led by Tel Aviv office Managing Shareholder Joey T. Shabot and Of Counsel Ephraim Schmeidler, represented Volvo Group Venture Capital in its investment in Next Gear Ventures, a Tel Aviv-based early-stage venture capital fund focusing on Israeli mobility start-up companies.

GT congratulates Volvo on closing this key investment!

Click here to read more about the deal.

Proposed Regulations for Qualified Foreign Pension Funds that are Exempt from U.S. Tax on Disposition of U.S. Real Property Interests

Posted in Investments, Israel, Tax

The Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980, as amended (FIRPTA), imposes tax on gain realized on disposition by nonresident alien individuals or foreign corporations (non-U.S. persons) of a U.S. real property interests (USRPI) by treating such gain as effectively connected with the conduct of a U.S. trade or business by such non-U.S. persons (effectively connected income, or ECI). The FIRPTA tax is enforced by requiring the purchaser (or other transferees) of a USRPI from a foreign person to withhold an applicable percentage (generally 15%) of the gross proceeds and pay over to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). On June 7, 2019, the IRS and the Treasury Department issued proposed regulations (the Proposed Regulations) on Section 897(l) of the Internal Revenue Code (the Code) that provides an exemption from the FIRPTA tax for qualified foreign pension funds (QFPF) on gains or losses attributable to dispositions of USRPI. The Proposed Regulations provide rules for determining the qualification for the exemption under Section 897(l), including certain organizational structures that are eligible for such exemption. The Proposed Regulations also clarify certification and documentation requirements with respect to withholding obligations under Sections 1445 and 1446. In addition, the Proposed Regulations provide certain anti-avoidance rules by imposing conditions on the sale of certain investment vehicles wholly owned by a QFPF.

Click here to read the full GT Alert.

Illinois Senate Gaming Expansion

Posted in Gaming, Israel, Technology

Introduction (by Joey T. Shabot)

Israeli technology companies providing software, payment, and other solutions for the gaming industry are closely watching regulatory trends related to online gaming in different jurisdictions throughout the world. This legal update from our colleagues in Illinois may point to a trend in some U.S. states to permit online and mobile wagering.


The Illinois Senate passed the gaming expansion bill June 2, 2019, and sent the legislation to the governor’s desk. This GT Alert provides a general summary of the gaming expansion bill followed by a more detailed review of the Sports Wagering Act (the Act). We will continue to monitor the response to the legislation in the coming days and will update this Alert as clarifications and new interpretations become available. The Senate has 30 days from June 2 to present the bill to Governor Pritzker; however, we anticipate that the governor will receive the bill shortly. It is also expected that the governor will not wait the allotted 60 days to sign the bill into law.

Click here to read the full GT Alert.

Latest U.S. Trade Restrictions Target Huawei

Posted in China, Homeland Security, Technology, telecommunications

During the week of May 13, 2019, the Trump administration announced two new measures that have the potential to cut off certain foreign companies, particularly Chinese technology company Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., from the U.S. technology and telecommunications market. These provisions follow legislation passed in 2018 prohibiting U.S. government agencies and contractors from using Huawei products and reflect a heightened concern regarding the national security risks associated with non-U.S. entities’ involvement in the U.S. technology and telecommunications sectors.

On May 16, 2019, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) filed a Federal Register notice adding Huawei, along with 68 of Huawei’s non-U.S. affiliates, to its Entity List. The Entity List identifies companies that BIS reasonably believes to be involved in “activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.”

On May 15, 2019, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order on Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain. The new Executive Order (E.O.) establishes the legal authority to prohibit certain transactions involving “information and communications technology or services” where a foreign party acquires an interest in property subject to U.S. jurisdiction. While the E.O. does not mention any specific country or company, recent events strongly suggest that Chinese companies generally, and Huawei specifically, may be targets of the new E.O.

Click here to read the full GT Alert.

Retail Innovation Booming in Israel

Posted in Emerging Growth Companies, Israel, Retail, Tel Aviv, Venture Capital

Retail innovation is booming in Israel and corporate executives best take notice, as reported in a recent Forbes article. Hardly the first time Forbes has taken notice, this most recent article was inspired by a major retailer CEO’s visit to Israel. The article lists the staggering numbers boasted by Israel’s impressive retail technology start-up scene and advises, “if you are a retail executive, and you have yet to visit to Israel, it is time to book your ticket.”

Greenberg Traurig is the only major international law firm with a multidisciplinary, registered office in Tel Aviv and serves as a gateway for Israeli businesses and entrepreneurs seeking opportunities around the world, as well as for companies exploring opportunities within Israel. Our Emerging Technology Practice offers clients the global reach of Greenberg Traurig’s international network, connecting Israel’s booming technology scene to major commercial retail investors across the globe.

For more on emerging tech in Israel, click here.

New DOJ Guidance: What Is Your Compliance Program Worth?

Posted in Anti-Money Laundering, Banking & Finance, Banking & Financial Services, compliance, Corporate

On April 30, 2019, to provide greater transparency into prosecution decisions, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) published “The Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs,” an update to its February 2017 guidance on the same topic. The new guidance complements the principles previously described by DOJ’s Fraud Section that prosecutors should consider when “conducting an investigation of a corporation, determining whether to bring charges, and negotiating plea or other agreements.” According to the Justice Manual, those factors include “the adequacy and effectiveness of the corporation’s compliance program at the time of the offense, as well as at the time of a charging decision” and the corporation’s remedial efforts “to implement an adequate and effective corporate compliance program or to improve an existing one.” The new guidance attempts to provide more detail as to how DOJ will evaluate corporate compliance programs in this context while better harmonizing the Criminal Division’s guidance with the rest of the department.

The guidance is organized in a comprehensive fashion under three basic, overarching questions that compliance departments should consider:

  1. Is the corporation’s compliance program well designed?
  2. Is the program being applied earnestly and in good faith? In other words, is the program being implemented effectively?
  3. Does the corporation’s compliance program work in practice?

Click here to read the full GT Alert.