Chicago counsel Joan Koenig was recently quoted in an article in The Deal titled, “Iran and Cuba are Only Partly Back in Play.” The article discussed the easing of sanctions against Cuba and Iran by the U.S., and the impact it may have on global mergers and acquisitions.
Over the last year, the U.S. has relaxed sanctions with regard to Iran and Cuba. The change is expected to generate more interest in U.S. dealings with Iranian and Cuban businesses, as well as an increased willingness to merge with European or other non-U.S. firms.
Joan made note of the five-year statute of limitations, stating “in M&A, it's important to include sanctions compliance in your due diligence. You're buying violations from five years back. You can't carve out liability; it travels with the acquisition."
Last fall Crédit Agrcicole Corporate and Investment Back was forced to pay $330 million for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran, Cuba, Sudan and Burma.
Previously, U.S. companies were forced to immediately stop business with a non-U.S. entity if that non-U.S. entity conducted business with any country on individual on The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions list.
"There was some ability to get an OFAC license to give time to divest that business but for the most part it had to be stopped immediately,” said Joan.