Brian Egan

Brian Egan

Brian Egan advises on a number of international legal issues that affect US and foreign clients, including economic sanctions, export controls, and anti-money laundering programs; national security trade and investment reviews; international arbitration and other cross-border disputes; international cybersecurity and data privacy; and issues of public international law. He has worked in various senior legal positions for the US government, giving him keen insight into domestic and international legal matters that influence US government national security and foreign relations policies and programs. Before joining Steptoe, Brian served as the Legal Adviser to the US Department of State, the Legal Adviser to the National Security Council, Deputy White House Counsel, and Assistant General Counsel for Enforcement and Intelligence with the US Department of the Treasury. Brian has regularly appeared in public fora to speak on international legal issues, including testifying before Congress, public speaking engagements, and panel presentations.

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FinCEN Issues New Advisory on BSA/AML Obligations Related to Virtual Currency

On May 9, 2019, the US Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) published long-awaited guidance addressing how FinCEN regulations apply to what the agency calls “convertible virtual currency” (CVC), which covers most types of cryptocurrencies and crypto-tokens. The guidance focuses on: Platforms engaged in exchange transactions involving securities, commodities, or futures contracts and … Continue Reading

We Finally Have an Export Control Statute – What Does It Mean for Industry?

Steptoe’s Brian Egan and Peter Jeydel authored a Feature Comment in The Government Contractor, a Thomson Reuters publication, discussing the provisions of the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 that are most likely to have a lasting impact on industry. US and international companies should take careful note of the enduring changes to export controls … Continue Reading

When Dating Becomes a National Security Concern: CFIUS Forces Sale of Chinese Owned Dating App

In recent weeks, Reuters and other media outlets have reported that Beijing Kunlun Tech Co., Ltd. (Kunlun), the owner of the popular gay dating app Grindr, was seeking to sell the app due to concerns raised by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). CFIUS is the interagency US government committee with … Continue Reading

Coming Soon: New Export Controls on China?

Lost in the recent US-China trade headlines about tariffs, indictments, trade secrets theft, cyber espionage and other matters is a potentially important development lurking in last year’s US export controls statute. Essentially, Congress has directed the Executive Branch to review the current scope of US export controls on China and other countries subject to arms embargoes, and … Continue Reading

Venezuela Sanctions and Brazil’s Leadership

This Tuesday, March 19, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions on CVG Compañía General de Minería de Venezuela CA (Minerven), the Venezuelan state-run ferrous metals mining company, and its President, Adrian Antonio Perdomo Mata. The addition of Minerven and Mr. Perdomo Mata to the OFAC Specially Designated Nationals … Continue Reading

Venezuela Challenge to US Sanctions Escalates at WTO

Next week, the World Trade Organization (WTO) will consider Venezuela’s request for the establishment of a panel to decide whether US sanctions affecting Venezuela violate international trade law. In December, Venezuela filed its second ever complaint at the World Trade Organization challenging US sanctions. Specifically, Venezuela claimed that the US imposed “coercive trade-restrictive measures” in … Continue Reading

European Commission Adds US Territories to “Dirty Money” List in Departure from FATF

On February 13, the European Commission adopted a new list of “high-risk” jurisdictions that the Commission identified as posing significant threats to the European Union’s financial system as a result of strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CFT) frameworks.  In addition to countries like North Korea, Iran, and Syria, the list also … Continue Reading

Secretary Pompeo: More Russia Sanctions Are Coming … Sometime

On February 13, 2019, the State Department provided a summary of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, which stated that “Secretary Pompeo reiterated the U.S. determination to hold Russia accountable for its use of a chemical weapon in Salisbury, UK through sanctions as required by the CBW … Continue Reading

UBS Financial Services Agrees to Pay $14.5 Million to Resolve Anti-Money Laundering Violations

On December 17, 2018, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) announced that UBS Financial Services, Inc. (“UBS”) had entered into a consent agreement to resolve violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). UBS is a global firm providing financial services in over 50 countries, including the U.S.  As part of this agreement, UBS will pay … Continue Reading

Administration Moves Toward Strengthening Export Controls and Investment Restrictions on “Emerging Technologies”

Yesterday the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) took its first step towards a potentially significant expansion of U.S. export controls by publishing a Federal Register notice soliciting public comments on how the U.S. government should regulate the export of “emerging technologies.” Under the Export Controls Reform Act of 2018 (ECRA), … Continue Reading

Treasury Sanctions 17 Saudi Officials, though not the Crown Prince, in the Killing of Jamal Khashoggi

On November 15, OFAC imposed economic sanctions against 17 Saudi officials for their participation in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Khashoggi, a journalist and “royal insider-turned-critic of Saudi policy”, was murdered at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on October 2, 2018. Among the men designated in yesterday’s action are Saud Al-Qahtani—a top aide … Continue Reading

U.S. Reimposes Sanctions and Then Some, as Iran Warns of “War Situation”

On November 5, 2018, the U.S. government reimposed the remaining sanctions on Iran that were previously lifted under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2016.  Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added over 700 Iranian entities, individuals, vessels, and aircrafts to the list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (“SDN List”), … Continue Reading

Treasury Creates CFIUS Pilot Program and Releases Interim Regulations as Initial Step Toward Implementing FIRRMA Reforms

As a first step to implementing the wide-ranging Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 (FIRRMA) that was enacted in August 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury on October 10, 2018 issued an interim rule to launch a “pilot program” to expand the jurisdiction of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United … Continue Reading

US Withdraws from Treaty of Amity with Iran after International Court of Justice Imposes Limited Provisional Measures Against US Iran Sanctions

On October 3, 2018, the International Court of Justice (“ICJ” or the “Court”), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, issued an Order ruling partly in favor of Iran on Iran’s request for provisional measures against the US for its May 8, 2018 withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”) and re-imposition … Continue Reading

OFAC Adds Additional Names to SDN List under Venezuela Program

On September 25, 2018, OFAC added six individuals, three entities, and an aircraft to the SDN list (link to press release here).  These designations appear to be motivated by a continued effort to pressure the Maduro government to change its policies.  The press release notes that, “By the end of 2018, hyperinflation in Venezuela is … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Sanctions Key Chinese Military Entity under Russia Authorities

On September 20, 2018, the State Department announced sanctions on China’s Equipment Development Department (EDD) (formerly known as the General Armaments Department (GAD)) and its director, Li Shangfu, for engaging in significant transactions with Russia’s Rosoboronexport for the delivery to China of Su-35 combat aircraft in 2017 and equipment for S-400 surface-to-air missile systems in … Continue Reading

US State Department Announces New Russia Sanctions

On August 8, 2018, the US State Department announced that it would be imposing new sanctions on Russia pursuant to the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act).  The new sanctions are in response to a determination by the US government that the Russian government was behind the recent … Continue Reading

Certain Iran Sanctions Reimposed after 90-Day “Wind-Down” Period Ends

President Trump issued an Executive Order today re-imposing and, in some cases, expanding sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the 2016 nuclear deal (the “JCPOA”), as today marked the end of the first “wind-down” period of 90 days following the President’s May 8 announcement that the US would no longer honor its sanctions … Continue Reading

Congress Agrees on Final Text of CFIUS Reform Bill

Earlier this week, negotiators from the House and Senate reached agreement on what will very likely be the final text of the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA), which will be part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (NDAA). FIRRMA seeks to overhaul the Committee on Foreign Investment in the … Continue Reading

U.S. Rejects European Requests for Exemptions to Iran Sanctions

Since President Trump’s announcement, on May 8, that the United States would withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”) and re-impose previously lifted sanctions against Iran, the remaining JCPOA signatories have been scrambling to save the agreement. On June 4, officials from the UK, Germany, France, and the EU sent a letter to … Continue Reading

AML CDD Rule for Certain U.S. Financial Institutions Effective Today

The FinCEN Customer Due Diligence Requirements for Financial Institutions, known as the CDD Rule or the “Fifth Pillar,” becomes effective today for certain covered U.S. Financial Institutions.  This CDD Rule, which amends U.S. Bank Secrecy Act regulations, seeks to improve financial transparency and prevent money laundering/terrorist financing.  The CDD Rule applies to covered U.S. financial … Continue Reading

OFAC Eases Maintenance/Wind-Down and Divestment Restrictions in New General Licenses

On May 1, OFAC issued two amended general licenses under the Ukraine-Related Sanctions Regulations (URSR). General License No. 12B, superseding General License No. 12A, authorizes additional activities necessary to the maintenance and winding down of operations or existing contracts. General License No. 13A, superseding General License No. 13, authorizes certain additional transactions necessary to divest … Continue Reading

ZTE Denial Order Imposed

On April 16, 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) imposed a denial order involving Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation of Shenzhen, China (ZTE Corporation) and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd of Hi-New Shenzhen, China (ZTE Kangxun).  The denial order, effective immediately, restricts ZTE Corporation and ZTE Kangxun from participating in any … Continue Reading

How Far Can the U.S. Take Trade and Investment Restrictions on China?

Very far, under existing U.S. law. The authority already available to the President under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) is vast, and could be applied to Chinese investments with the (relatively) simple declaration of a national emergency related to such investments.  Reports have already been swirling about a plan by the Trump Administration … Continue Reading
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