New York, New York, November 30, 2018 – Last night, with a packed audience of Russian entrepreneurs and business people, George Benaur opened the event with a presentation about the recent U.S. legal developments impacting the Russian business community. Clearly, for immigrants coming to America to try to open businesses and start new lives the current political climate between Russia and the United States is not great. The news is filled with cries of wars and investigations, and yet, within this hysteria, good, young hard working folks are trying to figure out ways to make ends meet and build lives.
Based on fifteen years experience working as general counsel and litigation counsel for many such businesses and individuals, George shared his sense of the challenges that businesses face. The evolving and progressively harsh sanctions laws make it difficult to conduct business. These sanctions are not only impacting the multi-national corporations that are already expending millions on compliance, but are also effecting the small-to-medium sized companies that are trying to engage in international transactions. A person asked about a circumstance that is all too common these days. We are doing business with a CIS-republic and the bank is threatening to close our account, he said. What can they do? How can they have the funds to deal with the bank to assert their rights when they have nothing to do with politics or sanctions? How much money would it cost? These are just some of the questions that arise and the solutions are not always straightforward.
The notion of using cryptocurrency as a method of evading sanctions regulations, which has been proposed by some Russian political activists and business people, was also discussed, along with the recent prosecutions from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice. New regulations targeting the flood of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), including those coming out of Russia, we also touched on. On the more general front, we talked about the need to address legal compliance when running any company, not just an ICO.
All of these issues are highly relevant today not only for Big Business but also for small-to-medium sized companies. They require smart, practical solutions on a case-by-case basis. The event yesterday was a fantastic opportunity to come face to face with real, young, hard-working and driven individuals here in the United States and to further understand the challenges that they face and the need for solutions to the legal issues arising from the web of regulations impacting the international business community.