Government Investigations Under Fire in a Mega-Trade Sanctions Case

Vol. 38 No. 3

The author is a partner at Holland & Hart, LLP, Denver.

Imagine you get the call. Agents are in your client’s company, taking documents, computers, machining tools, and anything else that stores data. The warrant alleges violations of trade sanctions with Iran or export controls on munitions and dual-use technologies.

We’ve been there and we sympathize. We have seen it all firsthand: multi-agency investigations with tight deadlines, a parallel criminal investigation, threatened debarment or denial of export privileges, and numerous teams of counsel working in tandem on different aspects of the defense.

We have been in the middle of expansive litigation and had to take responsibility for producing and managing sophisticated, responsive protocols and practices that included means for coordinating with other specialty counsel, sharing key data and documents, and developing proactive regulatory responses to forestall adverse action by regulators. Our representations have included criminal and civil enforcement actions involving satellite manufacturers, providers of security services in Iraq and Afghanistan, high-technology companies supporting complex defense systems, and global aerospace firms.

With the benefit of hindsight and the luxury of time for reflection, let’s examine some key aspects of this complex experience. Although the insights may appear self-evident in the calm, they easily get lost somehow in the rush of multifaceted litigation.

 

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