Competing in a New Cuba
For American attorneys, President Obama's announcement to open diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba means a dismantling of barriers that have stood between the two countries for nearly 55 years. The trade embargo remains in place but this still amounts to a large expansion on opportunities between Cuba and the U.S. This includes law firms, which for now have mostly been confined to work in a couple areas.
Partner Andres Fernandez, who leads the firm's Cuba Action Team, has an active practice helping international bank clients with headquarters outside the U.S. set up internal controls so legal banking transactions with Cuba did not flow through the U.S.
"There are financial institutions in Colombia, for example, that are permitted to do transactions in Cuba," Mr. Fernandez said. "But I have helped them to build policies, procedures and controls to make sure they don't process transactions that go through U.S. financial institutions in violation of U.S. law. They have spent lots of money building compliance programs to make sure none of these are run through the U.S. market."
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