As a battle rages on in Nanterre, west of Paris, over the estate of Johnny Hallyday, who is best known as the “French Elvis”, and spills out across the pages of the tabloid press in France, we offer a view from Hallyday’s adopted home, Los Angeles, California. It is, after all, the central question of this affair whether a will and trust executed in California under California law, which was intended to dispose of assets that include Hallyday’s properties in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, will be respected or tossed aside as a violation of French forced-heirship laws. The saga of the Hallyday case is a cautionary tale for French nationals who reside outside of France or who have property or assets outside of France, or for foreigners who may be considered domiciliaries of France (or other nations with inheritance laws that differ from France), as well as for members of their families whose inheritance may be caught in between. Continue Reading
Imagine telling your company’s Board of Directors that the company will have to knowingly violate the law. Further, you might note, the American Law Institute’s Principles of Corporate Governance state that, with very limited exceptions, a director who knowingly causes the corporation to disobey the law violates his duty of care. The protections of the Business Judgement Rule may not be available to a board member who, charged with navigating the Scylla and Charybdis of a conflict of laws, steers right into the shoals of noncompliance.
Beginning August 6, that will be the situation facing the thousands of companies that are subject to U.S. sanctions on Iran and to EU regulations blocking those sanctions. While it appears to be a stark choice, some nuances to the regulations may make navigating the narrow straights of the conflict of laws a less Odyssean and more practically manageable. Continue Reading
All this past week, you have been hearing about FIRRMA, the new legislation that will increase the powers of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States that is expected to be signed into law in the coming weeks. As we predicted here and here on our Global Trade Law Blog, FIRRMA will authorize CFIUS to review non-controlling investments by foreign companies, to enhance restrictions on investment in certain “critical technology,” to target real estate deals in proximity to sensitive U.S. Government sites, and to require mandatory filings for certain investments by foreign government-owned entities. Continue Reading
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday, July 10, expanding and increasing the powers of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The bill is called the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA).
The 400-2 passage in the House shows an overwhelming bipartisan momentum behind FIRRMA and signals that the bill is likely to be on the President’s desk for signature as soon as the House and Senate reconcile their versions. The timing of the actions is not coincidental. It appears that the Trump Administration has decided to let Congress take the lead on increasing scrutiny of foreign investments. Continue Reading
French investments in the U.S. vary largely in terms of scale and nature, but whatever it is a small French startup only creating an even smaller U.S. subsidiary or a large French corporation acquiring and restructuring an even larger U.S. group, they all face the same hurdle at some point: opening a U.S. bank account to run their newly-created or newly-acquired business.
Be aware that U.S. banks require corporations, partnerships and LLCs to have an Employer Identification Number (“EIN”) to open an account. Therefore, until you have an EIN, you cannot open a bank account, which could affect your transaction’s agenda, especially in deals where time is of essence (which is almost always the case). Continue Reading
On June 21, 2018, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., overturning a 26 year-old decision holding that a retailer must have a physical presence in a state in order to have a sales or use tax collection obligation. The Wayfair decision has an immediate and major impact on retailers of all sizes, but also leaves open numerous unanswered questions. Continue Reading
The Bureau of Economics and Analysis of the U.S. Department of Commerce (BEA) conducts researches and analysis on foreign direct investments in the United States quarterly, annually and every five-year. Foreign investors should be acquainted with its requirements, more specifically, its BE-13 and BE-15 forms. Continue Reading