Mitigation of Risks of Sanctions and other Violations by Directors, Trustees and Beneficiaries

Scrutiny on offshore transactions and their participants is at an all-time high. Through an ever growing number of regulations and laws, parties to transactions and third party providers from banks to corporate service providers are required to gather and, in some circumstances, share information with governments and regulatory authorities.     For the underlying officers and entities as well as the providers, breach of these regulations and laws attract scrutiny, can spark out-of-proportion penalties and – maybe worst of all – potential severing of business services, suspension of licences, or freezing of assets and accounts, while things are sorted out.  For everyone involved there is also reputational risk.  We attempt below to draw attention to what can be done on a proactive basis to reduce risk.  This piece is not exhaustive because specific facts and circumstances can change things radically, so please contact us for specific advice before taking the leap on some of these recommendations. Dealing with sanctions breaches, we highlight the increasing scope and breadth of the directives, laws and regulations that have extended the sanctioned or restricted parties involved to include service providers such as trustees and corporate services providers.  Further it is increasingly common to use the word “connected” in reference to the transaction(s).  This is very broad and seemingly catches any reasonably involved party to a transaction.  Strict accountability is assumed at the outset with little wriggle room for mitigating circumstances.  Sanctions transactions and sanctioned parties can be particularly hard to keep track of given the sheer volume and frequency of additions and changes. Given these complicating factors, we recommend pro-active action by trustees, directors, and counterparties. The ability to provide rationale and compliance can make

CIMA Rules and Guidance for Corporate Governance for Regulated Entities

The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority’s (CIMA’s) Rule on Corporate Governance for Regulated Entities (Rule) and Statement of Guidance on Internal Controls for Regulated Entities (Guidance) comes into effect on 14 October 2023. The Rule and Guidance will replace the existing corporate governance regulatory measures. All CIMA regulated entities will be required to take action to ensure compliance.

Are your entities compliant?

The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) has recently imposed USD365,000 in administrative fines on an asset manager for breaches of the AML Regulations, serving as a timely reminder on the value of effective compliance and the importance of registered entities having effective anti-money laundering policies and procedures in place.

Directors’ Duties: Payments made by Insolvent Shipping Company

Scrutiny faced by directors of companies for possible breaches of their fiduciary duties has been further clarified by the Privy Council in a case[1] involving actions of a director leading up to the insolvency of the company.  Key takeaways regarding duties are: Ultimate responsibility for the actions of a company rests with the directors. The Privy Council dealt with the following questions regarding the actions of the director in question, Ms. Ningning Chen (Ms Chen), co-incidentally one of the Peoples’ Republic’s richest women. When does a director’s duties to a company end where insolvency (voluntary or otherwise) is in the mix? In an insolvency scenario, in whose interest should a director be acting? Case facts to give some context to the issues … The matter involved a payment made on a shipping contract referred to as a “freight forwarding agreement” (FFA) entered into by Pioneer Freight Forward Limited (PFF) a BVI company, at a time when PFF was trading insolvent.  PFF had, under the FFA, and under the authority of Ms Chen, although not directly by her, paid the amount of USD13m to a creditor.  The Privy Council found this payment to have favoured one creditor over another. The Privy Council rationalised that until PFF was formally in liquidation, and thereafter by implication until the authority over the bank accounts had been transferred to the appointed liquidators, Ms Chen had a fiduciary duty to act honestly, in good faith, and in what she believed to be in the best interests of PFF.  Specifically, she had a duty to the creditors of PFF given that PFF was trading insolvent and then after being placed in liquidation, was insolvent.  A director cannot prefer one creditor over another