United States: Global Tax Enforcement in 2016: What You Need To Know

The investigation and prosecution of tax evasion has, in the last decade, grown from a specialized subcategory of law enforcement into a first-tier policy concern for the global community. Starting with the U.S. government's crackdown on Swiss bank UBS in 2008, there has been a steady drumbeat of news about prosecutions of financial institutions, bankers, and taxpayers. This drumbeat has coincided with the public's frustration with the slow growth of most of the world's economies over the last decade and the related problem of governments' budgetary troubles. Cracking down on offshore tax evasion is a relatively uncontroversial source of new revenue.

What You Need to Know

Financial institutions, bankers, professional advisers, and taxpayers need to understand that stepped-up global tax enforcement has made the financial world smaller and more transparent. To deal with this new environment, actors must prepare themselves before enforcement authorities arrive at their doorsteps. With worldwide financial institutions having begun to report U.S. account information to the IRS in March 2015, the time to seek professional advice and to take action is now.

Banks in the Crosshairs

The U.S. government's pursuit of financial institutions continues, with no signs of abating. Financial institutions need to prepare themselves for U.S. enforcement activity by evaluating their policies and procedures, bringing them up to current standards, and drawing a clear temporal line between present compliance and any possibly inappropriate past practices.

The current era of tax enforcement against banks began when the U.S. government's investigation of UBS became public in 2008. In February 2009, UBS entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and agreed to cease its U.S. cross-border business and pay a fine of $780 million. While this ended UBS's troubles with the U.S. authorities over assisting U.S. taxpayers in evading taxes (leaving aside the widely reported 2015 tax evasion investigation of UBS over bearer securities), it signaled the beginning of the U.S. government's attack on financial institutions that may have assisted their clients in violating U.S. tax laws. After UBS, the U.S. government turned its attention to Wegelin & Co., Pictet & Cie, Neue Zuercher Bank, Credit Suisse Group AG, Basler Kantonalbank, Bank Julius Baer, Bank Frey, Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot, Liechtensteinische Landesbank AG, swisspartners, CIBC FirstCaribbean, HSBC India, and Bank of Butterfield.

Of these banks, Wegelin pleaded guilty to a felony, paid a fine of $58 million, agreed to a civil forfeiture of $16 million, and ceased operations in 2013. Before even being charged, Bank Frey announced in 2013 that it would cease operations. Credit Suisse was convicted in federal court in 2014 of a felony and paid a fine of $2.6 billion, dwarfing UBS's then-astonishing $780 million fine. Instead of seeking felony convictions, the DOJ has typically entered into deferred prosecution agreements, and rarely non-prosecution agreements, with foreign financial institutions that it has prosecuted criminally.

Since the demise of Arthur Andersen after the Enron scandal, the DOJ's policy has been to take into account the collateral harm to innocent employees and shareholders when deciding whether to indict business entities. The DOJ made exceptions for Wegelin and Credit Suisse on the ground that their behavior was especially culpable.

In a twist on the DOJ's use of deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements, on August 29, 2013, the DOJ Tax Division announced a voluntary disclosure program for Swiss banks. The Program for Swiss Banks, as it is called, was the product of an agreement between the U.S. and Swiss governments to encourage all Swiss banks to admit their role in U.S. tax evasion. In exchange, the participating banks would receive non-prosecution agreements and pay substantial monetary penalties. Only Swiss banks that were not then under DOJ criminal investigation were eligible. To participate, Swiss banks had to fully disclose their cross-border activities; provide detailed information on U.S. taxpayers' accounts; and pay a penalty of 20, 30, or 50 percent of the maximum value of all non-disclosed U.S. accounts that were held by the banks, depending on when the accounts were opened. According to the DOJ, 106 of the approximately 300 Swiss banks chose to enter the program. As of the end of 2015, approximately half of the banks have reached nonprosecution agreements with the DOJ. Many speculate that the DOJ will try to replicate this program's success in other countries, resulting in large numbers of banks outside of Switzerland turning over detailed information on U.S. taxpayers' accounts.

Our position on the front lines of the crackdown on financial institutions has taught us that banks that began to change their behavior immediately after the UBS deferred prosecution agreement stand in better stead with the authorities than banks that continued to conduct business as usual. The later in time that our client financial institutions changed their policies and practices, the stiffer the penalties they faced. The lesson here is clear: Either be prepared to defend your actions as legal or get out ahead of the authorities by making the necessary changes immediately.

Prosecution of Bankers, Lawyers, and Financial Advisors

Since 2008, the DOJ has publicly charged a few dozen bankers, lawyers, and financial advisors. As of the end of 2015, more than half of them remain fugitives. Being a fugitive means being unable to travel to or through any countries that extradite to the U.S. for tax crimes. For the majority of the fugitives, this means essentially being confined to Switzerland indefinitely. The banks, lawyers, and financial advisors that have answered their charges in the U.S. have either pleaded guilty and cooperated with the U.S. authorities or been convicted at trial, with two exceptions: One Swiss banker and one Israeli banker have been acquitted at trial.

The acquitted Swiss banker was UBS's Raoul Weil. He was a fugitive in Switzerland from the time of his indictment in 2009 until he was arrested in 2013, when he made the mistake of going to Italy on vacation. In a major surprise to the U.S. government, a Florida jury found Weil not guilty on November 3, 2014.

Charging and prosecuting bankers, lawyers, and financial advisors allows the U.S. government to hold individuals responsible for assisting tax evasion. This, in turn, allows the government to satisfy an angry public by putting people in prison. Deferred prosecution agreements of corporate entities do not afford the same measure of retributive satisfaction. Recognizing the public's growing discomfort with corporate prosecutions resulting in no one spending time in prison, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates issued a memorandum to DOJ prosecutors on September 9, 2015. In the so-called Yates Memo, she emphasized the DOJ's strong interest in holding individuals accountable for corporate crime, calling on the DOJ to "fully leverage its resources to identify culpable individuals at all levels in corporate cases."

Experience teaches that any banker or adviser who is not prepared to risk indictment and trial should seriously consider approaching the authorities about a cooperation agreement. The U.S. government prosecutes individuals without the policy restrictions that cause it to spare financial institutions the full consequences of criminal convictions. The only bankers and advisers who have avoided prosecution have done so by offering full cooperation to the authorities. This is not to say that the government is invulnerable to attack in these cases. When an individual is willing to put the government to its proof at trial, legal counsel with experience in this area can make a conviction far from a foregone conclusion.

Prosecutions of U.S. Taxpayers

The U.S. government's push to end offshore tax evasion has included numerous prosecutions of U.S. taxpayers. These taxpayers have held accounts at banks in Switzerland, Israel, and India, among other countries. The courts have imposed sentences that the government would view as lenient, but a felony conviction for an otherwise-law-abiding individual is devastating. The government has appealed at least one sentence in an offshore bank account prosecution. On January 14, 2014, Ty Warner, the billionaire creator of Beanie Babies, received a sentence of two years' probation after having pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago sentenced Warner to no jail time in spite of his admission that he willfully concealed bank accounts at UBS and Zürcher Kantonalbank of Switzerland that held as much as $107 million, generated $24 million in unreported income, and created a tax loss to the government of $5 million. The government appealed the sentence as unreasonably low, but on July 10, 2015, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the sentence. The IRS is unlikely to announce which taxpayers it will target next, but an official from the IRS Small Business/Self-Employed Division (SB/SE) announced on November 9, 2013, that the IRS's Special Enforcement Program (SEP) would focus its resources on examining U.S. taxpayers suspected of holding undeclared accounts at Indian banks. The IRS has called Indian bank accounts the next phase of its offshore compliance crackdown.

Individuals with unreported foreign bank or financial accounts are in serious and potentially immediate jeopardy of criminal investigation and prosecution. They should seek counsel to evaluate their options.

John Doe Summonses

In the last decade, the IRS has greatly increased its use of the so-called John Doe summons. The IRS routinely uses traditional summonses in tax investigations to develop evidence. Traditional summonses are of limited use in identifying unknown taxpayers with offshore bank accounts. This is because a traditional summons must identify the taxpayer whose conduct is at issue. The John Doe summons is perfectly tailored to the IRS's effort to identify account holders. It allows the IRS to seek information on an entire class of taxpayers whose identities are unknown. In exchange for not having to identify the subject taxpayers, the law requires that a federal district judge authorize the issuance of the summons.

The IRS issued John Doe summonses to UBS in 2008 and 2011. Because UBS has operations in the U.S., the IRS was able to serve the summonses on UBS directly. The IRS has also issued John Doe summonses for information held by banks that have no presence in the U.S. The key to serving a summons on a bank that operates wholly outside the U.S. is the correspondent bank. Any bank in the world that wishes to allow its customers to hold U.S.-dollar-denominated accounts and conduct transactions in U.S. dollars must have access to the U.S. banking system. This requires foreign banks to open accounts at banks in the U.S., known as correspondent banks. The IRS then simply serves its John Doe summonses on the correspondent banks. The foreign banks' U.S. correspondent accounts will have records of checks, drafts, and wires sent to U.S. taxpayers or their accounts at other U.S. banks.

For example, on December 19, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California authorized the IRS to issue John Doe summonses to HSBC USA, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, FedEx, DHL, UPS, and Western Union. These summonses require the recipients to produce information about U.S. taxpayers who may be evading taxes by using the services of Sovereign Management & Legal Ltd. The IRS and the DOJ alleged that Sovereign is "a multi-jurisdictional offshore services provider that offers clients, among other things, the formation and administration of anonymous corporations and foundations in Panama as well as offshore entities. Related services provided by Sovereign include the maintenance and operation of offshore structures, mail forwarding, the availability of virtual offices, re-invoicing, and the provision of professional managers who appoint themselves directors of the client's entity while the client maintains ultimate control over the assets." The IRS and the DOJ alleged that Sovereign used FedEx, DHL, and UPS to correspond with its U.S. clients and used Western Union to transmit funds to them. According to the IRS and the DOJ, HSBC USA and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York were likely to have records of Sovereign's transactions.

On November 12, 2013, the IRS issued John Doe summonses for information on U.S. taxpayers at the U.S. correspondent banks of Zürcher Kantonalbank in Switzerland and the Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son Ltd. in the Bahamas, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Malta, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The U.S. correspondent banks were Bank of New York Mellon, Citibank NA, JPMorgan Chase Bank NA, HSBC Bank USA NA, and Bank of America NA. The government supported its application for the John Doe summonses with evidence that the IRS received from U.S. taxpayers who entered the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program ("OVDP").

On April 29, 2013, the government issued a John Doe summons to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce FirstCaribbean International Bank ("FCIB"). The government again based its application for the John Doe summons on information submitted by FCIB customers who participated in the OVDP.

The U.S. government also used a John Doe summons to pursue U.S. taxpayers in India. On April 7, 2011, a federal court granted the IRS's and DOJ's request for a John Doe summons to require HSBC India to turn over information on U.S. taxpayers "who at any time during the years ended December 31, 2002 through December 31, 2010, directly or indirectly had interests in or signature or other authority" over "financial accounts maintained at, monitored by, or managed through The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited in India (HSBC India)."

In its application for the summons, the DOJ asserted that there were 9,000 U.S. residents of Indian origin who had at least a $100,000 balance in their accounts at HSBC India. In contrast, for calendar year 2009, the most recent year for which information was available, there were only 1,391 FBARs ("Reports of Foreign Bank Accounts") filed, disclosing 1,921 accounts at HSBC India.

In the last decade, we have seen the IRS, the DOJ, and the courts become far more willing to use these tools. We believe that the use of John Doe summonses is likely to continue and even increase. Courts have been seemingly eager to authorize their issuance, and they are highly effective at producing evidence for use in civil and criminal tax investigations and prosecutions. Any financial institution that receives a John Doe summons should immediately consult with qualified counsel. Similarly, any account holder who receives notice from his or her bank that it has received a John Doe summons should prepare to face civil or criminal enforcement.

FATCA

Angered by the brazen offshore tax evasion that the UBS scandal brought to light, Congress enacted FATCA in 2010 as part of the Hiring Incentives to Reduce Unemployment Act "HIRE Act". Its purpose was to force foreign financial institutions ("FFIs") to report their U.S. customers to the IRS or face 30% withholding on any payments that they received from a U.S. source. Foreign financial institutions had to be FATCA compliant by July 1, 2014, or they would face 30% withholding. To relieve some of the compliance burden, the U.S. government allowed FATCA partner countries to enter into intergovernmental agreements ("IGAs") with the United States. These agreements simplify compliance and provide alternative reporting arrangements for FFIs in countries whose privacy laws prevent direct reporting of U.S. customers' data to the IRS. As of the end of 2015, the Treasury has entered into IGAs with 79 countries and has reached "agreements in substance" with 28 more. So-called Model 1 IGAs require FFIs in partner countries to report tax information about U.S. account holders to their own governments instead of to the IRS. Those governments then send the information to the IRS. The vast majority of the Model 1 IGAs to date have been reciprocal. Reciprocity requires that the IRS send similar information about partner countries' citizens' U.S. accounts to their home governments. Reporting by FFIs in Model 1 IGA countries began on September 30, 2015. Only a handful of countries have entered into Model 2 IGAs. Foreign financial institutions in Model 2 IGA partner countries report information on U.S. account holders directly to the IRS. Reporting to the IRS began on March 31, 2015, for FFIs in Model 2 IGA countries and non-IGA countries.

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Common Reporting Standard

While some have called FATCA an example of U.S. government overreach, the OECD has taken inspiration from FATCA and proposed an even more sweeping regime called the Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information, commonly known as the Common Reporting Standard. Like FATCA, the Common Reporting Standard calls for automatic, rather than onrequest, exchange of account information. Its reach is far greater than FATCA's though, as 93 countries have so far committed to exchange information about their citizens' financial accounts. Due to the need for legislation, the U.S. is not one of those countries and will engage in information exchange via the FATCA IGA route. Reporting will function similarly to FATCA Model 1 IGA reporting. Financial institutions will report account information to their own countries' authorities, which will then automatically exchange the information with partner countries. Some "early adopter" jurisdictions will begin collecting account information on January 1, 2016. Exchange of information will begin in 2017 or 2018, depending on the jurisdiction.

FATCA and the Common Reporting Standard will require financial institutions worldwide to undertake major operational and technological changes. Although the lawenforcement focus of FATCA and the Common Reporting Standard is on account holders, our financial institution clients have faced the greatest enforcement risk from information that those very account holders have provided to the authorities. The unhappy account holders whose information the banks provide to the authorities will not hesitate to blame their tax noncompliance on their banks and professional advisers. It would be naïve to think otherwise. FATCA and the Common Reporting Standard therefore present not only logistical issues for financial institutions, but also potential exposure to criminal enforcement actions.

Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program and Streamlined Alternative

The IRS's Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program ("OVDP") is currently in its third incarnation. The first OVDP was available for a limited time in 2009 and allowed taxpayers with unreported foreign bank accounts to escape criminal prosecution and annual civil penalties of 50 percent of their highest annual account balance. They simply had to fully disclose their accounts and pay, with some minor additions, 20 percent of their highest account balance during an eight-year look-back period. The second OVDP was available in 2011 and provided the same benefits in exchange for 25 percent of the taxpayer's highest account balance. Finally, in 2012 the IRS opened the current OVDP, increasing the cost to 27.5 percent of the taxpayer's highest account balance. More recently, the IRS increased the penalty to 50% for taxpayers whose accounts are at banks that the IRS has publicly identified as being under investigation.

In 2014, the IRS introduced an alternative to the OVDP called the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures. This allows certain "non-willful" taxpayers to pay either 0% or 5% of their account balance as a penalty, depending on their U.S. residency status. The OVDP and the Streamlined procedures have attracted tens of thousands of taxpayers and have resulted in billions of dollars in payments to the IRS.

Taxpayers who enter the OVDP must not only declare their accounts and pay a penalty, but they must also frequently submit to detailed questioning regarding the names of the bankers, lawyers, and other professionals who assisted them in opening and maintaining their secret accounts. The IRS and DOJ have used this information to procure John Doe summonses and indictments. Many indicted persons have in turn cooperated with the DOJ, leading to the investigation and prosecution of additional banks, bankers, lawyers, and taxpayers.

How to Protect Yourself

Our experience defending banks, financial and legal advisors, and U.S. taxpayers in global and domestic criminal tax matters has shown us that the U.S. government and foreign governments will not back down anytime soon. It is essential to partner with dedicated criminal tax counsel who can assess the exposure and determine how to address noncompliance problems when there is an investigation.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Shearman & Sterling LLP
Shearman & Sterling LLP
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Shearman & Sterling LLP
Shearman & Sterling LLP
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions