Stephen Heifetz

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Stephen Heifetz helps clients navigate laws and policies at the nexus of international business and security.   He has worked in senior levels of the federal government and uses that experience to provide counseling regarding legal compliance and political risk, conduct internal investigations, and defend against government investigations and enforcement actions.  He is particularly experienced in foreign investment reviews by CFIUS, Department of Defense NISPOM and FOCI rules, anti-money laundering laws, economic sanctions administered by OFAC and the UN, and travel and cargo screening programs administered by the Department of Homeland Security.  Prior to joining Steptoe, Mr. Heifetz served in the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as well as the Central Intelligence Agency.  In his most recent government position, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Policy Development at DHS.  Mr. Heifetz shaped DHS’s role in CFIUS, conducted hundreds of CFIUS reviews, and negotiated many “risk mitigation agreements” that CFIUS deemed necessary to approve foreign investments.

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Latest Articles

The Trump administration is making significant changes to longstanding trade policies. Among the flashpoints is the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”), responsible for national security reviews of certain inbound foreign investments.  Since President Trump assumed office, the Committee has taken an increasingly critical eye to many transactions, scuttling an increasing number of deals and recommending that the president take action to block the Lattice Semiconductor/Canyon Bridge deal. Given this period of…
The European Commission issued on September 13th 2017 a Proposal for a Regulation establishing a framework on the screening of foreign direct investments (FDI) into the EU. The objective of this proposal is two-fold: pushing third countries to open their domestic markets to EU investments, and protecting EU assets against foreign takeovers detrimental to the essential interests of the EU or of its Member States.  The Commission proposes to achieve this by introducing information…
As many CFIUS-watchers were expecting, the President has just blocked the Lattice Semiconductor/Canyon Bridge deal.  CFIUS recommended that the President take this action because of national security concerns, and no President has refused to follow such a blocking recommendation by CFIUS. In most cases, where CFIUS has made such a recommendation, the parties have abandoned the deal rather than waiting for the President to act.  This is only the fourth time that parties to a…
On July 19, 2017, Steptoe’s Stephen Heifetz authored an article titled “The CFIUS Calculus Has Changed — In More Ways Than One” for Law360.  The piece reviews how changes to CFIUS in the Trump administration, including stricter calculation of national security risk, may in turn impact the decision that companies make when determining whether to file with the committee.  What was originally designed as a process to assure a company that it poses no threat…
President Trump’s recent exasperated tweet at China – suggesting China is not doing enough to stop North Korea’s nuclear efforts and rogue behavior – was followed last week by financial sanctions on Chinese supporters of North Korea.  On June 29, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) placed on its list of Specially Designated Nationals (“SDNs”) two Chinese nationals and one Chinese-North Korean transport company.  In addition, Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”)…
The Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”) has announced the continued suspension of countermeasures against Iran. FATF, the international standards setting body for anti-money laundering (“AML”) and combating the financing of terrorism (“CFT”), maintains a list of high-risk and non-cooperative jurisdictions that may be subject to calls for enhanced due diligence and countermeasures.  Iran was previously subject to FATF calls for countermeasures, but the organization granted a temporary suspension in June of 2016 after Iran committed…
Banamex USA (“BUSA”) has agreed to forfeit $97.44 million and enter into a non-prosecution agreement with the US Department of Justice (“DOJ”) to resolve Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) violations.  BUSA is owned by Citigroup Inc. and is a leading money transmitter specializing in sending remittances from the US to Mexico.  The agreement, announced on May 22, also obligates BUSA and Citigroup to report any evidence or allegations of BSA or anti-money laundering (“AML”) violations…
On May 4, 2017, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced an agreement with former MoneyGram Chief Compliance Officer Thomas Haider to settle claims under the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”). FinCEN initially assessed a $1 million civil monetary penalty against Mr. Haider in December of 2014, which the U.S. Attorney for the South District of New…
Financial institutions long have complained that current anti-money laundering (AML) regulations are costly and ill-suited to prevent crime and terrorism. According to one study, the cost of compliance with AML rules approaches $8 billion. The rise in compliance costs has coincided with a sharp increase in both the number and amount of penalties assessed by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).…
In this age of heightened national security concerns, it might seem farfetched that an FBI field office was being housed in a foreign owned building. Yet, according to a new Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) report, it is not only true but a fairly common phenomenon. On January 30, 2017, the GAO released a new report entitled “GSA Should Inform Tenant Agencies When Leasing High-Security Space from Foreign Owners.” The report found that the General Services…