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Friday 1 March (1420 - 1430)

Asia Pacific Regional Forum (Lead)

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Recent research by the International Bar Association has found that nearly one in two lawyers have been bullied at work, while one in three female lawyers has experienced sexual harassment. The survey-based research also identified a chronic underreporting of incidents, and found that legal workplaces are failing to adequately address concerns when they are raised – leading victims to leave their firms or the profession as a whole. The author of the IBA Legal Policy & Research Unit’s forthcoming report will present these findings and outline empirically-informed recommendations to achieve positive change.

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Friday 1 March (1430 - 1600)

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Often times, external counsel and in-house counsel are at odds with each other in their respective expectations. In a fast paced, social media and artificial intelligence (AI) driven marketplace, the issues faced by clients are often a case of first instance and require adept, out-of-the-box thinking. This session will discuss how in-house and external counsel can help achieve commonality of interests to help the business team move forward. The discussion will touch upon the following points.

  • Courting Corporate Counsel • Top 10 dos and don’ts
  • A fast changing global regulatory environment and the consequent challenges for in-house counsel
  • The blurring divide between legal and commercial – why outside counsel need to get into the shoes of internal counsel
  • AI and how it can change legal practice
  • Cybersecurity – the severity of the threat and how external counsel can help
  • Anticorruption and risk management

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Friday 1 March (1430 - 1600)

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As previously unchartered markets open themselves to investment, and as countries that have a long history of investment reconsider their priorities in allowing further investment into their countries, the foreign investors, financiers and local targets each need to consider real estate and infrastructure transactions from a broader perspective, to determine how to best implement their transaction to address both macro and micro concerns with cross border transactions. The session is aimed at practitioners who advise on cross-border investment transactions in both the real estate and infrastructure sectors, whether from an mergers and acquisitions perspective, privatisation of state assets or the entering into of consortium arrangements to undertake major transactions.

This session aims to give the perspective of investors on perceived barriers to entry, as well as the perspective of the target and how the challenges of cross-border transactions can best be managed within their country context, and how this can interplay with the availability of funds for the project.

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Friday 1 March (1600 - 1630)

Asia Pacific Regional Forum (Lead)

Friday 1 March (1630 - 1800)

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This session will explore the evolution of Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs) and their increasingly important role in resolving cases of alleged corporate criminal misconduct.

The United States authorities have long deployed DPAs to resolve corporate criminal enforcement actions under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, whose broad extra-territorial reach captures the activities of multinationals operating in Asia. The United Kingdom authorities have followed suit, with four DPAs already entered into under their Bribery Act; another long-arm statute which also enables the UK authorities to potentially pursue multinationals’ operating in Asia. The UK Serious Fraud Office’s mammoth DPA with Rolls-Royce in January 2017 is regarded as a watershed moment in UK anti-corruption enforcement. France has also introduced DPAs, announcing it’s first in December 2017.

Legislation is presently before the Australian parliament that contemplates DPAs being added to the toolbox of Australian prosecutors. In Asia, following the high-profile case in December 2017 involving Keppel Corp, Singapore introduced DPAs in early 2018 for corporate corruption and money laundering cases.

The panel will discuss key aspects of the various DPA regimes with case studies, assess their merits and shortfalls, and consider what the future holds for resolving corporate criminal misconduct in the region.

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Friday 1 March (1630 - 1800)

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The global crackdown on tax avoidance and money laundering at both individual and corporate levels have brought about a substantial increase in disclosure in the financial world. Our panellists will debate on the growing tension between the global move towards transparency and the shroud of secrecy over tax havens. Offshore accounts and shell companies – they may sound questionable, but these are all legal methods for companies and individuals to lower their tax liabilities. However, at what cost? This session will critically examine, among others, the continued justification of maintaining tax havens at the cost of billions in tax losses to nations who would have otherwise been entitled to the tax and implications of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting measures on such tax havens.

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