On December 21, 2023, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued the final rule on Beneficial Ownership Information Access and Safeguards (the “Access Rule”) laying out the protocols for access to the beneficial ownership database by law enforcement and by eligible financial institutions. The Corporate Transparency Act requires reporting companies to report to FinCEN information about their beneficial owners and company applicants and is intended to help prevent and combat money laundering, terrorist financing, tax fraud and other illicit activity. The Beneficial Ownership Reporting Rule (the “BOI Rule”), promulgated by FinCEN in September 2022, establishes the types of entities that are reporting companies and how beneficial owners and company applicants are determined, as well as what information is required to be reported about these entities and individuals.[1] The Access Rule aims to provide access to beneficial ownership information (“BOI”) to authorized recipients, while still maintaining the highest levels of data protection and oversight.

Who Has Access to the Information I Report?

Direct Access

The Access Rule provides access to BOI directly from the FinCEN database to three types of U.S. government agencies with search results returned immediately:

  • Federal agencies engaged in national security, intelligence and law enforcement activity (which includes both civil and criminal enforcement activity) if the request is related to such activity. Federal agencies will be required to certify that the request is in furtherance of national security, intelligence or law enforcement activity, and will be required to provide specific reasons why the requested information is relevant.
  • Department of the Treasury officials and employees if their official duties require BOI or for tax administration. The Department of the Treasury will establish internal policies and procedures governing access to BOI.
  • State, local and Tribal law enforcement agencies in connection with criminal or civil investigations, if authorized by a court of competent jurisdiction. The initial rule proposed by FinCEN with respect to Beneficial Ownership Information Access and Safeguards would have required the state, local or tribal agency to provide documentation showing the relevant court authorized access to such BOI. The final Access Rule only requires that the state, local or tribal agency certify that a court of competent jurisdiction has authorized the agency to seek such BOI and that the information is relevant to a criminal or civil investigation. The agency must also provide a description of the information the court has authorized the agency to seek.

Indirect or Limited Access

Foreign requestors, financial institutions subject to customer due diligence requirements and federal regulators and other regulatory agencies supervising those financial institutions may have access to BOI through FinCEN.

  • Foreign law enforcement agencies, judges, prosecutors, central authorities and competent authorities will not have direct access to FinCEN’s BOI database. These authorized foreign requestors will need to submit a request to a federal agency to act as an intermediary to retrieve the BOI information from FinCEN’s database. The federal agency may only provide BOI to a foreign requestor in response to a request for assistance in an investigation or prosecution by such foreign country or for national security or intelligence activity where there is an applicable treaty (or similar international agreement) between the foreign country and the U.S., or where there is no applicable treaty, as an official request by law enforcement, judicial or prosecutorial authority of a foreign country deemed to be a “trusted country” by FinCEN and the U.S. Secretary of State in consultation with the Attorney General of the U.S. The foreign requestor must limit the use of the BOI in a manner consistent with the treaty (or similar agreement) under which the request was made.
  • Financial Institutions subject to customer due diligence requirements will have limited access to FinCEN’s database. These financial institutions will only have access to BOI of customers who are reporting companies to the extent a reporting company has consented to FinCEN disclosing such information to their financial institutions. For purposes of the Access Rule, customer due diligence requirements include KYC requirements as well as any legal requirement designed to protect against AML or the financing of terrorism.
  • Federal regulators and other regulatory agencies supervising the compliance by those financial institutions with access to BOI to any customer due diligence requirements will also have limited access to FinCEN’s database. These regulatory authorities can only request BOI information for the purpose of supervising the financial institution and will only have access to the BOI that the financial institution has received from FinCEN. Any officer, employee, contractor or agent of a federal regulator that receives BOI from FinCEN may disclose that BOI to a self‑regulatory organization (“SRO”) registered with that regulator, provided that the SRO will use the BOI to supervise the financial institution.

Are there Confidentiality Requirements for those who have Access to BOI?

The Access Rule provides that any agency, financial institution or foreign requestors must establish standards and procedures to the security and confidentiality of BOI. Authorized recipients of BOI are permitted to re‑disclose the information in limited situations, including to others within an entity authorized to receive such BOI, among financial institutions and their regulators (including SROs), to courts of competent jurisdiction or parties to a civil or criminal proceeding and to prosecutors for use in litigation related to the activity for which the agency requested the BOI.

Violations

It is unlawful for anyone to knowingly disclose or to use BOI unless such disclosure or use of the BOI is authorized under the CTA. Civil and criminal penalties may apply to such unlawful disclosure or use of BOI or to unauthorized access to BOI or any activity that knowingly violates applicable security and confidentiality requirements in connection with accessing BOI. The CTA provides civil penalties of $500/day for ongoing violations and criminal penalties of not more than $250,000 in fines or 5 years in prison. There are also enhanced criminal penalties (fines of up to $500,000 and 10 years in prison) if a person violates the CTA while violating other U.S. laws or as a part of a pattern of illegal activity.

The analysis in this alert is based on the information available to us at the present time and the CTA and Access Rule as presently in effect. We expect FinCEN to provide updates after the Access Rule becomes effective and more questions are put to FinCEN and legislators.

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[1] The BOI Rule went into effect on January 1, 2024. For more information on the Corporate Transparency Act and the information required to be included in the Beneficial Ownership Report, please see our client alert, Shining a Light on the Corporate Transparency Act: FinCEN’s Rules for Beneficial Ownership Reporting.

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Photo of Andrew Bettwy Andrew Bettwy

Andrew Bettwy is a partner in the Corporate Department and co-head of the Finance Group. His principal focus is the representation of financial institutions, private equity sponsors, and public and privately held companies in leveraged finance and other financing transactions. Andrew represents both…

Andrew Bettwy is a partner in the Corporate Department and co-head of the Finance Group. His principal focus is the representation of financial institutions, private equity sponsors, and public and privately held companies in leveraged finance and other financing transactions. Andrew represents both lenders and borrowers in a wide range of transactions involving multiple industries and diverse debt capital structures, including acquisition financings, recapitalizations, multiple lien and subordinated debt financings, debtor-in-possession and exit financings, and private placements.

Andrew has represented several leading financial institutions while at Proskauer, including Bank of America, Citibank, CoBank, Credit Suisse, Imperial Capital, Jefferies Finance and Lazard Capital Markets.

Andrew is co-chair of Proskauer’s CARES Act Team and a part of the Firm’s cross-disciplinary, cross-jurisdictional Coronavirus Taskforce helping to shape the guidance and next steps for clients impacted by the pandemic.

Photo of Stephanie Heilborn Stephanie Heilborn

Stephanie Heilborn is a partner in the Private Client Services Department and leads the International Private Client Services group.

Stephanie counsels some of the world’s wealthiest families and largest financial institutions in the implementation of complex tax-planning strategies, international estate planning and trust…

Stephanie Heilborn is a partner in the Private Client Services Department and leads the International Private Client Services group.

Stephanie counsels some of the world’s wealthiest families and largest financial institutions in the implementation of complex tax-planning strategies, international estate planning and trust administration as well as fiduciary litigation. She assists in the formation and provision of corporate tax advice to private foundations and other tax-exempt organizations. She also has experience in forming and advising domestic and international family offices regarding estate and tax planning.

Stephanie frequently lectures and writes on estate-planning topics and has been quoted by The New York Times and Forbes. She has served as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School.

Photo of Jeffrey A. Horwitz Jeffrey A. Horwitz

Jeffrey A. Horwitz is a partner in Proskauer’s Corporate Department where he co-heads our Private Equity Real Estate practice and runs our internationally recognized Hospitality, Gaming & Leisure Group. He also has served as co-head of Mergers & Acquisitions and as a member

Jeffrey A. Horwitz is a partner in Proskauer’s Corporate Department where he co-heads our Private Equity Real Estate practice and runs our internationally recognized Hospitality, Gaming & Leisure Group. He also has served as co-head of Mergers & Acquisitions and as a member of our Executive Committee. Jeff is a general corporate and securities lawyer with broad-based experience in mergers and acquisitions, cross-border transactions, and long-term joint ventures. He is regularly engaged to advise boards, management teams and investors on strategic matters, from litigation to personnel to transactions. Jeff is also the head of the Firm’s cross-disciplinary, cross-jurisdictional Coronavirus Taskforce helping to shape the guidance and next steps for clients impacted by the pandemic.

Jeff counsels clients on the full range of their activities, from seed capital to public offerings, acquisitions and operational matters, often acting as outside general counsel. He represents major financial institutions, sovereign wealth funds, private equity and family offices in sophisticated financial and other transactions. He represented Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity in connection with its equity participation in the $33 billion acquisition of HCA in what was then the largest LBO ever. He has handled deals aggregating nearly $200 billion in value, including tender offers, “going-private” transactions, IPOs, restructuring and structured finance transactions, and mergers and acquisitions in industries as diverse as biotechnology and aerospace, retail and cable television, and education and scrap metal. He regularly handles transactions outside the U.S., including Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, Australia, South Africa and India.

Leading our Private Equity Real Estate group, he works with a team of 75 lawyers from across the firm advising on complex transactions and disputes relating to real estate, and particularly hotels. Jeff has handled virtually every type of matter, and has worked with virtually every major player in these industries, including transactions for nearly 3,500 hotels comprising more than 275,000 rooms and involving more than $12 billion. His experience, both in and outside the U.S., extends to hotel and casino development and construction; portfolio and single-property acquisitions; sales and restructurings; financings; management; marketing; reservations systems; litigation counseling and strategic planning; and ancillary services. This breadth of work is key to executing complex and sophisticated transactions, such as the $2.9 billion acquisition of Fairmont Raffles by AccorHotels and its investments in Huazhu, Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts, Brazil Hotel Group, sbe Entertainment and 21c Museum hotels, among others.

As a senior member of our Entertainment Group, Jeff represents The Broadway League (the national trade association for Broadway theatre), the Tony Awards®, and various other joint venture events and producers. In the media industry, Jeff has advised on the acquisition and sale of television, radio, newspaper and magazine properties, and the acquisition and sale of advertising, promotion and marketing agencies, and related joint ventures. He also advises rights holders, including our long-time clients The Leonard Bernstein Office and The Balanchine Trust. He leads our team representing TSG Entertainment in film-slate financing deals.

Jeff also frequently represents start-up and development-stage companies, as well as established “traditional” businesses, in online, Internet-related or technology businesses. He has handled organizational and structuring matters, venture capital and other equity placements, restructurings (from “down” rounds to recapitalizations to M&A solutions). He has both company-side and investor experience.

As a frequent speaker at real estate and hospitality events, Jeff regularly presents about hotel management agreements at The Hotel School at Cornell’s SC Johnson College of Business, NYU’s Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, and on M&A and investment matters at lodging investment conferences around the world, including the NYU Hospitality Industry Investment Conference in New York, Americas Lodging Investment Summit in Los Angeles, the International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin and the Hotel Investment Conference Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong.

Jeff is a member of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) Hospitality Investment Roundtable, ULI (and its Hotel Development Council) and the Advisory Board of the Cornell Center for Real Estate and Finance and has served as a member of the Editorial Board of the Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly and a member of the Advisory Board of the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research. He is a director of The New York Hospitality Council, Inc., a not-for-profit forum for hospitality industry leaders, and is a member of the Real Estate Capital Policy Advisory Committee of The Real Estate Roundtable. He also has served as a director of the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce, and as a member of the French-American Chamber of Commerce in the U.S. and the American Society of Corporate Secretaries. He was the Chairman of the Board of Labyrinth Theater Company and a director of The Jewish Community Center in Manhattan for more than 15 years, a member of the Executive Committee of the Lawyers’ Division of UJA-Federation for more than five years and an officer of the Henry Kaufmann Foundation for more than a dozen years. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of The American Playwriting Foundation and Building for the Arts and is a member of the Board of Directors of StreetSquash and The George Balanchine Foundation. He also served as a Vice Chair of the Associates’ Campaign for The Legal Aid Society.

Jeff has been with the firm for his entire career and lives in Manhattan and Connecticut.

Photo of Seetha Ramachandran Seetha Ramachandran

Seetha Ramachandran is a partner in the Litigation Department, and a member of the White Collar and Asset Management Litigation practices. An experienced trial and appellate lawyer, Seetha has conducted 10 criminal jury trials, argued 10 appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals…

Seetha Ramachandran is a partner in the Litigation Department, and a member of the White Collar and Asset Management Litigation practices. An experienced trial and appellate lawyer, Seetha has conducted 10 criminal jury trials, argued 10 appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and handled ancillary civil proceedings in forfeiture cases.

Seetha is a leading expert in anti-money laundering (AML), Bank Secrecy Act, economic sanctions and asset forfeiture matters. Her practice focuses on white collar and regulatory enforcement defense, internal investigations, and compliance counseling. She represents banks, broker dealers, hedge funds, private equity funds, online payment companies, and individual executives and officers in high stakes and sensitive matters. Seetha has deep experience representing institutions and individuals in financial penalty phase of criminal and regulatory matters, and is often retained to litigate forfeiture and restitution claims on behalf of victims and third parties in criminal cases, as well as handling these issues for individual defendants.

Seetha served as a federal prosecutor for nearly 10 years, including as Deputy Chief in the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section (AFMLS), Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice. She was the first head of DOJ’s Money Laundering & Bank Integrity Unit, where she supervised DOJ’s first major AML prosecutions, and oversaw all of the Criminal Division’s AML cases. In that role, Seetha coordinated closely with state and federal banking regulators, including FinCEN, the OCC and the New York State Department of Financial Services, giving her deep experience with how these agencies work together, especially in matters involving civil and criminal liability. Her work developing and charging criminal cases under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) formed the model for AML enforcement that regulators and prosecutors follow today.

Seetha also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York for nearly six years, in the Complex Frauds, Major Crimes and Asset Forfeiture units where she investigated and prosecuted white-collar cases involving a wide range of financial crimes, including bank fraud, mail and wire fraud, tax fraud, money laundering, stolen art and cultural property, and civil and criminal forfeiture cases.

Seetha is a frequent speaker and prolific author on topics including enforcement trends in the financial services industry, OFAC sanctions, effective AML programs and asset forfeiture.

Photo of Yuval Tal Yuval Tal

Yuval Tal is a partner in our Corporate Department where he co-heads our internationally recognized Hospitality, Gaming & Leisure Group. Yuval also heads our Asia practice. He is a general corporate and securities lawyer with diverse experience in cross-border mergers & acquisitions (public…

Yuval Tal is a partner in our Corporate Department where he co-heads our internationally recognized Hospitality, Gaming & Leisure Group. Yuval also heads our Asia practice. He is a general corporate and securities lawyer with diverse experience in cross-border mergers & acquisitions (public and private, debt and equity), long-term joint ventures, private equity real estate and corporate and real estate finance. He advises clients on the full range of their activities including any form of financing, operational matters and commercial transactions. He advises sponsors and funds on the structuring, execution, entering into, restructuring and exiting of investments.

Yuval has decades of experience representing clients on complex, first in kind transactions.  His strength is providing original, workable and practical solutions that get the deal done. Qualified in New York, Hong Kong and Israel, Yuval has negotiated transactions in six continents and has experience representing clients on cross border transactions, including inbound to or outbound from Asia. Yuval regularly works with clients in various industries including real estate, hospitality, entertainment, sports, financial services, technology and life sciences.

Yuval is co-chair of Proskauer’s CARES Act Team and was an active member of the Firm’s cross-disciplinary, cross-jurisdictional Coronavirus Taskforce which helped to shape business guidance for clients impacted by the pandemic.

As an international M&A lawyer, Yuval has many years of experience dealing with complicated, non-customary transactions involving parties from different countries, cultures and legal systems.  He has represented private equity, family offices, corporations and individuals in structuring, restructuring, managing and disposing of investments in Asia, Europe and the United States.  He is typically called upon to strategize and structure complex transactions that do not follow a prescribed form or pattern. Yuval’s experience enables him to forsee future issues and clients have commented on his “ability to think seven moves ahead of the competition”. Yuval is also well known for his ability to broker deals between opposing parties in order to get the deal done, irrespective of the legal, business or practical obstacles. His efforts have earned him recognition by Legal 500Chambers Asia Pacific and IFLR1000, where clients have referred to his “ability to play the honest broker to all parties involved, and to bridge the different cultures, legal systems and language barriers and to continually solve the unsolvable, is what allowed us to get this difficult deal done” and another stated “he was completely invested in the deal in a way lawyers seldom are, and his creativity and efforts allowed us to bridge considerable gaps between the parties and find common ground”.

As co-head of our Hospitality, Gaming & Leisure Group, Yuval has worked on virtually any kind of transaction, including mixed-use development and construction, acquisition and sale, restructuring and public offerings of real estate, hotel and casino companies. He has completed numerous high profile transactions involving the buying, selling and combining Asian and Western based hotel operating companies, including AccorHotels’ [EPA:AC]  US$2.9 billion acquisition of Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel brands, its acquisition of Tribe, Australia’s first integrated modular hotel brand, Accor’s long-term alliance with Huazhu Hotels Group (also known as China Lodging Group [Nasdaq: HTHT]) and its strategic partnership with Singapore-based Banyan Tree Holdings [SGX:B58]. He also advised Formosa International Hotels’ sale and resulting joint venture with Intercontinental Hotels Group with respect to the Regent brand.  Recent transactions include the formation of  Ennismore, a worldwide hospitality lifestyle platform which currently owns 14 brands and operates over 100 properties; and the sale of the Mexico-based Hoteles City Express brand to Marriott for $100 million.  His real estate and hospitality work has included transactions for brands and properties from China to India to the United States to Australia. He also has many years of experience with hotel licensing, franchising and management.

Yuval’s broader Private Equity Real Estate experience includes working on The Recording Academy’s (The Grammys) deal to develop Grammy Museums in China, a public/private deal to finance an office building in Delhi, India; acquisitions of hotels in Bangkok by a large Japanese institutional investor and a joint venture between a Hong Kong developer and an Asian based private equity fund for the acquisition and redevelopment of a property in Kowloon into a mixed use property including co-living and co-working properties.

Yuval is a member of the Hospitality Development Council of ULI in both the United States and Asia and was previously  a member of the Steering Committee of the Asian council; he was also a member of the Law 360 2020 Hospitality Editorial Board. He is a regular speaker at real estate and hospitality related conferences such as the Hotel Investment Conference Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong.

Prior to rejoining Proskauer in 1999, Yuval practiced law in Israel, representing Israeli clients in transactions in Europe and the United States and European and U.S.-based clients in transactions in Israel. He handled transactions for major publicly traded Israeli companies such as Clal (Israel) Ltd., LifeWatch, Kitan Consolidated Ltd., Orckit Communications Ltd., ECI Telecom Ltd., Scitex Corporation Ltd. and Tecnomatix Technologies Ltd. Since joining Proskauer, Yuval has continued to represent Israeli clients on a wide range of corporate and securities matters.

Photo of Elanit Snow Elanit Snow

Elanit Snow is a senior counsel in the Corporate Department and a member of the Finance Group.

Elanit represents financial institutions, hedge funds, private equity funds and multinational corporations on complex over-the-counter derivatives and other synthetic financing transactions and secondary market and distressed…

Elanit Snow is a senior counsel in the Corporate Department and a member of the Finance Group.

Elanit represents financial institutions, hedge funds, private equity funds and multinational corporations on complex over-the-counter derivatives and other synthetic financing transactions and secondary market and distressed debt trading. She represents clients in structuring and negotiating ISDA, MRA, GMRA, MSFTA, clearing, prime brokerage and other related documentation. Elanit advises clients on structuring bespoke transactions to gain synthetic leverage or to hedge exposure to key market risks. Elanit also advises clients on the legal, compliance and regulatory requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act applicable to derivatives transactions.

Elanit represents both buyers and sellers on a diverse range of transactions involving syndicated loans, bankruptcy claims and other distressed and illiquid assets.