Korea’s Virtual Assets/Cryptocurrency Law

For those who may not know, cryptocurrencies/virtual assets (the best known of them, at the moment, is Bitcoin), are digital representations of value that can be digitally traded or transferred. When holders are using these currencies the transaction, in short, the use is via Blockchains (in short, a decentralized databases). South Korea has been at the forefront of the global cryptocurrency boom and its spread has permeated through all levels of society. Statistics from 2017 show that more than one third of employees in Korea were active investors in various cryptocurrencies. The Seoul City government even launched their own currency called “S-coin” in November of 2019. However, despite all the hype surrounding cryptocurrencies in Korea, the market was almost completely unregulated leaving open the possibility for unchecked money laundering, the purchase of illegal goods and frauds. perpetrated on the population. That all changed on March 6, 2020 when the Korean National

Continue reading

Mergers & Acquisition Arbitration Matters under Korean Law at the KCAB

Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) lead to disputes around the world, many of which are complex and involve money that may change substantially the future of a company, shareholders, employees and other stakeholders. Korea is no different in this respect. Korea witnessed the number of its cross-border transaction disputes explode during the 1997 IMF crisis and continue to steadily increase ever since. Many of these issues ended in arbitration and many others lead to criminal charges and into the Korean courts. While there are no readily available published statistics on the number of M&A transactions relating to Korea that led to arbitration , market trends show that the number of disputes have grown in relation to the overall growth of the M&A market. This article shall discuss the frequency of M&A disputes in Korea, the most common M&A issues arbitrated in Korea, as well as the procedural norms for damages and

Continue reading

IPG’s Sean Hayes Received the Highest Lawyer Rating from AVVO for his Work on International Legal Issues

IPG is proud to announce that Sean Hayes received the highest rating from AVVO. Avvo is an American attorney rating site and information portal. AVVO is one of the largest and most respected attorney rating sites in the United States. Sean, frequently, receives top ratings from legal rating services for his international law work. His law firm was, recently, rated South Korea’s Top Dispute Resolution Law Firm of the Year. Sean Hayes is a member of the NY Bar. Sean Hayes The articles in this blog are brought to you by Sean Hayes, retired judges, senior Korean attorneys and other attorneys/professionals at IPG and from associated law firms and consulting companies. IPG Legal is often chosen by clients when non-conflicted and aggressive representation is essential for success. Sean is the first non-Korean to work for the Korean Court System and one the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty. Sean was, recently,

Continue reading

Avvo Top-Rated Lawyer: Sean Hayes

Avvo, a website that eases the challenge of finding the right lawyer, rated Sean Hayes at the top with the highest achievable score. This superb rating is significant in the fact that it is determined after taking various factors into consideration: experience, background, legal community recognition, legal thought leadership and discipline. Reiterating a little bit of his background: over his 16+ years in Korea, Sean is known for his aggressive advocacy and candid NY-style street-smart advice. He is also one of the few attorneys in Asia with experience managing non-consulting companies and working as an interim HR Manager. Please refer to his Avvo account for more information. Congratulations, Sean! (c) Sean Hayes – SJ IPG. All Rights reserved.  Do not duplicate any content on this blog without the express written permission of the author. [email protected]

Continue reading

Korea Enhances its Scope of Eligible Persons under the Framework Act on International Development Cooperation: Korean Aide to Developing Countries

The Amendment to the Korean Framework Act on International Development Cooperation (hereinafter as “Act”) was proposed by the Korean Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee at the end of last year. The law intent is to improve the human rights of juveniles in developing countries by the establishment of a variety of international development cooperation programs for at risk and impoverished children. Main Objectives of the Korean Framework Act on International Development Cooperation The major purpose of the Act is to enhance “…the appropriateness of policies for international development cooperation and the effectiveness of implementation thereof, and effectively achieve the policy objectives of international development cooperation by providing for basic matters concerning international development cooperation, thus contributing to the co-prosperity of humanity and to world peace.” (Art 1). The cooperation partners included are either based on bilateral (f.i. cooperation partners of the State, local governments or public institutions) or multilateral (international

Continue reading

Exclusion of Japan from Export/Import White List

South Korea is on track toward barring Japan from its export control white list this month, in a blow for blow reaction to Tokyo’s prior choice to expel Seoul from its favored nation trading regime. On July 1, 2019 the Japanese government restricted the export to Korea of three classes of materials: fluorinated polyimide, photoresist and hydrogen fluoride.  These chemicals are utilized in important export-driven manufacturing operations in Korea.  Seemingly, the restriction is in reaction to a Korean Supreme Court case concerning liability of Japanese companies to the Korean victims of WWII sex slavery. Starting in July, the total volume of imports of these three materials remained at $800 billion and represented around 1.8 percent of all imports from Japan. The restrictions have not prompted any imminent problems for Korean manufacturer according to the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy. It was announced by the Korean Ministry of Trade,

Continue reading

Jurisdiction and Choice of Law Issues in Agency Agreements

In drafting and negotiating a Korean commercial agency agreement between a principal located in one country and an agent located in another country, proper consideration needs to be given to the choice of law regarding the governing law and jurisdiction of such an agreement. Jurisdiction determines which country’s courts will hear any proceedings that may be brought in relation to the agreement, whilst governing law is the law that shall be applied by the courts hearing any such proceedings that may arise under the agreement. Ideally, the parties to the agreement should expressly agree as to choice of jurisdiction and governing law. A governing law clause will set out the parties’ choice of the law that will apply to the parties’ agreement, and a jurisdiction clause will set out the parties’ choice as to jurisdiction. These aforementioned clauses are – in general – considered by any courts (for the exemptions

Continue reading

Distribution Agreements in Korea: Crawl before you Walk

Prior to going into any relationship with a distributor/agent in Korea, please read my post entitled: Finding a Korean Distributor: The Top 10 Things to Know Before Going to Bed with a Distributor in Korea. Please read that post in combination with this post, prior to engaging a distributor in Korea. We see too many Korean distribution agreements that are mere spun U.S. or European agreements.  Please have your Korean distribution agreement and all agreements you have in Korea drafted by an experienced and proactive attorney that has on-the-ground experience in Korea.  We see too many issues that could have been easily resolved by a carefully drafted agreement and a little due diligence. Issues to consider for your Korean Distribution Agreement: Will your distributor in Korea be your agent?  If the Korean distributor is an agent, generally, you will, only, be paying your agent In Korea a commission and you will be

Continue reading

Korea Increases the List of Serious Crimes in the Act on Regulation and Punishment of Criminal Proceeds Concealment

The Chair of the Legislation and Judiciary Committee in Korea proposed an Amendment to the Korean Act on Regulation and Punishment of Criminal Proceeds Concealment (hereinafter as “Act on Punishment of Criminal Proceeds Concealment”) on April 4, 2019. Some crimes shall be added to the list of “serious crimes” stated in the aforementioned Act. Amendment to the Act on Punishment of Criminal Proceeds Concealment The list of “serious crimes” (also “specific crimes”) as defined in Art. 2 (1) Korean Act on Punishment of Criminal Proceeds Concealment shall be extended with the proposed Amendment. These newly added “serious crimes” shall be subject to a proper punishment under this Act, especially for concealing, disguising and/or exchanging criminal proceeds. In addition, the collection and/or confiscation of such illegally earned proceeds shall be able. The newly added ‘serious crimes’ under this Act shall be for instance: Confinement, human trafficking, kidnapping, abduction, etc., as well

Continue reading