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In this cover story by Asian-Mena Counsel,* four Baker McKenzie lawyers and two thought-leading GCs talk about key issues in sanctions and investigations.

Mini vandePol (Hong Kong), head of Baker McKenzie’s Asia Pacific Compliance & Investigations Group; dispute resolution and compliance and investigations lawyer Celeste Ang (Singapore); Simon Hui, leading lawyer for dispute resolution/regulatory and compliance in China; and Vivian Wu, who focuses on China-related corporate regulatory and compliance matters answer the following:

  • Can you suggest an ideal process which in-house legal departments can implement to detect legal liabilities? What key points should organizations bear in mind when mapping out a process?
  • What are your suggestions for in-house counsel on crisis management?
  • What are some of the potential compliance roadblocks for corporations?
  • For corporations working on cross-border transactions, which jurisdictions should the legal department consider high risk for sanctions and political environment.
  • Sanctions lists are ever-evolving and becoming more complex. How can in-house legal departments stay on top of these changes and proactively manage risks?
  • What are some key licensing considerations in the context of compliance to sanctions?
  • How do US and EU sanctions on China affect international entities doing business there?

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*This article first appeared in the Asian-Mena Counsel Magazine October 2020 edition.


Mini vandePol was appointed as the Chair of Baker McKenzie's Global Compliance & Investigations Group on 1 September 2014, after successfully completing five years as the Asia Pacific Regional Chair of the Dispute Resolution Practice Group. In this role, she leads a global team of more than 900 compliance and investigations practitioners in Asia Pacific, EMEA, Latin America and North America. Ms. vandePol's work engagements focus on anti-bribery and corruption investigations and risk management and mitigation in China, India and other parts of Asia in a variety of industries. Ms. vandePol and her team are responsible for the Global Overview of Anti-Bribery Laws (2nd Edition 2016) and is the editor of the very popular Global Attorney-Client Privilege Handbook (2nd edition 2014). She has written a number of articles in journals and other publications both in Australia, India and elsewhere in Asia Pacific on topics ranging from corporate compliance investigations and enforcement, fraud risk, international trade and sanctions compliance, and ethical business practices. She is also a highly sought after media spokesperson and has made several appearances in business media in Hong Kong, India, Australia and the US.


Celeste Ang is a principal in Baker McKenzie's Singapore office. Celeste Ang’s practice encompasses corporate litigation and arbitration, both domestic and cross-border. She also has significant experience advising clients on compliance and regulatory issues in the context of investigations, and on a wide range of employment and employment-related issues. Celeste is ranked by Chambers Asia Pacific in the areas of litigation and employment and by Chambers Global in the area of litigation. She is described as "very smart, very innovative - a good example of someone who thinks outside the box" and "very technically competent, very thorough and very responsive" by clients.


Simon Hui is a partner and leads Baker McKenzie’s Dispute Resolution Group in Shanghai. Mr. Hui is ranked among the leading lawyers for dispute resolution/regulatory and compliance in China by Chambers Asia Pacific, Chambers Global and Legal 500 Asia Pacific. He has conducted complex internal investigations for a large number of multinational companies across a range of industries. He is also a skilled investigator and has experience in dealing with PRC government authorities and regulators such as PSB, SAMR, NSB and SPP. He has been interviewed by leading business media, such as the Financial Times, for his work on assisting the SOE in the establishment of compliance system as the country pushes for its SOEs to participate in the Belt & Road Initiatives.