Nicole Erb co-leads the economic sanctions practice at White & Case LLP. She represents clients in complex transnational litigation matters, civil and criminal government investigations, voluntary self-disclosures, internal audits and investigations, compliance, licensing and other regulatory matters. Her clients comprise foreign states and their state-owned entities, foreign central banks, transitional governments and their state-owned entities, international organizations, international financial institutions, and multinational corporations in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Russia, Africa and Asia.
Clients benefit from Nicole's skill and experience in navigating complex, multijurisdictional disputes in federal and state courts at all levels, and in negotiating historic bilateral agreements with the United States. Her litigation matters typically involve questions under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), the International Organizations Immunities Act (IOIA), the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), the Trading With the Enemy Act (TWEA), various US executive orders and sanctions authorities, and the act of state and political question doctrines.
Nicole routinely represents clients before the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the Department of Justice, and the Department of State. She advises clients on US sanctions relating to, among others, Russia, Crimea, Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, North Korea, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Venezuela. She also advises on US sanctions legislation, including among others, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, and the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act. Nicole also handles matters involving OFAC's various sanctions lists, such as the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List) and the Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List (SSI List), including delisting applications and applications to unblock assets.
Nicole is one of eight partners on the Firm's global Partnership Committee, a partner-elected governance body.
Representative litigation matters include:
- Representation of transitional government in bilateral negotiations with the United States of a historic bilateral claims-settlement agreement, and before the US Supreme Court and multiple federal district courts and courts of appeals in multibillion-dollar US terrorism-related litigation under the FSIA.
- Representation of interim government's state-owned oil company in multi-million-dollar US terrorism-related litigations involving OFAC-blocked sovereign assets.
- Representation of foreign sovereign in multibillion-dollar US litigation and in negotiation of a separate bilateral claims-settlement agreement with the United States resolving such litigation.
- Successful defense of prominent Middle Eastern bank in US terrorism-related litigation. Won pre-trial dismissal of over US$1 billion claim in the Southern District of New York. Won appeal in the Second Circuit and successfully opposed US Supreme Court review.
- Successful defense of foreign financial institution in US terrorism-related litigation. Won pre-trial dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction.
- Successful representation of Saudi corporation on appeal and on remand in district court. The Fourth Circuit vacated the US$10 million judgment.
- Successful defense of the Central Bank of Jordan in a US litigation. Prevailed on pre-discovery motion to dismiss and on appeal in the DC Circuit.
- Successful defense of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in multiple US litigations in district court and on appeal in the DC Circuit.
- Successful defense of the Republic of Indonesia and its state-owned agencies and instrumentalities in federal district court and on appeal in actions involving fraudulent banking and securities transactions.
- Successful defense of a Russian state-owned entity in US litigation seeking preliminary injunction and specific performance while the dispute was being arbitrated in Sweden. Won dismissal of the lawsuit.
Representative international sanctions matters include:
- Representation of non-US oil & gas companies on transacting business in Russia's energy sector.
- Representation of non-US shipbuilder on large complex transactions involving Russian counterparties.
- Representation of non-US financial institutions on transactions involving sectoral sanctions and blocking sanctions targeting Russia.
- Representation of foreign sovereign in unblocking of foreign sovereign assets blocked pursuant to OFAC sanctions regulations.
- Representation of a major shipping company in civil and criminal investigation of OFAC sanctions violations.
- Representation of US lender in OFAC investigation.
- Representation of US subsidiary of foreign corporation in US export controls investigation.
- Representation of shipping company in voluntary-self disclosure to OFAC.
- Representation of Middle Eastern bank in internal sanctions and money laundering investigation and look-back review, and implementation of enhanced sanctions and AML compliance policies and procedures.
- Representation of foreign company in an OFAC targeting investigation under Iran secondary sanctions.
- Representing targets of sanctions in sanctions delisting applications and related matters.
- Representation of Brazilian company in internal sanctions risk assessment.
- Representation of Latin American financial institution in internal sanctions risk assessment.
- Representation of Chinese company in internal sanctions audit and develop sanctions compliance policies and procedures.
- Representation of US affiliate of Asian company in internal sanctions investigation.
- Representation of a European private equity fund in an OFAC licensing matter under Ukraine-/Russia-related sanctions in connection with a proposed acquisition.
- Representation of companies in technology and Internet-based services sector in connection with internal investigations in support of voluntary self-disclosures to OFAC and BIS.
- Providing ongoing US economic sanctions compliance and regulatory advice to US, Latin American, European, Russian, Middle Eastern and Asian financial institutions, oil & gas companies, and multinational corporations.
Nicole has served as an invited speaker at numerous off-the-record sanctions-related events hosted by various think tanks and associations in Washington, DC and New York. Additional engagements include:
"Russia Counter Sanctions – Potential Threats and Asset Seizures for Companies Who Withdraw or Temporarily Suspend Operations," May 6, 2022, ACI's 16th Flagship Conference on US Economic Sanctions Enforcement and Compliance (Washington, DC)
"Resolving Secondary Sanctions Dilemmas: Practical Strategies to Stay Compliant with the Rapid Pace of New Designations," December 8, 2021, ACI's 15th Flagship Conference on US Economic Sanctions Enforcement and Compliance (Washington, DC)
"Sanctions and compliance in the Middle East," November 23, 2021, GIR Connect Middle East (virtual)
"Trends in US Sanctions and Export Controls Enforcement," November 9, 2021, The Association of Women in International Trade event (virtual)
"The Sanctions Intensive: Regulatory Guidance and Global Overview," June 29, 2021, Momentum Events 14th National Anti-Corruption, Export Controls, and Sanctions (A.C.E.S) Compliance Summit (virtual)
"The Fast-Evolving US Economic Sanctions Environment: Key Takeaways 4 Months into the Biden Administration for Canadian Operations," May 4, 2021, The Canadian Institute's 20th Annual Canadian Forum on Anti-Money Laundering and Financial Crime (virtual)
"Venezuela & Cuba: What to Expect in the Next 6 Months from the Biden Administration?" April 29, 2021, ACI's 14th Annual Flagship Conference on US Economic Sanctions Enforcement and Compliance (virtual)
"The Russia-Related Sanctions Regime," February 11, 2021, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization's webinar titled "Russia Sanctions and the Biden Administration: The Outlook for the Next Four Years" (virtual)
"Navigating the US Sanctions landscape," December 9, 2020, GIR Interactive's Regional Spotlight: North America (virtual)
Conference Co-Chair, December 2-3, 2020, ACI's 11th Annual New York Forum on Economic Sanctions (virtual)
"Minimizing Global Shipping and Maritime Risks," July 30, 2020, ACI 13th Annual Flagship Conference on Economic Sanctions Enforcement and Compliance (virtual)
"The Road to 'Business As Usual'for America's Pharma Industry," May 12, 2020, White & Case Client Event (webinar)
"Emerging Markets Sovereign Debt – what you need to know about liabilities of the state and recent developments," February 4, 2020, White & Case Roundtable (London)
"The Real Business Impact Following the Latest Round of US Sanctions: Resolving Questions on Debt, Securities and Investment Funds, and Whether to Continue Business or Exit the Country," December 10-11, 2019, ACI 10th Annual New York Forum on Economic Sanctions (New York)
"Deep Dive into Venezuela Sanctions," May 2, 2019, ACI 12th AnnualFlagship Conference on Economic Sanctions Enforcement and Compliance (Washington, DC)
"Late Breaking Panel on the Crisis in Venezuela," March 29, 2019, American Society of International Law's 113th Annual Meeting (Washington, DC)
"A Changing World: Navigating Financial Sanctions in 2019," March 5, 2019, White & Case Seminar (with Justine Walker, Director, Sanctions Policy at UK Finance; Maya Lester QC, Brick Court Chambers; Joanna Dimmock, White & Case; and Sara Nordin, White & Case) (London)
"Regulatory and Enforcement Priorities: US and UK Sanctions Enforcement Landscape for the Coming Year," December 7, 2018, ACI 9th Annual New York Forum on Economic Sanctions (with Michael Dondarski, Assistant Director for Enforcement, Office of Foreign Assets Control, US Department of the Treasury and David McLean, Joint Deputy Head and Head of Enforcement and Engagement, Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation, HM Treasury) (New York)
"Workshop: US and EU Sectoral and Secondary Russia Sanctions", November 16, 2018, C5 7th Annual Conference on Economic Sanctions and Financial Crime (London)
"Focus on New Iran Secondary Sanctions and Enforcement", November 14, 2018, C5 7th Annual Conference on Economic Sanctions and Financial Crime, Discussion Leader (London)
"Venezuela: What Comes after Default?", October 25, 2018, Americas Society/Council of the Americas (New York)
"Sanctions and Export Control Considerations for Your Investment Strategy – A closer look at ZTE, Iran, Russia and North Korea", July 19, 2018: White & Case Taiwan Seminar: Cross-border Trends Relevant to Taiwanese Investors and Companies (Taipei)
"Interactive Licensing Scenarios Under US Sanctions," December 5, 2017, 8th Annual ACI Forum on Economic Sanctions (New York)
"Inside the ZTE Settlement," April 19, 2017, 10th Annual ACES Compliance Summit (Washington, DC)
"Global Considerations: Resolving Differences Between US, EU and Canadian Sanctions," December 1-2, 2015, ACI Economic Sanctions Bootcamp (New York)
"International Sanctions At A Glance," December 10, 2014, ICC-Russia (Moscow)
"Corporate Responsibility and the Alien Tort Statute: Perspectives and Alternatives," March 27, 2012, Symposium presented by the Georgetown Journal of International Law, the Center on Transnational Business and the Law, and the American Society of International Law (Washington, DC)
"Key Sanctions Issues in Civil Litigation and Arbitration," GIR's Guide to Sanctions – Second Edition (July 2021)
"Key Sanctions Issues in Civil Litigation and Arbitration," GIR's Guide to Sanctions – First Edition (August 2020)
"Surge in Sanctions Enforcement Reflects Treasury Unit's Backlog," Bloomberg, Quoted (June 2019)
"Correspondent Risk: Financial Crimes and Correspondent Banking," JDSupra (May 2019)
"Review of Anti-Money Laundering and Sanctions Policy and Enforcement," Wolters Kluwer Banking & Financial Services Report (January 2019)
"Venezuela sanctions target gold and corruption," WorldECR (November 2018)
"Expert Analysis: Election Interference Sanctions Expand Compliance Risks," Law360 (September 2018)
"A Win for Sovereign Immunity," Law360 (May 2017)
"Reconciling US and EU Sanctions: Iran and Cuba," The Review of Securities & Commodities Regulation (May 2016)
"Kiobel's New Focus on Extraterritoriality Under the Alien Tort Statute," Georgetown Journal of International Law (2012)
Ranked Lawyer: Chambers USA 2021: Export Controls/Economic Sanctions
Mention: The Legal 500 2021: International Trade
Mention: The Legal 500 2021: International Litigation
Mention: The Legal 500 2020: International Trade
Mention: The Legal 500 2020: International Litigation
DC sanctions lawyer to have on speed dial: Global Investigations Review, 2019
Recommended Lawyer: The Legal 500 2019: General Commercial Disputes
Recommended Lawyer: The Legal 500 2019: International Trade
Benchmark 2008, Commercial Litigation