LEGAL UPDATES - TAK Associes and Ecovis International

New EU standards on customer authentication

2019.09.23

 
 
 

Starting September 14th 2019, Regulation 2018/289 regarding online customer authentication will be entering into force in the European Union. This Regulation establishes the requirements for payment service providers to protect the confidentiality and integrity of personalized security credentials. 

The main requirement is the implementation of monitoring mechanisms to detect unauthorized or fraudulent payments, taking into account a list of risk-based factors, among which the amount of each transaction, the list of stolen authentication elements or signs of malware infections during the procedure. 

Exemptions however apply for low-value contactless payments at points of sale, as well as for electronic payment transactions initiated at unattended terminals where operational reasons make the regulations difficult to implement.

 
 
 

Towards an important strengthening

2019.09.23

 
 
 

On May 30th 2018, the European Parliament and European Council modified the EU Directive 2015/849 through an ordonnance implementing the new anti-money-laundering directive (Directive (UE) 2018/843). The most important change is the replacement of Article 18(2), which constitutes an obligation to declare complex transactions to relevant FIU (TRACFIN in France). 

The Article is as follows:
'Member States shall require obliged entities to examine, as far as reasonably possible, the background and purpose of all transactions that fulfills at least one of the following conditions: they are complex transactions; they are unusually large transactions; they are conducted in an unusual pattern; they do not have an apparent economic or lawful purpose. In particular, obliged entities shall increase the degree and nature of monitoring of the business relationship, in order to determine whether those transactions or activities appear suspicious'

 
 
 

Amendments to the Food Administration Act and the Agricultural Products Market Transaction Act

2019.09.23

As the spread of fake news and misinformation in social media greatly impacts public tranquility, Taiwanese legislators amended both the Food Administration Act and the Agricultural Products Market Transaction Act on June 21st 2019. New articles effective since July 17th prohibit any person to deliberately disseminate rumors or false information affecting either the market food price, the competent authorities’ implementation of programs on food production and marketing, or public rice procurement. Any damage is subjected to a fine ranging from NTD 60,000 to NTD 300,000. Since August 15th, the Agricultural Products Market Transaction Act also applies this fine. 'False information' may include any information, news, data, advertisements, reports, poll, events or other forms, whether spread in verbal, writing, or video, via the press, the internet or other media

More protections on contracts, wages and accidents in the Labor Standards Act

2019.09.23

Article 9 of the Labor Standards Act now compels dispatch agencies to replace fixed-term contracts between workers and agencies with non-fixed-term contract. Non-compliant agencies are exposed to fines ranging from NTD 20,000 to NTD 1 million in case of violation. Dispatched workers may furthermore require their dispatch agencies to pay wages 'if the dispatch agency is fined by the authority for owing the dispatched worker wages or was ordered to pay by a deadline but has failed to comply'. Should the client company be asked to pay for wages, it may either ask the agency for reimbursement or deduct these expenses from the agency's fees. Regarding occupational accidents, both the dispatch agency and the client company shall be jointly and severally liable for compensation bore by employers. To prevent dispatched worker transfers by client companies, a new article stipulates that “a client company shall not interview the dispatched worker or undertake any other conduct of appointing a specific dispatched worker before the dispatch agency and the dispatched worker sign a labor contract”. Dispatched worker has 90 days to execute a contract with the client company. The client company shall negotiate about contract within 10 days after receiving such notice.

Possible abrogation to be submitted to the Legislative Yuan for voting

2019.09.23

Last August, the Taiwan government approved abolishing the stamp tax (up to 4% on the transaction amount). The Stamp Tax Act, passed in 1934, currenly applies to the following transactions: receipts for certain monetary payments, contracts to perform a specific job, task contracts for the sale of movable properties, as well as contracts for the sale, transfer and subdivision of real estate. In practice, the tak also applies to contracts such as Shares Purchase Agreements (statiscally more frequent than mergers). Yet, although local businesses support the move to repeal the Act, a strong opposition has emerged from local governments in Taiwan, for whom the tax is a substantial source of income. The outcome of the vote at the Parliament is therefore unclear at this stage, and will be discussed this year 2019 as a top priority matter for the government.

Increase in Penalty for Drunk Driving

2019.08

On March 26, 2019, part of the amendments to the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act in Taiwan was passed by the legislature, and is effective as from July 1, 2019.

 

Fines for DUI for car drivers vary from 30,000 to 120,000 NTD while penalty for motorcycle drivers remains the same , ranging from 15,000 to 90,000 NTD. For the 2nd DUI, the maximum penalty is applicable (90,000 or 120,000 NTD), to which 90,000 NTD is added for each additional DUI.

Suspension of license goes from 1 to 2 years and can be prolonged up to 4 years in specific cases.

Skipping checkpoints or rejecting the BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) test goes from 90,000 up to 180,000 NTD. The same amount is applicable for any other individual offense.

Drunk driving limitation: from 0,15 mg/l (through breath) - from 0,03% (in blood)

Passengers aged 18 and + will be fined as well from 600 to 3,000 NTD. Slow-vehicles are fined 600 to 1,200 NTD (drivers refusing BAC will be fined 2,400 NTD).

Breakthrough in Cryptocurrency Governance in Taiwan

2019.08

The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) published an interpretation on July 3rd defining cryptocurrency and including it under the current legal framework in the Securities and Exchange Act.

 

Virtual currencies that contain a nature of securities shall belong to “Securities”. It shall mean the application of cryptography, distributed ledger technology or other similar technology that represents the value stored, exchanged and transferred in a digital way and is in circulation on the market. It shall also contain a nature of investment as follows:

- Investors contribute to the capital;

- Investment is based on a common business and plan;

- Investors expect to earn profits;

- Profits are decided by the efforts of both the issuer and a third party.

 

This is the first time that Taiwanese government takes official action. It is a milestone in the development and governance of cryptocurrencies. However, the government's next steps and attitude in the long run remain uncertain.

Mergers and Acquisitions in Taiwan: Conflicts of Interest

2019.08

What is cash-out merger ?

After a merger, the surviving or the new company (acquiring company) may issue new shares to the shareholders of the dissolved company (target) as compensation. The acquiring company may choose to pay cash.

 

Policies in Taiwan

In order to facilitate the procedure for mergers and acquisitions, the Business Mergers and Acquisitions Act of Taiwan (the M&A Act) now provides that the shareholders or directors with personal interest may exercise their voting right for the merger resolution. On the other hand, to balance the right of the minority shareholders, the shareholders of the target company may request the acquiring company to buy back the shares at the fair price (appraisal right). In case no agreement is reached within 60 days since the resolution, to ensure the fair price, the dispute shall be submitted to and settled by the court upon application.

 

Constitutional Interpretation NO. 770

 

However, the Interpretation NO. 770 further indicated that information on personal interests shall be available to other shareholders within a reasonable period prior to the Board or General meeting; and measures shall be taken if there is not enough information.

 

Regulations of the Duty of Disclosure

 

For public companies, according to the article 31 of the Regulations Governing the Acquisition and Disposal of Assets by Public Companies published by the Financial Supervisory Commission, in the event of any merger, demerger, acquisition, or transfer of shares of a public listed company, the company shall publicly announce and report the relevant information on the Financial Supervisory Commission’s designated website within 2 days after the resolution of board meeting.

The Taiwan Stock Exchange has amended its guideline for the Self-Regulatory Rules on Disclosure of Merger and Acquisition Information on April 24, 2019. The directors shall disclose their names, material information, the reason for exercising voting right or not exercising voting rights and the reason for approval or dissent.

In the course of mergers and acquisitions, it will be better for the shareholders to know whether the price is fair or underestimated. However, it may thus affect a company's strategy on mergers and acquisitions. In response to the Interpretation NO.770, the decision on whether there will be more duties of disclosure remains at the discretion of the legislative policy and is now discussed by the Taiwanese authorities.

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