Coming on the heels of the Trump administration’s move restoring sanctions against Iran, King & Wood Mallesons has hired a former prosecutor specializing in U.S. sanctions laws.
Former Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Aaron Wolfson joins the firm in New York as a partner. He will lead King & Wood Mallesons’ U.S. law litigation and financial crimes compliance practice.
“[Wolfson's appointment] reflects our firm’s consistent growth and continued investment in broadening the range of our U.S. practices, in line with the growing potential of the U.S. market,” said Jack Wang, King & Wood Mallesons’ New York-based managing partner who oversees the China-based firm’s U.S. practice.
Wolfson was most recently a New York partner at Washington, D.C.-based litigation boutique Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss, advising on white-collar defense and civil litigation matters. Previously, he was an executive director at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and led the investment bank’s global sanctions compliance group.
Before joining the private sector, Wolfson was an assistant district attorney at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for eight years, having first started in 2003. He joined the office’s investigations division in 2007, and he prosecuted individuals and companies, including Chinese entities, as well as global financial institutions such as Lloyd’s, Credit Suisse and ING for violating U.S. sanctions, particularly against Iran.
Wolfson arrives just weeks after President Donald Trump restored sanctions against Iran, rescinding a 2015 lift of those sanctions implemented by the Obama administration. Earlier this year, the Department of Commerce banned Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp. from purchasing parts from U.S. suppliers for selling to Iran and North Korea in violation of U.S. sanctions. The export ban was lifted three months later after ZTE agreed to pay a $1 billion fine and $400 million in compliance insurance. In August, the Commerce Department appointed former Barnes & Thornburg white-collar partner Roscoe Howard as a compliance monitor to oversee ZTE’s settlement with the U.S. government.
The addition of Wolfson is part of King & Wood Mallesons’ efforts to strengthen its U.S. law offering. Earlier this month, the firm hired former Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton Beijing partner Huang Ling in a bid to boost its U.S. M&A practice.
With Wolfson on board, King & Wood Mallesons now has five partners in the New York office, In July, the firm also recruited former Cahill Gordon & Reindel counsel Jun Kang as a partner for its tax group in New York. Wang, the New York managing partner, divides his time between New York and Shanghai.