Jonathan C. Poling is a partner in Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s international trade practice, with significant experience handling complex civil and criminal matters involving a wide array of industries. He is a former federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), where he handled a number of prosecutions relating to violations of U.S. economic sanctions, money laundering and export control laws. Mr. Poling has also served as an independent monitor for companies, including companies that have entered into the World Bank disclosure program or are the subject of audits by multinational development banks relating to allegations of corruption, collusion and undisclosed agents.

Practice & Background

Mr. Poling represents clients nationally and internationally in a variety of matters, including white-collar criminal cases, administrative enforcement matters, trade-related due diligence, integration issues in mergers and acquisitions, internal investigations, audits, temporary denial orders (TDOs), industry outreach visits, entity list designations and addressing corporate compliance issues.

His practice also covers anti-money laundering, economic sanctions, export control and fraud investigations involving international trade and trade finance, including investigations involving potential violations of U.S. anti-money laundering statutes, tax laws and regulations, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the Trading with the Enemy Act and the Arms Export Control Act.

During his time with the DOJ, Mr. Poling handled a number of cases, including a matter that resulted in the first arrests and prosecution of employees of a European freight-forwarding company for violations of U.S. export control laws and some of the largest anti-money laundering and sanctions cases in U.S. history. He also received multiple commendations and awards for excellence while at the DOJ.

Mr. Poling has also worked with the DOJ’s National Export Coordinator and interacted with the licensing agencies and civil enforcement authorities on numerous international trade and trade finance matters. He worked extensively in training both U.S. and non-U.S. law enforcement agencies on export control enforcement efforts, and previously served on the DOJ’s Foreign Investment Review Staff, which serves on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) review process.

Representative Matters

Mr. Poling’s representative matters include:

Anticorruption/Anti-Money Laundering

  • represented several employees in a large European financial institution involving alleged violations of U.S. economic sanctions and joint investigations by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the SDNY, New York County District Attorney’s Office, U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the N.Y. Department of Financial Services and the Federal Reserve
  • defended an anti-money laundering officer with a large European financial institution involving alleged violations of U.S. economic sanctions and anti-money laundering statutes
  • defended a European financial institution in an investigation into alleged violations of U.S. money laundering laws and regulations.

Multinational Development Banks (MDBs)

  • representing a non-U.S. energy and infrastructure company in connection with a World Bank investigation relating to a contract for a project in an African nation
  • engaged as the independent monitor on behalf of the World Bank for a company that participated in the Voluntary Disclosure Program.

Export Controls and Economic Sanctions

  • represented a senior executive in a Chinese company as part of an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and OFAC
  • defended a global manufacturing company in a sanctions and export control investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the BIS
  • defended a large, multinational manufacturer in response to a subpoena from, and witness interviews by, BIS agents
  • represented a large financial institution regarding an investigation for alleged violations of regulations administered by OFAC
  • represented a defense contractor in administrative proceedings and a consent agreement pending before the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) at the U.S. Department of State for alleged violations of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)
  • defended a global industrial supplier in an investigation by BIS regarding alleged re-export violations of the company’s products by one of its distributors
  • provided trade and sanctions advice to a logistics and management company relating to integration of an acquired company and addressed compliance issues relating to economic sanctions
  • drafted the export control and sanctions policy for a global supply chain company.
  • defended a global manufacturing company in a sanctions and export control investigation conducted by the FBI and the BIS.


  • advised a large specialty insurance company on the placement of insurance policies to cover CFIUS risk associated with a proposed acquisition
  • conducted CFIUS-related due diligence on a proposed U.S. target for acquisition by a foreign private equity fund.

Other Matters

  • settled alleged tax violations by a private Swiss financial institution that identified as a Category 2 Bank under the DOJ Program for Swiss Banks and participated in the DOJ’s voluntary disclosure program
  • represented a company as part of an industry outreach by U.S. law enforcement to its offices
  • represented a U.S. technology company in a cross-border internal investigation relating to the theft of intellectual property.

Public Service

  • prosecutor, U.S. Department of Justice, National Security Division, Counterespionage Section
  • member of the DOJ Foreign Investment Review Staff on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

Awards & Accolades

  • award for excellence from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement, 2010
  • special commendation award from the Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division, 2009
  • award for excellence from the National Security Division, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Speaking Engagements

  • speaker, “As the World (Bank) Turns: Compliance and Enforcement Principles in World Contracting,” Akin Gump Seminar, New York, New York, October 1, 2015 and Houston and Dallas, Texas, February 10 and 11, 2016
  • speaker, “It’s Bound to Happen (and Probably Already Has): Handling Violations,” Interactive Export Controls Workshop, Export Compliance Training Institute, Alexandria, Virginia, September 15-16, 2015
  • speaker, EAR Export Controls Seminar, Export Compliance Training Institute, San Francisco, CA, June 15-16, 2015
  • speaker, ITAR Defense Trade Controls Seminar, Export Compliance Training Institute, San Francisco, California, June 17-18, 2015
  • speaker, “Sanctions Compliance Challenges Facing Financial Institutions,” ABA Section of International Law Export Controls and Economic Sanctions Committee, New York, New York, May 19, 2015
  • speaker, “Policy, Politics and Proliferation: Planning for the P5+1 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Regarding Iran,” Webinar, April 21, 2015
  • panelist, “Critical Global Business Issues: When Theory Meets Practice,” Santa Clara University School of Law’s 2015 International Law Symposium, Santa Clara, California, February 2015
  • speaker, “Export Control & Sanctions Enforcement: What Lessons Have Been Learned and Where is Enforcement Trending?” In House CLE Series, December 2, 2014
  • speaker, “Comprehensive Update on the Ever Changing Global Sanctions Restrictions,” ACI's 5th Annual Economic Sanctions Boot Camp, December 3-4, 2014
  • panelist, “Responding to a Cybersecurity Breach,” Akin Gump’s “The Cybersecurity Pandemic,” New York, New York, November 2014
  • moderator, “Thinking Globally About Discovery – Offensive and Defensive Strategies,” WMACCA Litigation Forum, October 2014
  • panelist, “Sanctions Enforcement Trends in Europe and the U.S.: Find Out Who is Being Targeted and What you Can do to Avoid being Next,” C5’s Economic Sanctions and Financial Crime Forum for Financial and Insurance Industries conference, London, United Kingdom, October 2014
  • speaker, “Export Enforcement Risks & Recent Cases,” Partnering for Compliance, August 2014
  • speaker, “U.S., EU and Swiss Trade Sanctions Enforcement Cases and Trends,” Webinar, February 2013
  • speaker, “2012 Export Controls Year-in-Review,” American Bar Association, February 2013
  • speaker, “Navigating an ‘Industry Outreach’ Visit by the US Government on Export Controls,” Webinar, January 2013.