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PAUL S. RHEE / Senior Foreign Attorney

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Biography

Paul S. Rhee is a senior foreign attorney(partner) in the highly-ranked and award-winning Antitrust and Competition Practice Group at Yoon & Yang LLC in Seoul, Korea, which has been designated since 2008 as an ‘ELITE’ competition practice in Korea by Global Competition Review (GCR) with listing as a GCR 100 law firm and won the GCR Awards 2018 for “Regional Firm of the Year: Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa” and the In-House Community Asian-Mena Counsel Firm of the Year 2018. He has been practicing in Korea for over 20 years, advising multinational corporations on all aspects of their Korean business. Besides regularly advising on corporate and M&A matters, his practice primarily focuses on antitrust matters involving interface between antitrust law and intellectual property rights, corporate leniency program, merger clearance, criminal prosecution, private damage claims, administrative appeals, internal audits/investigations and compliance/training. He has extensive experience representing leading multinational corporations in Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) investigations concerning abuse of dominance, unfair trade practice (including subcontracting), false advertising, merger review and domestic and international cartels in various industries. Also, he has developed a specialty in M&A matters involving significant antitrust issues or KFTC investigations. In 2019, Chambers & Partners Asia-Pacific noted that “he has considerable experience representing multinational clients in KFTC investigations as part of his broader competition and antitrust practice” and quoted a client’s comment that "he really cares about providing the best legal service while keeping us promptly informed of all developments in our case”.

From 2016 to 2017, in addition to advising on Korean aspects of the transaction, Paul led his team in successfully representing Performance Optics and its subsidiaries, Vision Ease in U.S. and Daemyung Optical in Korea, in the KFTC’s merger review investigation into its sale to HOYA Corporation by persuasively arguing a novel product market definition (establishing that high- and low-end ophthalmic lenses served different segments of the market) despite high market share and strong objection by stakeholders such as the Korean Optometric Association, which resulted in KFTC’s unconditional approval and for which Paul and the matter were both commended in the Financial Times’ FT Asia Pacific Innovative Lawyer Award/Report 2018 for “Legal Expertise: Enabling business growth” while the matter was noted in the GCR Awards 2018 for “Regional Firm of the Year – Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa”when the firm won such award. From 2013 to 2015, in addition to advising on Korean aspects of the transaction, he led his team in successfully representing Microsoft Corporation in the KFTC’s merger review investigation into its acquisition of Nokia Corporation’s mobile device and service business despite strong objection by stakeholders such as Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, which resulted in the first consent decree in a merger review case in Korea and was honored with the GCR Awards 2016 for “Merger control matter of the year – Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa”.

From 2013 to 2017, Paul led his team in successfully representing a leading multinational crawler/track and conveyor belt manufacturer in the KFTC’s cartel investigation by persuasively arguing market definition based on types of customers, which resulted in full immunity and amnesty plus benefits without any administrative surcharge or criminal prosecution and was noted in the GCR Awards 2018 for “Regional Firm of the Year – Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa” when the firm won such award (presently, representing same client in a follow-on damage action filed by five state-owned power plant companies). From 2005 to 2016, he led his team in successfully representing a leading multinational elevator manufacturer in the KFTC’s cartel investigation by persuasively arguing market definition based on types of customers, which resulted in partial immunity, amnesty plus benefits and substantial reduction in administrative surcharge, and in a follow-on damage action filed by the state-owned Korea Land & Housing Corporation in trial and appellate courts and the Korean Supreme Court, which was noted in the GCR Awards 2017 for “Regional Firm of the Year – Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa” when the firm was shortlisted for such award.

In 2015, 2017 and 2018, Paul was the exclusive winner of the Global Business Media Group’s International Law Office/Lexology Client Choice Award in the category of Competition & Antitrust for South Korea based on a worldwide survey of senior corporate counsels from a pool of more than 2,000 individual client assessments. He has also been recognized as a leading or noted antitrust practitioner by Chambers & Partners Asia-Pacific, Financial Times’ FT Asia Pacific Innovative Lawyer Award/Report 2018, Euromoney/Legal Media Group’s Guide to the World’s Leading Competition and Antitrust Experts, International Legal Media’s Competition Law Experts, IFLR’s Leading Competition Lawyers, IFLR 1000 Asia Pacific, PLC Which Lawyer?, Euromoney Legal Media Group's AsiaLaw Leading Lawyers and Legal 500 Asia Pacific. For instance, in the Legal 500 Asia Pacific, he has been repeatedly commended for his antitrust expertise over many years while being praised for his ‘approach to engaging with the KFTC’ and singled out as ‘very knowledgeable and sensitive to clients’ concerns,’ ‘very knowledgeable in this practice area for which his services have been retained,’ a ‘leading figure,’ an ‘excellent lawyer’, and for ‘his knowledge of Korea's corporate leniency programme and its impact on private litigation’. In the Global Business Media Group’s International Law Office/Lexology Client Choice Award, his clients have commented that ‘Paul has vast experience in the aggressive and unpredictable antitrust regulatory environment in South Korea,’ ‘Paul is very hands on; he strives to obtain the best results for his clients while managing expectations very well,’ ‘Paul is incredibly intelligent and extremely knowledgeable in competition and antitrust law,’ and ‘he is able to find creative solutions that successfully and timely close deals.’

As Vice-Chairman of the Legal Services Committee of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea from 2006 to 2012, Paul met with European Commission officials in Brussels and Seoul and played a substantive role in lobbying them in connection with the European Union - Korea Free Trade Agreement that took effect in July 2011 and the liberalization of the Korean legal services market. On behalf of European Union-based international law firms and multinational corporations, he provided critical advice to the Korean government on the first-ever legislation regulating the establishment and operation of foreign law firms in Korea (the Foreign Legal Consultants Act). In 2007, he successfully worked with the ad hoc Merger Streamlining Group (whose membership comprised of antitrust practitioners at leading multinational corporations and major international law firms with a common interest in promoting international best practices in merger control as provided for in the Recommended Practices of the International Competition Network) and the American and European Union Chambers of Commerce in Korea and its member companies to substantially increase the local nexus threshold requirement for Korean merger notification in mergers between foreign companies from KRW 3 Billion to KRW 20 Billion.

Paul is a member of the American Bar Association (Section of Antitrust Law), Connecticut Bar Association (Section of Antitrust and Trade Regulation), District of Columbia Bar (Section of Antitrust and Consumer Law), National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and International Association of Korean Lawyers.

Education

1996
Syracuse University College of Law, J.D.
1991
University of California, Berkeley, B.A. in Political Science

Experience

2007-present
Senior Foreign Attorney(Partner), Yoon & Yang LLC (formerly Yoon Yang Kim Shin & Yu, 2006-2009)
2019
Ranked Lawyer (Band 3), Competition and Antitrust, Chambers & Partners Asia-Pacific
2018
Recognised Practitioner, Competition and Antitrust, Chambers & Partners Asia-Pacific
2018
Exclusive Winner, Global Business Media Group’s International Law Office/Lexology Client Choice Award in Competition & Antitrust for South Korea
2018
Listed, Euromoney/Legal Media Group’s Guide to the World’s Leading Competition and Antitrust Experts
2017
Exclusive Winner, Global Business Media Group’s International Law Office/Lexology Client Choice Award in Competition & Antitrust for South Korea
2017
Recognised Practitioner, Competition and Antitrust, Chambers & Partners Asia-Pacific
2015
Exclusive Winner, Global Business Media Group’s International Law Office/Lexology Client Choice Award in Competition & Antitrust for South Korea
2015
Only Recommended/ Endorsed Attorney from South Korea, International Legal Media’s Competition Law Experts
2014-present
Co-Author, Global Competition Review’s “Know-How Private Antitrust Litigation – Korea”
2013-present
Co-Author, LexisNexis UK’s LexisPSL “Doing Business in Korea”
2012-present
Contributing Author for South Korea, LexisNexis UK’s LexisPSL Practice Note on Competition (International Cartel Enforcement and Merger Control)
2012-present
Listed, IFLR’s Leading Competition Lawyers
2009-present
Designated Contributor for South Korea, Thomson Reuters’ PLC Competition Law Multi-Jurisdictional Monthly Updates
2009-present
Listed, PLC Which Lawyer? (Competition/Anti-trust)
2007-present
Listed, Euromoney Legal Media Group's AsiaLaw Leading Lawyers (Competition/Anti-trust)
2006-12
Vice-Chairman, Legal Services Committee, The European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea
2006
Listed, Euromoney Legal Media Group's AsiaLaw Leading Lawyers (Competition/Anti-trust, M&A, Corporate Governance, Dispute Resolution and General Corporate Practice)
2003-06
Foreign Legal Consultant, Yoon & Yang LLC
2002-03
Foreign Legal Consultant, Yoon & Partners
2001-02
Foreign Legal Consultant, Horizon Law Group, Seoul, Korea
1998-00
Foreign Legal Consultant, Kim & Chang, Seoul, Korea
1996-97
International Counsel, Lambert Armeniades & Lee (Independent Correspondent of Mayer, Brown & Platt), Paris, France

Publications

  • South Korea Section, LexisNexis UK's LexisPSL Practice Note on Competition (International Cartel Enforcement & Merger Control) (Co-author), 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Euromoney/Legal Media Group’s Expert Guides: Competition and Antitrust, “Korea Fair Trade Commission’s Right Balance in Regulating SEPs and De Facto SEPs” (Co-author), 2018
  • Global Competition Review’s “Know-How Private Antitrust Litigation – Korea” (Co-author), 2014, 2015, 2016
  • LexisNexis UK's Doing Business in Korea (Co-author), 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • “South Korea: Cartels and its Aftermath,” The American Lawyer (Co-author), May 2014
  • South Korea Chapter, Thomson Reuter’s Practical Law Global Guide, Competition and Cartel Leniency (co-author), 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • “South Korea Q&A Chapter,” Thomson Reuters’ PLC Cross-border Mergers & Acquisitions Handbook (Co-author), 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012/2013
  • “Korean Chapter,” The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Cartels & Leniency, Global Legal Group (Co-author), 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • “Korean Antitrust Regulations,” South Korea Chapter, The Guide to Competition and Antitrust, International Financial Law Review (Co-author), 2008, 2009, 2010
  • “Overlapping Regulations by Sector-specific Regulators and the Competition Authority in South Korean Telecommunications and Financial Industries,” CUTS Centre for Competition, Investment & Economic Regulation (Co-author), November 2013
  • South Korea Chapter, Global Legal Group's International Comparative Legal Guide to: Cartels & Leniency (Co-author), 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014.

Representative Matters

[ANTITRUST]

  < Mergers >
  • Represented United Technologies Corporation in a merger filing to acquire Rockwell Collins
  • Represented Oriental Brewery Company in a merger filing to acquire a leading Korean craft beer maker
  • Represented Performance Optics and its subsidiaries, Vision Ease and Daemyung Optical, in the KFTC’s 9-month merger review investigation into its sale to HOYA Corporation
  • Represented Microsoft Corporation in the KFTC’s 22-month merger review investigation into acquiring Nokia Corporation’s mobile device and service business and subsequent completion of the first consent decree in a merger review case in Korea (honored with GCR Awards 2016 “Merger control matter of the year – Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa”)
  • Represented Mahindra & Mahindra Limited in a merger filing to acquire a substantial stake in Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Japanese agricultural machinery subsidiary 
  • Represented an intervenor in the KFTC’s merger review investigation into Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility
  • Represented both Microsoft Corporation and General Electric in a merger filing to establish a joint venture for healthcare software business
  • Represented United Technologies Corporation in a merger filing to acquire Goodrich Corporation
  • Represented United Technologies Corporation (Pratt & Whitney) in a merger filing to establish an aircraft engine joint venture with Rolls-Royce
  • Represented Carrier Corporation in a merger filing to acquire a substantial stake in Robert Bosch’s U.S. subsidiary 
  • Represented DSM Nutritional Products in a merger filing to acquire Bayer’s Korean animal feed premix business
  • Represented Oriental Brewery Company in a merger filing to merge with its affiliate, KSBC
  • Represented Cathay Pacific Airways in a merger filing to acquire a substantial stake in Air China’s cargo business
< cartels >                              
  • Represented a leading multinational machine component manufacturer's Korean subsidiary in the KFTC’s 4-year investigation into the domestic conveyor belt cartel, which resulted in full immunity under the KFTC’s corporate leniency program and full exemption of administrative surcharge in another cartel investigation under KFTC’s amnesty plus program (first time for full exemption of administrative surcharge under KFTC’s amnesty plus program) 
  • Represented a leading multinational machine component manufacturer's Korean subsidiary in the KFTC’s 2-year investigation into the domestic crawler/track cartel, which resulted in full immunity under the KFTC’s corporate leniency program and amnesty plus benefits in another cartel investigation 
  • Represented a leading multinational elevator manufacturer's Korean subsidiary in the KFTC’s 3-year investigation into the domestic elevator/escalator cartel (at the time, one of the longest running cartel investigations in Korea), which resulted in partial immunity and substantial reduction in administrative surcharge under the KFTC’s corporate leniency program, and in a 7-year follow-on damage action filed by a major Korean customer in the trial and intermediate appellate courts and the Korean Supreme Court
  • Represented a leading multinational airline in a multi-jurisdictional cartel investigation into the international air cargo cartel (and subsequent appeal of the KFTC’s decision), which resulted in substantial reduction in administrative surcharge, and pending follow-on damage action filed by a major Korean customer 
  • Represented a leading multinational display manufacturer in a multi-jurisdictional cartel investigation into the international CRT and TFT-LCD cartel, which resulted in full immunity 
  • Represented a leading multinational heating, ventilation and air-conditioning manufacturer’s Korean subsidiary in the KFTC’s investigation into the domestic system air-conditioner cartel, which resulted in substantial reduction in administrative surcharge
  • Represented a leading multinational manufacturer's Korean subsidiary in the KFTC’s 2-year investigation into the domestic industrial motor cartel, which resulted in full immunity under the KFTC’s corporate leniency program and amnesty plus benefits in another cartel investigation
  • Represented a leading multinational manufacturer in a multi-jurisdictional cartel investigation into the international marine hose cartel, which resulted in substantial reduction in administrative surcharge
< Abuse of Dominance >                              
  • Represented an interested party in an investigation by the KFTC into an alleged abuse of market dominant position by Google and its Android operating system
  • Represented Qualcomm in an investigation by the KFTC into an alleged abuse of market dominant position 
 
[M&A]                               
  • Represented Oriental Brewery Company in acquiring a leading Korean craft beer maker
  • Represented Camso Inc. (formerly Camoplast Solideal Inc.) in selling its Korean subsidiary to Kamur Partners Private Equity for KRW 37,000,000,000
  • Represented DFASS Group in establishing a joint venture for duty free business with Entas 
  • Represented United Technologies Corporation (Pratt & Whitney) in establishing a joint venture for aircraft engine maintenance, repair and overhaul business with Korean Air in the Incheon Economic Free Zone
  • Represented DSM Nutritional Products in acquiring Bayer’s Korean animal feed premix business
  • Represented Otis Elevator in the sale of its industrial motor business for KRW 55,000,000,000 to Higen Motor, Hana-Cambridge-IMM Private Equity Fund, IMM Investment and Hana Investment Bank 
  • Represented the Industrial Bank of Korea in a strategic alliance and joint venture with Societe Generale Asset Management SA for asset management business in Korea and the establishment of IBK-SG Asset Management
  • Represented Otis Elevator in the sale of its dormitory complex in Changwon City, Korea for KRW 12,300,000,000 to World Construction 
  • Represented Carrier Refrigeration in the sale, and lease-back, of its factory facilities in Osan, Korea for KRW 52,000,000 to Merrill Lynch and Marathon Asset Management 
  • Represented Otis Elevator in a buy-out of its elevator joint venture partner in Korea, LG Corporation, for KRW 333,000,000,000
  • Represented Otis Elevator in the sale, and lease-back, of its factory facilities located within the Changwon National Industrial Complex for KRW 16,500,000,000 to Ameco
  • Represented Daewoo Telecom and its creditors’ representative, Woori Bank, in selling substantially all assets of Daewoo Telecom’s subsidiary, Daewoo Powertrain, to GM Daewoo Auto & Technology for KRW 102,000,000,000
  • Represented a consortium in acquiring substantially all assets of a Korean business division of Baxter Healthcare
  • Represented Mobiletop in a KRW 2,000,000,000 equity investment by Intel Capital and Samsung Venture Investment at pre-IPO stage
  • Represented Baring Communications Equity Asia Fund in acquiring KRW 4,400,000,000 convertible bonds issued by YoungJin.com at pre-IPO stage
  • Represented Ceratech in a KRW 55,000,000,000 equity investment by J.P. Morgan Partners Asia
  • Represented SEI Investments and International Finance Corporation in the first foreign acquisition of a controlling stake in a Korean asset management company, Asset Korea Capital Management (SEI Asset Korea/ Baring Asset Management Korea) for KRW 5,000,000,000 from Tongyang Securities 
  • Represented Newbridge Capital in the first foreign acquisition of a controlling stake in a Korean bank, Korea First Bank (SC First Bank/ Standard Chartered Bank Korea) for KRW 500,000,000,000 from the Korean government

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