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Avellum has announced that it was part of the Ukrainian Arbitration Association’s (UAA) Working Group that prepared an amicus curiae (friend of the court brief (the “Brief”), submitted to the High Specialized Court of Ukraine for Civil and Criminal Cases to aid in the Court's consideration of an appeal against a lower court’s decision regarding the recognition and enforcement of a Grain and Feed Trade Association award of USD 17,536,000 and compound interest.

Clifford Chance has advised Deutsche Bank, ING, Natixis, and UniCredit in their capacity as the coordinating committee for the pre-export finance banks in connection with the successful implementation of a USD 2.3 billion debt restructuring for Metinvest. Ukraine's Redcliffe Partners, working alongside Clifford Chance, provided Ukrainian law advice to the committee. Baker McKenzie and Allen & Overy advised Metinvest on the restructuring.

On the evening of December 8, 2016, at the Hotel Bristol in Warsaw, CEE Legal Matters hosted the 2016 Expert Summit – our annual gathering of experts from across the region to discuss the state of affairs in CEE Legal Markets. 

The Esin Attorney Partnership and Baker McKenzie's Paris and Frankfurt offices have advised the lenders in relation to USD 306,000,000 and EUR 956,500,000 Dual Currency Term Loan Facilities provided to Yapi ve Kredi Bankasi A.S.

The Esin Attorney Partnership has advised Jonquil Group Limited in relation to the sale by its Turkish subsidiary of 3.7 hectares of land in Bodrum to Idyma Gayrimenkul A.S., a subsidiary of Peska Turizm Yatirim A.S., a company developing and operating tourist facilities in Turkey. The LSA Legal Consultancy advised the buyers on the deal.

Clifford Chance has announced the promotion of 24 lawyers to its partnership worldwide, including Warsaw-based Marcin Bartnicki and Wojciech Polz. The promotions will take effect on May 1, 2017.

CMS has announced that Konrad Werner has been promoted to Counsel and Head of Real Estate Finance, Poland, and Agnieszka Ziolek has been promoted to Counsel and Head of Restructuring, Poland, in the firm's Warsaw office.

CMS Budapest has represented BlackRock in leasing a 3,500 square meter space at GTC White House, an office building being developed by GTC Hungary and due for completion in Q1 2018. Lakatos, Koves & Partners advised GTC Hungary on the deal. The agreement was concluded with an option to extend the office area up to 7,700 square meters starting in April 2018.

CMS has announced that Counsel Libor Prokes, Senior Associate Pavel Srb, and Associate Ivana Lobotkova have moved from Wolf Theiss to join the firm's real estate practice in Prague. 

“Unfortunately the situation in Macedonia is not bright” says Dragan Dameski, Partner at Debarliev, Dameski & Kelesoska in Skopje, referring to the prolonged political instability in Macedonia, and the “selective implementation of rule of law by the official institutions and bodies in power.”

The Government of the Republic of Macedonia, in its program for the period 2014-2018, incorporated a project that shall enable electronic concluding of real estate purchase agreements.

It is expected that the new Law on Notary Public will overcome the weaknesses identified in the existing Law and will also lead to higher efficiency in the notary public operation.

The Moscow and London offices of Debevoise & Plimpton have advised longstanding client PJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel (“Nornickel”) on its USD 1 billion Eurobond offering due 2023 with a coupon of 4.10% per annum.

2016 was a notable year in Russia for the extension of control over, and further clarification of, data localization requirements; establishment of a strategy for the further development of personal data legislation and an increase in attention to cybersecurity issues.

Debevoise & Plimpton has advised Universal Cargo Logistics Holding (UCL Holding) in the division of the shipbuilding and shipping business of Volgo-Balt Transport Holding (VBTH) with its minority shareholders, whereby the Vodokhod group – the river cruise business of VBTH – was taken over by the minority shareholders and UCL Holding consolidated 100% of VBTH, which has retained control of all of the shipbuilding and water cargo transportation assets. Chadbourne & Parke advised the minority shareholders on the deal.

DLA Piper is announcing that Alla Kozachenko has been appointed as Head of Corporate and M&A practice in the firm's Kyiv office.

CMS Budapest has advised the Futureal Group on the sale of the Skypark office building in the center of Budapest and the Sziget Centre shopping mall on the city's outskirts to the OTP Property Investment Fund. 

Marcell Szonyi in Budapest, Stanislava Valientova in Bratislava, Georgy Pchelintsev in St. Petersburg, and Bartlomiej Kordeczka in Warsaw are among the 54 lawyers worldwide promoted to Partner in the firm's most recent promotion round.

Almost five years after the European Commission submitted its first proposal on the reformation of the data protection landscape, a new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has finally been adopted, designed to harmonize data protection across EU Member States. The GDPR will be directly applicable in all Member States as of May 25, 2018, placing, in the interim, all interested businesses in a race against time to observe all the compliance obligations it imposes.

Very little has changed in the Albanian legal market, according to Besnik Duraj, Partner at Drakopoulos, apart from the judicial reform introduced last year to incentivize foreign investors who have been discouraged by the judicial corruption and political instability in Albania (as described by Besnik in The Buzz he provided CEE Legal Matters on July 20, 2016).

On the evening of December 8, 2016, at the Hotel Bristol in Warsaw, CEE Legal Matters hosted the 2016 Expert Summit – our annual gathering of experts from across the region to discuss the state of affairs in CEE Legal Markets. 

In Turkey, the authority to initiate dumping or subsidy examinations, upon complaint or, where necessary, ex officio, is given to the Ministry of Economy (“Ministry”). Within the scope of this authority, the Ministry announces its decisions with the communiqués published on the Official Gazette. 

Turkey’s first and only law specifically dedicated to data protection and privacy, the Law No. 6698 on Protection of Personal Data (“Law No. 6698”), came into force on April 7, 2016 with certain transition periods. The Data Protection Board has been formed, but is not yet functioning. The secondary legislation is still pending, although certain sector-specific regulations have been put in place, and is expected to be completed by April 7, 2017.

An alternative dispute resolution method is expected to be introduced in Turkey shortly through the Draft Law on Labor Courts (“Draft Law”). The purpose of the Draft Law is to bring a functional and an effective judicial procedure for labor conflicts via mandatory mediation and to replace the current regulations. 

Glatzova & Co. has advised Denemo Media s.r.o. on its acquisition of a 50% shareholding in FTV Prima, with Allen & Overy advising Modern Times Group, the seller.

Glatzova & Co. has successfully represented TFS RT, INC. in the restructuring proceedings of its business partner.

“The trend that we discussed at the Round Table back in November is continuing,” says Jiri Sixta, Partner at Glatzova & Co., referring to the upbeat reports on the Czech market provided by members of a November 2016 CEE Legal Matters’ Round Table.

Ukrainian legislation provides state guarantees of safety of foreign investments with the goal to protect the rights of foreign investors.

The Law of Ukraine “On protection of economic competition” has been recently amended regulation regarding concentration of economic entities.

By the Law of Ukraine as of April 7, 2015 No 289-VIII “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on the protection of investors", the institute of "derivative suit" was introduced into Ukrainian corporate law. Derivative suit was provided as an additional protection of companies’ interests from fraud actions of officials.

Thomas Hruby was born in Montreal, Canada, where he attended McGill University, from which he received his B.A., B.C.L., and LL.B. degrees. He was admitted to the Bar of the Province of Quebec in 1983 and practiced law in Montreal. He obtained a Master’s degree in law from Charles University in Prague in 1991 and was admitted as a fully-qualified Czech advocate by the Czech Bar Association in 1992. In 1993, he opened the Prague office of the Montreal law firm Mitchell, Gattuso and he subsequently joined the Prague office of Linklaters & Alliance. In 2001 he started his own practice in Prague, and he was joined by Jiri Buchvaldek in 2006 to form Hruby & Buchvaldek. 

In “The Buzz” we interview experts on the legal industry living and working in Central and Eastern Europe to find out what’s happening in the region and what legislative/professional/cultural trends and developments they’re following closely. Because the interviews are carried out and published on the CEE Legal Matters website on a rolling basis, we’ve marked the dates on which the interviews were originally published.

Jiri Buchvaldek, Partner at Hruby & Buchvaldek in the Czech Republic, is flabbergasted at the amount of new regulations being thrown at small businesses and entrepreneurs in the country. "It’s just freakish what’s going on," he says, shaking his head.

Based on Memorandum of Understanding signed by Serbia's Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Serbia's Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Austria's Federal Foreign Ministry, Austria's Federal Economic Chamber, JPM has provided support to a project dedicated to develop the dual education system in Serbia.

JPM has advised the sellers of I.KOM, one of the largest cable TV, broadband Internet, and telephone industry providers in Serbia, on its takeover by SBB. The identities of the sellers — three SPVs ultimately owned by three private individuals — was not disclosed. Moravcevic Vojnovic and Partners in cooperation with Schoenherr advised SBB on the takeover.

JPM Jankovic Popovic Mitic has appointed Partner Nikola Poznanovic as the firm’s new Head of Competition.

Serbia's MIM Law has announced that former Karanovic & Nikolic Partner Tanja Unguran has joined the firm as a Partner.

JPM has advised the sellers of I.KOM, one of the largest cable TV, broadband Internet, and telephone industry providers in Serbia, on its takeover by SBB. The identities of the sellers — three SPVs ultimately owned by three private individuals — was not disclosed. Moravcevic Vojnovic and Partners in cooperation with Schoenherr advised SBB on the takeover.

At the moment, data protection in Serbia is primarily regulated by the provisions of the Law on Personal Data Protection, enacted in 2008, with the last amendments from 2012 (the “Law”). Naturally, a number of other laws also regulate certain aspects of data protection, and these other laws are to be interpreted together with the basic principles and general rules of the Law.

The Hungarian Parliament has started the general debate concerning the new bill on the mandatory filing of country-by-country report by multinational enterprise groups (MNE Groups) located or operating in the EU. The aim is to hinder the aggressive tax-planning practices of the MNE Groups with a total consolidated revenue equal or higher than €750 million by strengthening the mandatory exchange of information. Increased transparency could have the effect of giving MNE Groups an incentive to abandon the above practices.

At the end of March 2017, the Hungarian Ministry of Justice published the bill of the new act on attorneys at law. The bill includes significant amendments compared to the current regulations. As a main amendment, in house lawyers preparing and countersigning the deeds of the company and acting in court proceedings on behalf of the company would be integrated in the bar association.

Background – The History of the Principle of Self-Regulation in Hungary

KSB has acted for the Energo-Pro group on its acquisition of 100% of the shares in Murat Nehri (a Turkish company currently developing the 280 MW Alpaslan II Hydroelectric Power Plant on the Murat river in Mus province in South-Eastern Turkey) from Enerjisa Enerji Uretim — a 50-50 joint venture of the Turkish Sabanci Group and German E.ON. The Gurel Yoruker firm advised the sellers on the deal, which closed on April 28, 2017. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Conflict of Rights

Kinstellar has advised Trelleborg, a provider of engineered polymer solutions, on its EUR 65 million sale of Trelleborg Material & Mixing Lesina s.r.o., a producer and supplier of polymer compounds, to Hexpol. Kocian Solc Balastik advised Hexpol on then deal.

As a developing country and a candidate state for the EU and NATO, Montenegro has done a great deal to establish an effective legal and institutional framework in many areas.

Recent research shows that Montenegro has a high hydro-energy potential with a noteworthy index of cost-effectiveness of investments and favorable ecological and social environments. The estimated theoretical hydro potential on the main water courses totals 9,846 GWh/year. Out of this capacity, less than 1,800 GWh, or only 17%, has been harnessed so far. 

Montenegro is located in the Western Balkans, with a population of only just over 600,000. Once it was part of former Yugoslavia and today it is a country that has independently done a lot on its European integration path.

Gelu Maravela, the Co-Managing Partner of Maravela⎪Asociatii, waives away the potential impact of politics on investment in the country. “There’s no election scheduled for this year anyway,” he says, “so for the next six years we’re 'at bay' on major changes.” In any event, “in terms of politics, we don’t care about it. They have their own agenda. Obviously they have some influence on it, but they can’t really contribute to our business. The private sector moves by itself.”

On the eve of the EU reform package on data protection rules coming into force, the wide disparities between the ways different public bodies process and manage citizens’ personal data have become apparent at the national and local levels.

Maravela & Asociatii has assisted Quantum Music Records Romania on its conclusion of a strategic partnership with Universal Music France for the development of the musical project of the artist Irina Rimes (also known as Irina Remesh or Irra), in France and on French territories and in the French communities of Monaco, The French Overseas Territories and Departments, Andorra, Benelux, Switzerland, and Canada.

Although the economic needle of the Turkish compass suffers through changes and deviations in the recent years, energy sector (mainly renewable/sustainable) remains true to its nature of sustainable growth and energy.

Is Sustainability Possible in Family Businesses? 

As is known, family businesses carries a crucial importance not only in Turkey but also in global sense in economic life. Family companies contribute nearly %75 of GNP and %85 of employment in Turkey. 

Although mediation process entered into force about 5 years ago, due to many reasons, it has not caught up the expected effect yet, however, it seems determined to change this trend. It is possible to resort to mediation for resolving all kinds of private legal disputes arising from acts or transactions of real and legal persons.

The Personal Data Protection Act 2005 (the “Act”) is the key legislative act that regulates personal data protection matters in Macedonia, including transfers of personal data outside of Macedonia. The Act is aligned with the EC Directive 95/46/EC (the “Data Protection Directive”). Macedonia’s obligation to align the Act with the Data Protection Directive derives from its status as a European Union candidate country, for which implementation of the EU legislation is mandatory. The Directorate for Personal Data Protection (the “Directorate”) is the Macedonian independent agency competent to oversee the Act’s implementation.

Due to technological advances, it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to effectively manage the way their personal information is being collected and stored. It is thus quite surprising that the provisions of the Slovenian Personal Data Protection Act have managed to stay unchanged for almost ten years. But that does not mean that there have been no recent developments in the information privacy regulatory framework.

On the evening of December 8, 2016, at the Hotel Bristol in Warsaw, CEE Legal Matters hosted the 2016 Expert Summit – our annual gathering of experts from across the region to discuss the state of affairs in CEE Legal Markets. 

We can look at the current situation from the bright side in Slovenia,” laughs Grega Peljhan of Slovenia’s Rojs, Peljhan, Prelesnik & partnerji law firm. "We have Melania Trump and the world’s best cook, Ana Ros!"

On December 20th, 2016, CEE Legal Matters reported that the Slovenian metal-processing company UNIOR had completed a syndicated debt refinancing process with a group of six banks. We interviewed Darko Hrastnik, the Chairman of the Board and CEO at UNIOR, who was directly responsible for handling the transaction and managing the external counsel.

ODI has represented a consortium of NLB, Banka Koper (Intesa Sanpaolo Group), Sberbank, Abanka, NKBM and Gorenjska Banka on a EUR 113 million syndicated debt refinancing of UNIOR, an advanced international company in metal-processing filed and active in tourism. UNIOR was represented by Rojs, Peljhan, Prelesniki & Partners.

Serbian national electricity company, Electric Power Industry of Serbia (“EPS”), is working actively on the development of systems for generation of renewables. Some of the most important ventures at the moment are construction of solar and wind farm in Kostolac, a small town in the eastern part of Serbia, as well as support to investments in the field of biofuels.

During the last year, the number of labor disputes which were resolved through mediation and arbitration in Serbia have increased fivefold. To improve the process of peaceful labor dispute resolution, amendents to the Amicable Labor Dispute Resolution Act (the “Act”) are expected.

New Regulation on Terms and Conditions for Attracting Direct Investments enacted by the Serbian Government came into force on 1 January 2017 (the “New Investment Regulation”).

The relative success of the center-right Croatian Democratic Union in the September 11th extraordinary parliamentary election in Croatia “should be good for Croatia and good for business" reports Boris Savoric, Senior Partner at Savoric & Partners in Zagreb, if the party succeeds in forming a government with one of the minority parties in the country.

Women’s Day is behind us, but the subjects of gender equality and equal opportunity are of year-round concern. This, the first part of a special two-part CEE Legal Matters article on women in private practice in CEE, provides the numbers and percentages from leading law firms across CEE, as well as a more thorough snapshot of one representative market. Part II of the report, in the June issue, will pull back the curtain even more, providing feedback and perspectives from lawyers across the region.

Business is good in Bulgaria at the moment, according to Ilko Stoyanov, Partner at Schoenherr in Sofia. He draws particular attention to the real estate market — especially the shopping mall segment, which has seen four Sofia malls change owners already this year. Stoyanov isn’t able to pinpoint a particular reason for the boom, but notes that two of the malls (The Mall and the Serdika Center) are expected to be sold to a "sizeable investor”  New Europe Property Investments. The price of real estate has increased in 2017, according to Stoyanov, “reaching levels close to before the financial crisis."

Schoenherr is representing Cubic (London) Limited and core shareholders including San Gabriel Privatstiftung and T.R. Privatstiftung on the sale of their controlling stake in C-Quadrat Investment AG to the Chinese conglomerate HNA Group (Hong Kong) Co., Limited. C-Quadrat is an independent asset manager listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange. 

We are living in a digital age. The Snowden case has placed certain aspects of personal data processing and related threats in the spotlight. The ripple effects have been seen far beyond the USA, and Bulgaria has also been affected by discussions on how personal data is used. However, personal data protection is a post factum topic when problems and questions arise. Many Bulgarians have heard about personal data, but few are interested in finding out more. The protection of personal data is, generally, not taken seriously. 

"There are certain developments influencing our day-to-day business,” says Adela Rizvic, Partner at Advokatski Ured Tkalcic-Dulic, Prebanic, Rizvic i Jusufbasic-Goloman in Sarajevo.

Rojs, Peljhan, Prelesnik & Partners (RPPP) has advised Enterprise Investors on the acquisition by the Polish Enterprise Fund VII, which it manages, of 100% of shares in sporting good retailer Intersport ISI in a carve-out transaction from Mercator Group. According to RPPP, "the value of the transaction is up to EUR 34.5 million and the transaction transaction is conditional upon obtaining customary regulatory approvals." RPPP — a member of the TLA alliance — reports that "all other TLA law firms from the region, including JPM Jankovic Popovic Mitic from Serbia, Tkalcic-Djulic, Prebanic, Rizvic and Jusufbasic-Goloman from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Debarliev, Dameski & Kelesoska from Macedonia" were involved as well. Slovenia’s Jadek & Pensa and Serbia’s Prica & Partners advised Mercator on the transaction.

In late December 2016, the Government of Serbia passed the new Decree on Terms and Conditions for Attracting Direct Investments. The Decree supplements the Law on Investments (2015), regulating in finer detail criteria, conditions and means of attracting direct investments, in particular granting of State incentive funds for investment projects. 

The rights and obligations of people who live in apartment buildings, maintenance of apartment buildings and relationships between the owners of apartments have never been regulated in Serbia comprehensively and in detail.

The latest amendments of the Law of Civil Procedure entered into force on 31 May, 2014. New efforts and the legislator's intent to make the civil procedure more cost-effective and more efficient can be seen from the initial provisions.

Turkey’s first data protection and privacy law (the “Law”) came into force on April 7, 2016. The Law, which is largely in line with the EU’s Data Protection Directive, aims to safeguard the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals, in particular their right to privacy, with respect to the processing of their personal data.

Turunc provided Turkish legal advice and the Kyriakides Georgopoulos Law Firm acted as Greek legal advisor to Israel's Rivulis Irrigation Ltd. in relation to its acquisition of 100% of the shares in the Greek company Eurodrip SA from US fund Paine Schwartz Partners, LLC. Israel's Naschitz, Brandes, Amir & Co. was lead counsel for the buyers, while Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and A. S. Papadimitriou & Partners advised the sellers.

I have been doing deals in the CEE region in one capacity or another for over a decade now. My initial introduction to the region was during my time in New York and London with Cleary Gottlieb where I frequently instructed local law firms in the region on cross-border transactions.

Wolf Theiss has advised the Vienna Insurance Group as issuer and Erste Group as arranger, sole lead advisor, and bookrunner on VIG's issuance of a EUR 250 million 3.5% tier 2 subordinated bond to run from 2017 to 2027.

Despite fighting his way through a spring cold, Peter Daszkowski, Co-Managing Partner of Wolf Theiss in Poland, is sanguine about the state of affairs in Poland. "With regard to Warsaw it’s business as usual,” he says. 

CMS has announced that Counsel Libor Prokes, Senior Associate Pavel Srb, and Associate Ivana Lobotkova have moved from Wolf Theiss to join the firm's real estate practice in Prague. 

This month's cover article aims to analyze, in the specific context of a case study based on the experience of our team, the practical effects on companies of the lack of corroboration or compatibility of certain legal provisions.

Stratulat Albulescu Attorneys at Law is reporting that former Voicu & Filipescu Partner Florin Dutu has joined the firm as a Partner to head its Litigation and Arbitration practices.

Expenses and value added tax are non-deductible for purchases made during the period in which your company or one of your business partners from whom you purchase goods or services is declared fiscally inactive. They can be deducted after fiscal reactivation in certain conditions. This article describes the situations where a company is declared fiscally inactive and how one can check the fiscal inactivity status, also analyzing the regime of expenses and value added tax during inactivation and after fiscal reactivation.

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