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In The Corner Office, we invite Managing Partners at law firms from across the region to share information about their careers, management styles, and strategies. Our question this time: “What mistake do young associates commonly make that is most frustrating for you?”

Avellum has announced the promotion of Yuri Nechayev to Partner.

Ukraine revised transfer pricing rules and introduced new reporting and documentation requirements in 2013. Since then, the rules have been changed every year. And three years after the introduction of the new transfer pricing (TP) rules, we are witnessing an increasing wave of TP audits and the first TP disputes.

Avellum has announced the promotion of Yuri Nechayev to Partner.

KKLW has announced that Senior Partner Michal Kurzynski has become the firm's Managing Partner, and that firm lawyer Wiktor Wesolowski has been promoted to Partner.

Baker McKenzie, in cooperation with Gestors, has assisted Arcelor Mittal Kryvyi Rih with an anti-dumping investigation involving the import of reinforcing steel bars and wire rods from the Russian Federation.

Andrzej Posniak started his career in law at CMS in 2003 as a corporate trainee and, step by step, become a qualified tax advisor, then a Partner and Head of the Tax Team in CMS Warsaw's Corporate Department. In addition, Andrzej also fulfills General Counsel and Risk Manager roles for the firm in Poland. CEE Legal Matters sat down with Andrzej to learn more about his unique role.

RTPR Allen & Overy has advised Purcari Wineries Public Company Limited on its IPO and admission to trading on the Bucharest Stock Exchange under the WINE symbol, with retail investors oversubscribing more than four times over. Leroy si Asociatii advised the IFC on the listing, representing 49% of the Purcari Wineries share capital. The offer was managed by Raiffeisen Bank and Swiss Capital, advised by CMS.

CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz has opened a new office in Skopje, giving the Vienna-based member of the international CMS network a total of ten branches.

“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.

In 2016, Russian law enforcement authorities had some success in investigating and combatting bribery. For the first time in several years, the majority of cases involved bribe-taking, rather than bribe-giving, and involved significant bribe amounts. The number of cases against bribe-takers increased by 19.7% from 2015, while the number of cases against bribe-givers increased by only 4.4%. This trend continued in the first half of 2017; the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs and law enforcement authorities registered 3,362 cases of bribery, of which 2015 cases concerned bribe-taking and 1,347 cases concerned bribe-giving. 

Lord Goldsmith QC of Debevoise & Plimpton and a team from Akin Gump have represented Russian state-owned oil company PJSC Tatneft in its successful appeal in the English Court of Appeal from a summary judgment decision of the English High Court, allowing the case to proceed to trial.

The international law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP presents a brief overview of the most significant developments in Russian legal regulation (including legislative initiatives) and court practice in the real estate, construction and infrastructure sectors in the first half of 2017.

CMS has advised ZFP Investments on its acquisition of the Kotlarska 11 office project in Krakow. The seller reportedly was represented by DLA Piper. 

After a long year of waiting, law firms from Hungary finally had the opportunity to show off their bowling skills again last night, as the second year of the CEE Legal Matters Budapest Law Firm Bowling Challenge brought 14 four-person teams together for an intense challenge, with the proceeds donated to the winning team's charity of choice.

Sulija Partners Law Firm Vilnius has advised a subsidiary of aircraft leasing company AviaAM Leasing on the sale of an Airbus A321-211 aircraft from its fleet with an operating lease contract with Yamal Airlines to a subsidiary of GTLK Europe. GTLK Europe Ltd. was advised by DLA Piper’s London and Moscow offices.

Almost four years ago, under pressure from its European partners and the IMF exercised by means of economic adjustment programs and loan agreements broadly known as “memoranda,” the Greek State adopted a new tax procedural code.

On Thursday, November 30th, leading legal practitioners from across Central and Eastern Europe gathered in Prague to help CEE Legal Matters celebrate its fourth successful year as the leading chronicle of the legal industry in the region, participating in an expert Round Table conversation about the year just concluded and enjoying an evening of dinner, drinks, and bonhomie. 

The latest amendments to the Civil Procedure Code of Albania (CPC) which will enter into force in November 2017 are designed to increase the efficiency and performance of the country’s judicial system.

The past couple of years have been particularly challenging for Turkey’s M&A market owing to the domestic and global political climate and the weakened state of the Turkish economy. According to Deloitte’s annual M&A review published earlier this year, the M&A market in 2016 witnessed a total deal volume of USD 7.7 billion through 248 deals, resulting in the lowest deal volume since 2009. 

I. Legal Framework and the Purpose of the Proof of Trademark Use

The Industrial Property Law with Number 6769 (“IP Law”) has been published in the Official Gazette of January 10, 2017, introducing several changes to the Turkish trademarks law. Proof of use of a trademark is one of these changes brought by the IP Law.

The Working Party on the Protection of Individuals with regard to the Processing of Personal Data (“Working Party”) which is established as per the Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of October 24, 1995 (“EU Directive”) updated their opinion on consent under General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) which will be effective on May 28, 2018.

Czech lawyer Erik Kolan has become the seventh partner at Glatzova & Co in Prague.

The Deal:  On February 16, 2017, CEE Legal Matters reported that Glatzova & Co. had 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. Denemo Media is a Czech joint venture between Alphaduct, a.s. (with 75% ownership) and GES Media Asset, a.s. (with 25% ownership). Alphaduct, a.s. is owned by Czech businessman Vladimir Komar. GES Media Asset a.s. is part of the GES Group, which already owned 50% of FTV Prima Holding.

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.

International companies having a presence in Ukraine often need to employ foreign personnel due to specific character of their businesses or due to particular valuable experience of such foreign specialists. At the same time, Ukrainian legislation is designed to procure employment of local citizens in the first place. 

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.

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.

Jankovic Popovic Mitic has announced the promotion of Ivan Milosevic and Bojan Sunderic to Partner.

JPM has advised Constellation Software Inc. on the acquisition by its Vela Operating Group division and subsidiary Aquila Software of the IN2 Group.

JPM has advised Barentz, an international distribution company of high-quality ingredients, on the acquisition of Soforebo-Commerce d.o.o. Sombor.

In this era of digitalization, where legal frameworks around the world are rapidly changing to cope with revolutionary developments in the IT sector, the Serbian Government is following a similar path. Serbia is in the EU accession process and is thus obliged to harmonize its legislation with EU laws. One such law is EU Regulation No. 910/2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market (the “Relevant EU Regulation”). 

In The Corner Office, we invite Managing Partners at law firms from across the region to share information about their careers, management styles, and strategies. Our question this time: “What mistake do young associates commonly make that is most frustrating for you?”

The steady growth of the digital products market and an increasing demand for digital products required an adjustment to the Serbian VAT rules applicable to the supply of electronically supplied services (ESS), and that adjustment finally occurred in 2017. Combined with new rules on the VAT registrations of foreign suppliers, VAT obligations related to ESS became more straightforward.

As a result of the new Hungarian Code of Civil Procedure, from 1 January 2018 the parties of a dispute may conclude a settlement in civil cases before a public notary without initiating a court proceeding in the framework of a new non-litigious procedure.

The revised payment services directive (“PSD2”) has already been implemented in Hungary, most of the provisions will be effective on 13 January 2018. PSD2 will open up the payment market to new players (“fintech companies”) in the payment services, particularly to payment initiation service providers (“PISPs”) and to account information service providers (“AISPs”), and introduces strict security requirements for the initiation and processing of electronic payments (strong customer authentication – “SCA”). 

In November 2017 a new government decree entered into force on the status, organisation and tasks of the Hungarian State Treasury (Treasury). 

KSB has advices Skoda Auto DigiLab on its HoppyGo project, a car-sharing application developed by CreativeDock, which brings car owners together with drivers who want to rent a vehicle. The seller was advised by Novalia.

Kocian Solc Balastik has advised Czech game development studio Warhorse on the initial crowdfunding for the launch of its "Kingdom Come: Deliverance" video game and on legal aspects of the game’s development, including licensing arrangements with external software developers.

The Czech Commercial Register collects and records information on a broad range of incorporated entities in the Czech Republic, including the most common forms of companies that carry on businesses. Much of this information is publicly available via a free to use website.

Law Office Vujacic has advised Atlas Invest on the sale of "The Old Post" building in Budva, Montenegro, to an unnamed private individual, for EUR 3.2 million.

The development of intellectual property rights in Montenegro started when Montenegro became independent in 2006 and since the Intellectual Property Office of Montenegro – which deals with industrial property rights – started operations in 2008.

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.

One of the most controversial parts of corporate reorganization operations planning in Romania involves the use of share capital contributions or share swaps as a means to transfer company control – operations that fall into a legislative and administrative grey area. 

Maravela & Asociatii has advised Betty Ice, a Romanian ice cream producer, on the sale of the company to Unilever South Central Europe. The buyer was advised by Eversheds on the January 2018 deal, which remains subject to regulatory approval by the Romanian competition authorities.

Romanian Government Ordinance no. 23/2017 regarding split VAT payment entered into force on October 1, with its provisions being optional until the end of 2017. On January 1, 2018, the Ordinance becomes mandatory. 

Turkey’s Data Protection Law, which was published in the country’s Official Gazette on April 7, 2016, established the legal framework for the protection of personal data in Turkey and added new obligations for employers.

On November 9, 2017, the editors of CEE Legal Matters sat down with a cross-section of experts from leading law firms and prominent in-house legal departments in Turkey to learn about the current state of affairs in that ever-changing market.

Recent market dynamics lead its participants to run innovation-focused projects. “Pop-Up Shops or Flash Retailing” can be shown as an example of these innovative approaches.

The EU has always acknowledged the positive effects of foreign investments into member states and thus has one of the most open regimes in this regard. But in light of recent security issues in Western countries, the EU’s view on foreign investments has slightly changed, and out of concerns for both security and public order direct foreign investments could soon become subject to a so-called “screening mechanism,” in which they would be reviewed by the member state where the investment is planned, by the European Commission, and by other member states.

Macedonia’s 2013 Law on Takeover of Joint Stock Companies provides a squeeze-out right enabling a majority shareholder who has acquired at least 95% of the shares of an eligible joint stock company on the basis of a takeover bid to require the minority shareholders to sell their securities at a fair consideration.

In The Corner Office, we invite Managing Partners at law firms from across the region to share information about their careers, management styles, and strategies. Our question this time: “What mistake do young associates commonly make that is most frustrating for you?”

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.

Closing of Chapter 27: Environment is one of the most difficult and expensive challenges Serbia faces on its EU accession path.

Offering of securities to company employees through some form of employee profit sharing plan is a common way for companies around the world to reward their top managers and employees.

Biomass represents the most widespread source of energy in Serbia, making for around 60% of the total potential renewable energy resources.  However, national biomass estimations indicate that it is not sufficiently exploited.  In order to increase the share of biomass, Serbia is investing significant efforts in the development of this valuable energy resource.

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.

Venture capital investments in Bulgarian start-ups are on the rise, and modern legal structures such as share option plans and convertible notes can, if local law peculiarities are taken into account, be applied in the country.

The old Czech Commercial Code, which dated from 1991, prescribed that one third of the supervisory board of joint-stock companies with more than 50 employees must be elected by the employees. This originally brief regulation became increasingly complex, and by the time the Commercial Code was repealed thirteen years later it included detailed instructions on the matter.

On 29 December 2017, the Montenegrin parliament adopted a new Law on Tourism and Hospitality (the "Law"), which entered into force on 18 January 2018.

Tkalcic-Dulic, Prebanic, Rizvic & Jusufbasic-Goloman Partner, Arela Jusufbasic-Goloman, says that no significant laws or regulations have been passed in Bosnia & Herzegovina recently that could influence the work of lawyers or the business sector, although they are much needed.

"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.

Foreigners acquiring ownership of agricultural land in the Republic of Serbia.

Partners at Serbian Law Firms Discuss the Growing Number of Legal Alliances Appearing Across the Former Yugoslavia 

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. 

Turunc, working aside international counsel Holman Fenwick Willan, has advised International Container Terminal Services on its acquisition of a 65% stake in Turkish port manager Evyap Deniz Isletmeciligi. Guzeldere & Balkan advised the sellers on the deal.

Turunc has advised Taxim Capital on its acquisition of 51% of Turkey's Suwen lingerie and underwear manufacturer and retailer for an undisclosed price.

The Turkish Law on Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey (the “Law”) entered into force on April 20, 2016, replacing its predecessor (the Law on Turkish Human Rights Institution).

In The Corner Office, we invite Managing Partners at law firms from across the region to share information about their careers, management styles, and strategies. Our question this time: “What mistake do young associates commonly make that is most frustrating for you?”

On December 22, 2017, CEE Legal Matters reported on EUR 1.9 billion acquisition of UPC Austria from Liberty Global by T-Mobile. T-Mobile’s team was led by Vice President Legal, Regulatory & Interception Anja Tretbar-Bustorf, who spoke to us about the deal.

Wolf Theiss has advised Munich RE Group on the sale by its ERGO Group AG subsidiary of its legal protection subsidiary DAS Switzerland and the legal protection insurance portfolios of DAS Luxembourg and DAS Slovakia to the Allianz Group. Switzerland's Homburger AG and Luxembourg's Arendt & Medernach SA law firms worked alongside Wolf Theiss. White & Case and Binder Groesswang advised the Allianz Group.

After having dealt with a problem of practical interest for companies in the December 2017 issue of our newsletter in terms of GDPR requirements, we intent to cover in this article another topic of major interest for companies: when must they assess the impact of their processing of personal data activities and, if so, how do they make this assessment?

The end of 2017 brought us a number of important changes in public procurement, following the legislator's motivation to refine and streamline the public procurement system, and to reform the ex-ante control function of the award of public procurement contracts / framework agreements, of sector contracts / framework agreements and works concession and service concession contracts.

The price of used water and its unjustified and non-transparent increase is one of the most debated issues in recent years by hydroelectric power plant operators and, in particular, by micro-hydropower operators, with a major impact especially in the context of the change in the support scheme for green energy and blockage in the green certificates market.

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