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On 20 April, the European Parliament endorsed two regulations which will fundamentally change the crypto-asset market landscape in the EU and potentially beyond: the Regulation for Markets in Crypto-assets (MiCA) and the recast version of the Transfer of Funds Regulation (TFR recast). As a forerunner in regulating crypto business, Estonia has had local crypto laws in place since 2017, however, MiCA and TFR recast will be directly applicable in the EU and will replace the respective local legislation.

Following the general election, the new coalition government has committed to balancing the state budget and consequently revealed many intended taxation changes. While these ideas are not yet set in stone, here are the key changes that could be expected based on what has been communicated.

Cobalt has advised Pakrineeme Sadama on selling its liquefied natural gas loading quay in Paldiski – together with the related infrastructure and port property – to the Estonian Stockpiling Agency for a total transaction value of EUR 31.5 million.

On February 24, 2023, the Latvian Constitutional Court issued a long-awaited Judgement in case 2022-03-01 confirming that the current control mechanism over arbitration in Latvia is incomplete and unconstitutional. This means that the government will now be required to introduce a procedure for setting aside arbitral awards made by tribunals seated in Latvia.

White-Collar Crime is commonly thought of as something only a natural person can be held liable for. Although this might be the case in some jurisdictions, it does not apply in Estonia. The Estonian legal system allows companies to be held criminally liable alongside or separately from their representatives.

On May 1, 2023, the Foreign Investment Reliability Assessment Act, currently under adoption by the Estonian Parliament, will likely enter into force. Looking at the European Union as a whole, the push towards more supervision over foreign investors is not novel. What is new, is the Estonian approach to it and why this approach was taken. 

As of January 1, 2023, new rules regulating exclusion grounds will be applicable in Latvian procurements. This comes after the Latvian Competition Council discovered a bid-rigging scheme in the construction sector involving almost all of the largest Latvian construction companies. Notably, the period of exclusion will be extended, and the commencement date will be brought forward.

Latvia’s commercial real estate market saw a high volume of transactions in the past few years, involving shopping centers, stores, offices, and other types of properties. Cobalt Managing Partner Dace Silava-Tomsone, Ellex Klavins Partner Ilga Gudrenika-Krebs, and BDO Law Head of Legal Raivis Leimanis chart the market’s performance in a foggy 2022. 

With numerous reports of energy-related business shutdowns, we reached out to local experts across CEE to understand what different markets have been dealing with, in terms of work and production stoppages, and look into the broader impact.

Did You Know that, according to the Activity Rankings function of the CEELMDirect website, nine law firms in Central and Eastern Europe got off to an exceptionally strong start in 2023, with five client matters or more reported on by CEE Legal Matters in the first month of the year alone?

Cobalt at a Glance

COBALT is a closely integrated alliance of top-tier law offices across the Baltics, uniting more than 250 attorneys and support staff. During 25 years of experience, we have become a strategic partner to our clients in handling both daily matters and complex large–scale transactions and disputes.

The firm’s broad spectrum of expertise and established position as the market leader gives a comprehensive basis for providing full-service business law advice.

Top international and regional businesses, financial institutions, state and local governments, and the region’s most promising start-ups are among our clients. We offer leading-edge solutions in key industry sectors: Consumer Products, Trade & Distribution, Real Estate & Construction, Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare, Energy & Utilities, Communications, Media & Technologies, Financial Services, Transport & Logistics.

COBALT has been named Baltic Law Firm of the Year 7 times receiving Chambers Europe, IFLR, The Lawyer and Mergermarket awards, and we are regularly listed amongst the top-performing M&A legal advisors in the Bloomberg, Refinitiv and Mergermarket deal tables. Recognized as the No.1 Lithuanian law firm in the Prospera Law Firm Review 2021 and No. 1 law firm in Latvia in 2022, 2020, 2019, and 2018 client satisfaction surveys. We were recognized as a Baltic-wide Law Firm of the Year at the 2022 Chambers Europe Awards ceremony and named the Baltic States Tax Firm of the Year and Pro Bono Firm of the Year at the annual ITR EMEA Tax Awards 2021 ceremony. 

More information on COBALT can be found at www.cobalt.legal.