“Nothing really big is happening at the moment,” says Anisa Rrumbullaku, Partner at CR Partners in Tirana. "Not much has happened recently — it’s been pretty stable for the past three months.”
CMS has acted with lead counsel Jones Day in advising the OTP Bank Group on its acquisition of Societe Generale subsidiaries SG Expressbank Group, Sogelife Insurance Company, and SG Banka Albania, for over EUR 600 million. Schoenherr's Sofia office and Kalo & Associates in Tirana advised Societe Generale on the sale.
“As part of Albania’s new judicial reform, in the beginning of 2018 a vetting law entered into force, which stipulates that about 800 judges and prosecutors will undergo a professional and ethical re-evaluation,” reports Alban Caushi, Managing Partner at CR Partners. “As a result, there is an impasse in the judiciary system: The Constitutional Court does not have a quorum to take over cases and the Supreme Court is paralyzed.”
The winners of the 2017 CEE Deal of the Year Awards were announced at the first ever CEE Legal Matters Deal of the Year Awards Banquet last night in Prague. The biggest smiles in the joyous and music-filled celebration of CEE lawyering, perhaps, were on the faces of Partners from Avellum and Sayenko Kharenko, which, along with White & Case and Latham & Watkins, won the award both for Ukrainian Deal of the Year and CEE Deal of the Year for their work on the 2017 Ukraine Eurobond Issue (a story initially reported by CEE Legal Matters on October 2, 2017).
The western Balkan countries of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, and the Republic of Macedonia share the desire to join the European Union. Two of these countries — Albania and Macedonia — are particularly close to accession. we spoke to several lawyers to learn more about how accession could affect the business landscape and the work of lawyers in the two countries.
CR Partners has acted as local counsel to National Bank of Greece S.A. on the February 2, 2018 sale of NBG's entire stake in its Albanian subsidiary, Banka NBG Albania Sh.A. to American Bank of Investments SHA. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer served as international counsel to MBG on the sale, while Kerameus & Partners advised ABI.
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 Buzz in Albania, according to Perparim Kalo, the Managing Partner at Kalo & Associates, is not as bleak as many who listen to the complaints of his countrymen might believe. "It is common to complain in the Balkans,” he says with a smile. "We usually consider positive trends or developments as less important than failures. It is a kind of a complaining culture.”
The commercial legal markets of Central & Eastern Europe didn’t appear automatically. They didn’t develop in a vacuum. They were formed, shaped, and led, by lawyers – visionary, hard-working, commercially-minded, and client-focused individuals pulling the development of CEE’s legal markets along behind them as they labored relentlessly for their clients, their careers, their futures.