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On 2 November 2021 the Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) published its long-awaited amended Online Identification Regulation (Online-Identifikationsverordnung, "Online-IDV"). The FMA herewith enables financial service providers subject to the KYC obligations of the Financial Market Anti-Money Laundering Law (Finanzmarkt-Geldwäschegesetz; "FM-GwG") to use purely biometrical processes for remote identification of new customers. Biometrical identification processes are all procedures for online customer identification where the entire or parts of the online identification are carried out by an automated electronic procedure without the involvement of employees – there is no need for personal contact in the whole remote identification process anymore.

The pandemic has transformed the Czech real estate market. While the residential and logistics real estate markets strengthened, the retail, tourism, and hotel sectors are among the worst affected. However, interest in investing in real estate has not waned as, in uncertain times, the purchase of real estate represents a safe place to park one’s funds and watch them appreciate. There has been no significant decline in property prices, even in the case of commercial real estate, as some investors had anticipated. The Czech market still lacks enough quality investment opportunities. The clear winner of this situation is the logistics segment. Our Prague office assisted in several transactions in the logistics segment, the largest being the purchase of 130 hectares of land intended for warehouse development, at one of the exits of the western D5 motorway. According to some real estate players, we can also expect increased interest in the industrial segment soon, including sale & leaseback transactions.

 In “The Corner Office” we ask Managing Partners at law firms across Central and Eastern Europe about their backgrounds, strategies, and responsibilities. With summer having just passed, the question this time: What is your one favorite yearly activity to disconnect?

Gas is of particular economic importance for Austria. In addition to production, infrastructure (including the Baumgarten gas hub), transportation, trade, and supply-secure coverage of gas demand play a major role. Yearly demand of roughly 80 to 90 terawatt-hours, constant over the last ten years, is generated by the manufacturing and energy sectors, non-energy consumption, agriculture, private households, power plants as conversion applications, transport, and the service sector. With a share of about 15%, gas also plays an important role in Austria’s electricity generation, primarily by providing flexible capacities that can be utilized at short notice to stabilize the power grid.

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Schoenherr is a leading full-service law firm providing local and international companies stellar advice that is straight to the point. With 15 offices and 4 country desks Schoenherr has a firm footprint in Central and Eastern Europe. Our lawyers are recognised leaders in their specialised areas and have a track record of getting deals done with a can-do, solution-oriented approach. Quality, flexibility, innovation and practical problem-solving in complex commercial mandates are at the core of our philosophy.

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