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DLA Piper has advised Capital Park on obtaining a EUR 159.3 million loan from the European Investment Bank and Pekao SA for the implementation of the "ArtN" project. CMS advised the lenders.

Dentons Warsaw has advised Tristan Capital Partners and White Star Real Estate on a EUR 86 million acquisition for the portfolio of EPISO 4 opportunity fund of a portfolio of five warehouses located in Poland from Oz Real Estate. Hogan Lovells advised the sellers.

CMS Russia has advised the shareholders of Western Siberian Commercial Bank on the sale of shares representing a total of 71.8% of the bank’s share capital to VTB Bank.

Popovici Nitu Stoica & Asociatii has advised the owners of Net Brinel on the sale of 85% of the share capital to French Group SNEF, which was reportedly advised by Monaco's Gordon Blair law firm.

Ilyashev & Partners has been appointed Ukrainian legal advisor on regulatory issues concerning introduction by the International Air Transport Association of the EasyPay payment system.

TGS Baltic has advised Expobank CZ a.s.on the financing of the acquisition by Astor Group Latvia of the shares of SIA Polar Bek Daugava, owner of the Radisson Blu Daugava Hotel, from PBR Hotel.

Dorda and the French office of Bird & Bird (acting as local counsel) have advised Cyan AG, an IT security company listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, on an international tender and on its entrance into a group license agreement with French telecommunications provider Orange S.A.

Sorainen has advised SBA group company Urban Inventors on the acquisition of a part of the former Kauno Grudai site in Kaunas, Lithuania, from Omina Bona, Antra Kryptis, and Emea Rei Limited. Solo practitioner Donatas Venslavicius reportedly advised the sellers on the deal.

Cobalt has advised Corum Origin on the acquisition and leaseback transaction of the ELKO Group headquarters office and warehouse in Riga for EUR 14.6 million. Ellex Klavins advised ELKO Group on the sale.

The Revera law firm in Belarus has announced the establishment of an Italy Desk in the firm to serve as "a platform for promoting interests of Belarusian companies and investors in Italy and promoting Italian business in Belarus."

Ana Popovic and Kruna Savovic have been promoted to partner at Zivkovic Samardzic in Serbia.

Yuliya Shved has joined Cobalt in Belarus as a managing associate and Head of Tax and Banking & Finance.

Nina Vjestica has become a partner at Dimitrijevic & Partners.

Vadim Medvedev has been promoted to Partner at Avellum in Ukraine.

Tamas Feher has been promoted to Partner at the Jalsovszky law firm in Hungary. Feher will also lead the firm's newly-established Litigation practice.

Rokas Daugela and Mindaugas Bliuvas have been promoted to Partner and Eva Suduiko and Arturas Kojala have been promoted to Associate Partner at Cobalt in Lithuania.

Maksym Nazarenko has been promoted to Partner within Sayenko Kharenko's Antitrust & Competition practice.

Inci Akin, Ayse Yazici Adanir, Sener Azkan, and Kerem Aric have become partners at the Yazici Attorney Partnership in Istanbul.

Overall, 2018 was a more active year in terms of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) enforcement actions compared to 2017. In 2018, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) took a total of 40 enforcement actions, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) took a total of 14 enforcement actions.

As of 1 January 2019, the National Bank of Serbia (“NBS”) took over the competencies of the Ministry of Finance and its department Tax Administration for issuance and revocation of licences to perform exchange operations. The NBS also took over the supervision of foreign exchange operations of Serbian residents and non-residents, being natural persons, entrepreneurs and general legal entities. The NBS adopted several decisions in order to execute the delegated competencies:

The Hungarian Competition Authority (HCA) cleared the acquisition of sole control over Invitel Távközlési Zrt ("Invitel") by Digi Távközlési és Szolgáltató Kft ("DIGI") conditionally - with commitments - in May 2018. A few months later, it established that DIGI had intentionally misled HCA officials and therefore revoked the decision and imposed a fine on DIGI of HUF 90 million (approx. EUR 280,000). It then reopened the proceeding to assess the relevant markets affected by the misleading information. Revoking a merger clearance decision is not without precedent in the HCA's recent practice, as the HCA has invoked three clearance decisions in the last two years. What is new, however, is that the HCA granted a derogation from the suspension clause to prevent negative market consequences from interfering with the already closed transaction. The HCA also resorted to a dawn raid during the original proceeding, which is a new instrument in merger control cases.

In the shadow of the highly publicized ordinance on "The tax on banks’ greed" (officially the tax on the assets of banking institutions according to Emergency Ordinance No. 114/2018 regarding the establishment of measures in the field of public investments and fiscal-budgetary measures, on amending an supplementing certain acts and the extension of some deadlines), the end of 2018 brought another surprise for the banking system, partly foreseen but with the hope that it would eventually not happen, or at least not too soon.

On 20 November 2018, the European Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (“EMPL”) adopted modernised rules for coordinating social security systems. The EMPL focused on facilitating labour mobility while safeguarding the workers’ social security rights in cross-border situations, by determining under which Member State’ s system a person is insured. The purpose of the new rules is to make it easier for EU citizens to work in another EU Member State and to have a fair access to social security benefits.

The Hungarian Act on the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (the “ESOP Act”) was amended by the Hungarian Parliament in November 2019. It is good news that the amendment does not affect the taxation of incomes from the ESOP organization, so it is still possible to get a private income through an ESOP under very favorable tax conditions. Accordingly, payments made to the employees within the ESOP are solely subject to a 15% personal income tax, which means 18.5% savings for the employees, while on the other hand employers can reduce their public burdens with 21%.

In December 2018 the Hungarian Parliament adopted a new legislation that significantly changes the Hungarian Labour Code. The proposer stated that the goal of this new legislation is ‘to remove administrative burdens from the employees, so if they want to earn more – with their consent – they can work more’.

In May 2017, Regulation (EU) 2017/745 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2017 on medical devices (“EU Regulation”) entered into force, stipulating a transition period for medical device manufacturers to comply with the EU Regulation by May 2020. As the title of the EU Regulation suggests, it lays down enhanced rules on medical devices, manufacturers, distributors, importers, and notified bodies. For any medical device to be put into and sold on the market, full compliance with the EU Regulation is required. The EU Regulation introduces and addresses several new principles and renders procedures pertaining to medical devices more transparent, trackable and predictable. These changes aim to ensure a high level of safety and protection for patient health and for the users within this industry, also taking into consideration the technological evolution and developments in this field.

In September 2018, the Capital Markets Board (“CMB”) had issued an announcement on its website, declaring that a secondary legislation for crowdfunding was underway. Just recently, on January 4, 2019, CMB published the Draft Communiqué on Equity Crowdfunding No. III-35/A (“Draft Communiqué”). In the announcement, CMB states that the Draft Communiqué aims to ensure the effective penetration of the crowdfunding model into the capital markets legislation and create a regulatory framework for crowdfunding activities.

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We’re still in the aftermath of the general elections that occurred in October of 2018,” says Andrea Zubovic-Devedzic, Partner at CMS in Sarajevo, who describes the elections as “ the biggest topic in 2018.” According to Zubovic-Devedzic, “there was a lot of wait-and-see before the elections. The hope was the government would be formed quickly and things would pick up. But unfortunately that hasn’t happened yet, and we’re still waiting.”

The Prague-based European Centre for Career Education focuses on providing students a practical and complimentary education, focusing on kinds of practical experience and inspiration they rarely receive in their university studies. After they complete the program, ECCE helps participants obtain useful internships with companies such as Siemens, Unicredit, Exxon Mobile, T-Mobile, and Lego, and with law firms including DLA Piper, Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy, and Dentons.

Miljan Malovic is the Head of the Business Legal Advisory Office of Banca Intesa Belgrade. He graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Belgrade in 2001, and joined Banca Intesa in 2006.

On October 31, 2018, CEE Legal Matters reported that the Erste Group had issued the first loan via blockchain platform in Europe. We reached out to Erste Group's Managing Director and Head of Group Transaction Documentation Kathrin Gfall-Gapp to enquire on the first paperless issuance experience.