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Estonia's Nove law firm has successfully represented Tallinn Notary Triin Silda in a dispute involving the scope of notary duties, in which the Estonian Supreme Court clarified when a notary may refuse to perform a notarial act.

CMS has advised Niederosterreichische Breitband-Holding on its EUR 300 million sale of a 74.9% stake in its Niederosterreichische Glasfaserinfrastrukturgesellschaft subsidiary to Allianz Capital Partners. Eisenberger & Herzog advised the buyers on the deal.

Wolf Theiss has advised Raiffeisen Bank International AG on the issuance of EUR 500 million 0.125% extendable covered bank bonds 2019-2029 and the bonds' listing on the Official Market of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. DZ Bank AG Deutsche Zentral-Genossenschaftsbank, Frankfurt am Main, Mediobanca-Banca di Credito Finanziario S.p.A., Raiffeisen Bank International AG, Societe Generale, and UniCredit Bank AG were joint lead managers.

Sorainen Latvia and Herbert Smith Freehills have advised MM Capital Infrastructure Fund I, a Marubeni-backed fund, on the acquisition of a 29.06% interest in JSC Conexus Baltic Grid, a unified natural gas transmission and storage operator in Latvia, from Marguerite Gas I. Marguerite was advised by CMS London and Cobalt on the transaction, which remains subject to regulatory approval.

Ellex Raidla has advised IM Arvutid AS on its sale to UP Invest OU, an investment company controlled by Margus Linnamae. Eversheds Sutherland advised the buyers.

Taylor Wessing has advised the German Wefox Group on its merger with DIE Maklergruppe Versicherungsmakler GmbH. KWR Karasek Wietrzyk Rechtsanwalte advised DIE Maklergruppe.

Lawyers from DLA Piper's Moscow office joined the multi-jurisdictional team advising Evraz, a steel and mining company listed on the London Stock Exchange and a constituent of the FTSE 100 index, on its EUR 40 million sale of Evraz Palini e Bertoli to the Marcegaglia Group, an Italy-based company in the steel processing sector. Marcegaglia was advised by LCA Studio Legale.

Sorainen has advised Moomin Characters Oy Ltd, a company established by Finnish writer and illustrator Tove Jansson that is responsible for Moomin copyright and trademark protection, in pre-trial proceedings regarding a copyright infringement issue.

Bird & Bird has advised ForVEI II, a joint venture vehicle set up by Foresight and VEI Green, on its acquisition of 35 photovoltaic plants in Italy and Slovakia from the Origis Group. K&L Gates advised Origis on the deal, while Norton Rose Fulbright advised the financing banks, Deutsche Bank, Cooperatieve Rabobank U.A., and Landesbank Baden-Wurttemberg.

Andrey Gorlenko has joined Ivanyan & Partners, where he will focus on investment and commercial arbitration as part of the firm's newly formed International Arbitration practice, as well as on cross-border commercial disputes.

Ceren Yildiz, former Senior Lawyer at ELIG Gurkaynak, has been promoted to Partner, effective January 1, 2020.

Dumitrescu Bajenaru Oancea has merged with Zamfirescu Racoti Vasile & Partners in Bucharest, with Andrei Dumitrescu, Mihai Bajenaru, and Robert Oancea joining ZRVP’s management team as partners effective on January 1st, 2020. The consolidation will boost ZRFP's headcount to 65 lawyers, including 13 partners and 30 staff members. 

Senior Associate Kristína Bartoskova has been appointed head of Baker McKenzie's International Commercial & Trade practice in Prague.

Tuca Zbarcea & Asociatii has promoted Dan Cristea and Ciprian Timofte to Partner following the firm’s annual performance review in November. The promotions, which will become effective on January 1, 2020, will bring the total number of partners at the firm to 29.

Former Aon Head of Commercial Law Przemyslaw Karolak has joined Kondracki Celej Adwokaci as a Partner.

After five and a half years, Lithuanian lawyers Vytautas Senavicius and Tomas Talutis have dissolved their Tvins law firm partnership and concluded the operations of the firm.

Anita Palukiewicz and Hubert Wysoczanski have been promoted to Partner at SSW Pragmatic Solutions.

Serbia's Doklestic Repic & Gajin has announced that it has established a correspondent law office in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the form of that city's Karabdic Law Office.

Lack of diversity and under-representation that had taken deep root in legal profession worldwide also tarnished the image of international arbitration. The concept of diversity means appreciating uniqueness of each individual, admitting that different strengths come with those differences. Without doubt, diversity in gender, age, ethnicity, race, culture, political and religious beliefs, sexual orientation and socio-economic status is important and may have a game-changing role. Yet, is arbitration community ready to embrace all the good that comes with diversity?

Dismissal of the board members of a joint stock company is regulated under the Turkish Commercial Code numbered 6102 (“TCC”).  According to Article 408/2 of the TCC, general assembly of shareholders is granted with the sole power to appoint and dismiss board members. The scope and implementation of such power is defined under Article 364 of the TCC. Pursuant to such article, board members can be dismissed through including an item in the agenda of the general assembly meeting of shareholders for dismissal or with just cause even if the dismissal is not in the agenda of the general assembly meeting of shareholders.

Background

The amendment of the Austrian Law on the Ultimate Beneficial Owners Register (Wirtschaftliche Eigentümer Registergesetz) as part of the EU Financial Adaptation Act 2019 (EU-Finanz-Anpassungsgesetz 2019) was announced on 22 July 2019. This amendment provides for far-reaching changes of the Ultimate Beneficial Owners Register, implementing the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive on the one hand and resulting in improvements in user-friendliness on the other. The main changes that will come into force on 10 January 2020 are summarised below.

On 12 November 2019 Gergely Gulyás, Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office proposed an omnibus law in order to further streamline and expedite the operation of the metropolitan and county governmental offices. These offices serve, in many cases, as an authority of second instance where, at first instance, the city notary was the competent authority, so the Hungarian administrative system has shared competences in this respect.

Serbian National Parliament adopted Act on the Protection of Whistleblowers (“Official Gazette of RS”, no. 128/2014, hereinafter “APW”) on December 4th, 2014, rightfully recognizing that whistleblowers are essential elements of an ethical social and economic environment and hence deserve additional institutional protection (especially because of their exposure to employers’ retaliation).

A new amendment to the Hungarian Anti-Money Laundering Act seeks to extend its scope to custodian wallet providers and virtual currency exchange platforms, in order to reduce the risks associated to cryptocurrencies. The proposal is currently before the Hungarian Parliament, and aims at fulfilling Hungary’s obligations deriving from the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (“Directive”).

On October 10, 2019 the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia adopted the Law on Alternative Investment Funds and Law on Open-Ended Investment Funds with a Public Offering, where both of the laws came into force on October 19, 2019 and will become applicable on April 20, 2020.

On 12 November 2019 in Belgrade, Ministry of Justice signed a cooperation agreement with EUROJUST, an EU agency dealing with judicial co-operation in criminal matters among agencies of the member states. The signing of the agreement took place in Belgrade after Serbia fulfilled the prerequisite by adopting the new Act on personal data protection, which was the final step in complete harmonization with EU regulations and directives. Eurojust has cooperation agreements with 12 countries, 3 of which are Western Balkan countries: Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Albania.

On 23 October 2019 the European Commission published a report on the third annual review on the functioning of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. The report states that the U.S. continues to ensure an adequate level of protection for personal data transferred under the Privacy Shield from the EU to participating companies in the U.S. Today approx. 5,000 companies are participating in this EU-U.S. data protection framework.

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“There are no major movements between firms, or any new firms popping up,“ says Petar Mitrovic, Partner at Karanovic & Partners in Belgrade, about the Serbian legal market. “There have been some movements, some partners leaving their law offices and moving to the private sector, but nothing worth writing home about.“

Frances Gerrard, a member of CMS’s Corporate and M&A team in Prague, is a long way from her home in Australia. We spoke to her about the path that brought her to the Czech capital.

Peter Malovec is the Group Head of Legal at HB Reavis in Bratislava. He joined HB Reavis in 2010 after spending seven years in private practice with the BBH law firm. We reached out to him to learn more about his background, style, and strategies.

On July 25, 2019, CEE Legal Matters reported that Competera, a Ukrainian pricing platform for e-commerce and omni-channel retailers, had established its headquarters in the United States. We reached out to Competera's Senior Legal Counsel Denis Boshko for details.