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The Buzz in Bosnia & Herzegovina: Interview with Dino Aganovic of Heta Asset Resolution

The Buzz in Bosnia & Herzegovina: Interview with Dino Aganovic of Heta Asset Resolution

Bosnia and Herzegovina
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“All activities in Bosnia & Herzegovina in the past two months have had to do with the state of emergency caused by the crisis, as they will for the foreseeable future,“ says Dino Aganovic, Head of Legal and Compliance at Heta Asset Resolution in Sarajevo. Nonetheless, he says, as dangerous as the virus is, he believes in being cautious about the steps taken to address it. “I must admit that I’m a bit of a skeptic when it comes to complete shutdowns,“ he says. “The global economy is sliding into a recession that is bound to impact poorer societies in terrible ways. We need to be thinking about the future as well, not just the present.“

Aganovic notes that, although Bosnia & Herzegovina is relatively small, it is nonetheless “so complex a web of different jurisdictions and legislative frameworks, [and with] three and a half million people, living as parts of two entities, with over ten cantons.“ As a result, he says, “sometimes the different approaches to the outbreak yield ridiculous results – like one of the entities having a curfew and the other not, so if you want to go from point A to point B you sometimes have to go around some territories otherwise you’d get a fine!“ Of course, such differences also cause variations in PPE requirements and similar matters.

Aganovic says that a number of economic stimulus measures – so-called “Corona Laws“ – have been enacted. “However, the business sector has not taken to them so well and there are clear signals they were not enough, and that they were ushered into effect too late.“ Bosnia & Herzegovina has negotiated a EUR 330 million loan from the IMF to battle the economic harms of the crisis, but Aganovic reports that there is “a feeling that the loan is only there to secure the income of those working in the public sector – not to put out the fires in the economy country-wide.“

“The pandemic has fully fleshed out the corruption that exists in Bosnia & Herzegovina,“ Aganovic continues, pointing to what he calls the “extremely expensive and non-transparent public procurement“ of respirators that turned out to be “unusable in ICUs.“ In his opinion, that particular story was just the tip of the iceberg. “We have local elections scheduled for October, so the citizens will have an opportunity to try and get their voices heard.“

In the meantime, Aganovic says that “the courts have pretty much been locked down for the past two months, and pieces of legislation of questionable legality, from a constitutional perspective, have been passed to regulate the issues of deadlines for court proceedings by freezing them.“ He sighs. “I think that legal professionals will have their hands full taking care of the mess the crisis has caused. We’re likely to see an increase of NPL transactions as well as a mountain of work in settling contractual and employment disputes, and I wouldn’t be too surprised to see the country itself sued more than a few times.“

Bosnia and Herzegovina Knowledge Partner

Maric & Co Law Firm stands on the shoulders of more than 70 years of experience and practice in the legal market of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Having in mind that it is difficult to find a small country with such a complicated political and legal system, we are fully aware that quality advice requires deep understanding of different areas of law. In a country where legislation is created on state, entity and cantonal levels, without proper harmonization, and where the same regulation can be applied differently by two different courts, only domestic lawyers who are well-versed in local regulations and court practices, and who are highly specialized in their practice area, may actually help their client.

With this understanding, today, the firm Maric and Co is the largest law office in the country dealing exclusively with business law. This means that we provide wide expertise in resolving all issues that domestic and international investors encounter when setting up and operating businesses in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The scope of the office allows each of our attorneys to highly specialize in their fields, whilst the size of our team ensures delivery of premium advice and seamless service. Our firm seeks long-term partnerships with clients with the aim of providing the best and most complete solution to the client's legal needs. We are proud to say that our clients do not leave us.

We apply the same principles to our international affairs, aware of the fact that no foreign lawyer can have the same understanding of legal regulations of a country as a domestic lawyer. Therefore, our philosophy is not to open branches in countries where our clients do business, but to closely connect with top tier lawyers in those countries. Our law firm is one of the founding members of SEE Legal – a group of ten leading national law firms from 12 South East European countries. This network enables us to provide the best advice and representation in these countries. Additionally, as a result of our strong relationship with the majority of global law firms, we are able to provide law services anywhere in the world.

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