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"Albania right now has a loaded political and economic situation,” says A.R.S. Legal & Financial Services Manager and Attorney at Law Elisabeta Nezaj, "considering the earthquake that hits on November 26th." That 6.4-magnitude earthquake that hit northwestern Albania was felt mainly in Durres and Tirana and as far away as Taranto and Belgrade, ultimately killing 51 people in the country — making it the world’s deadliest earthquake in 2019 — and causing massive damage to homes and infrastructure. According to her, "all government bodies are focused on providing help for the people who suffered from this event, and we are taking support from other governments to reconstruct the buildings that were damaged.”

Albania's A.R.S. Legal & Financial Services has become the "partner office" of Cabinet Stoyanovitch Avocats, a member of the Justinian Lawyers network.

Former Wolf Theiss Poland Co-Managing Partner Ron Given has joined Deloitte Legal as its CE Senior Legal Counsel, responsible for all of the firm’s offices in 19 Central and Eastern European countries.

Austrian lawyers Andreas Gfohler, Hannes Pesendorfer, Christian Gruber and Michael Weiner have been promoted to Partner at Schramm Oehler.

DLA Piper Vienna has opened a Russia Desk, headed by new Senior Associate Ekaterina Larens Matveychuk.

CMS has advised Encavis Infrastructure Fund III on its acquisition of the Furstkogel wind farm in Austria, consisting of five wind turbines with a total rated output of 17.25 MW. The sellers, wind energy specialist Ecowind Handels- & Wartungs-GmbH, were advised by Schonherr.

Sorainen has advised Data Delivery LLC, a Belarus-based developer of the RocketData.io platform for managing business reputation and online data, on implementing share options for employees.

Sorainen has helped Northern European fast-food chain Hesburger expand its operations in Belarus.

Sorainen has advised the EBRD on its provision of a EUR 200 million financing package to Belarusian subsidiaries of the Kronospan group. 

Baros, Bicakcic & Partners has successfully persuaded the High Commercial Court in Banja Luka to upheld the decision of the District Commercial Court obliging Addiko Bank to pay firm client Vucko d.o.o. Jahorina a total of over BAM 1 million in damages, interest, and court costs.

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.

Less than a month after entering Slovenia, Andersen Global has entered into a collaboration agreement with Banja Luka-based Sajic in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

DGKV has successfully defended the interests of Mayoral Moda Infantil S.A. and its Bulgarian subsidiary Mayoral Bulgaria EOOD before the Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition in a case brought by their commercial partner, Comsed, involving allegations of superior bargaining position.

Tokushev & Partners has helped the Fund of Funds in Bulgaria make arrangements with two financial intermediaries to create several alternative investment funds for equity investments.

Why would anyone knowingly become a law firm marketing specialist – a role that is demanding, complicated, challenging, and stressful? To explore this mystery, we went to the source. Accordingly, this time around we asked the law firm marketing specialists of CEE to complete the following question: “I went into Law Firm Marketing/BD as a career because ____________.“

Following the adoption of the Regulation (EU) 2016/679 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC („GDPR“) on April 27, 2016, the Croatian GDPR Implementing Act („GDPR Act“) entered into force on May 25, 2018, simultaneously with the start of application of the GDPR.

In late November 2019 the Croatian Parliament passed a series of laws amending Croatian tax legislation. The new laws, in the most part, came into effect on 1 January 2020. The changes form part of wider efforts of the Croatian Government to ease the tax burden on both citizens and businesses.

Why would anyone knowingly become a law firm marketing specialist – a role that is demanding, complicated, challenging, and stressful? To explore this mystery, we went to the source. Accordingly, this time around we asked the law firm marketing specialists of CEE to complete the following question: “I went into Law Firm Marketing/BD as a career because ____________.“

Kinstellar has advised Czech investment group Portiva on its acquisition of a 5000-square meter retail center in Ivancice, Czech Republic, from Austrian developer Aventin.

Czech attorney Marta Fisnerova has become the fifth partner at JSK in Prague.

Dentons and Simpson Thacher have advised Round Hill Capital and Blackstone Tactical Opportunities on the sale of a EUR 1.3 billion residential real estate portfolio in the Czech Republic to Swedish real estate company Heimstaden Bostad AB, which was advised by Clifford Chance. 

The Kyriakides Georgopoulos Law Firm has been chosen by State Grid International Development Limited as its exclusive legal advisor in Greece, following what the firm describes as "a competitive negotiation tender process organized."

Stamatis Drakakakis has joined Zepos & Yannopoulos' Antitrust & Competition Law practice.

Ioannis Giannakakis, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of the G+P Law Firm, has become Group General Counsel at The Andromeda Group.

Lakatos, Koves & Partners has advised Soulbrain on the acquisition of a development site from the state-owned National Industrial Park Management and Development Company and on all other legal aspects of its Hungarian operation. The sellers were reportedly advised by Katona Gyorgy Law Office.

Kapolyi Law Firm has appointed Katinka Tolgyes the firm's new Head of Competition.

Do you need a company to be established in Hungary? You will find below some hints and tips that will make your life easier.

Cobalt has advised the European Investment Bank on a EUR 50 million venture debt facility to Bolt, the Estonian developer of a ride-hailing app. The borrowers were advised by Sorainen on the financing, which is supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments.

Triniti has advised ANMKinnisvara, K.E.D.S, and Faroc on the sale of Birger to Finland's Fincumet Group, which was advised by Sorainen.

Partner Aivar Pilv and Attorney Marko Pilv from the Leadell Pilv firm successfully defended businessman Alexander Kofkin in the Harju County Court.

Dentons has advised Enlight Renewable Energy on the construction and EUR 115 million financing of the 105 MW Selac wind farm in Kosovo. The EBRD provided EUR 57 million of the total amount, with Erste Group Bank and NLB Bank providing the remaining EUR 58 million, and with coverage provided by the German export credit agency Euler Hermes. The lenders were reportedly advised by White & Case.

Former Wolf Theiss Poland Co-Managing Partner Ron Given has joined Deloitte Legal as its CE Senior Legal Counsel, responsible for all of the firm’s offices in 19 Central and Eastern European countries.

Sabina Lalaj, who has led Deloitte Legal in Albania and Kosovo since 2015, has been promoted to Local Legal Partner at the firm.

“There were no major changes in the structure of the Latvian legal services market in 2019,” says Lauris Liepa, the Managing Partner of Cobalt in Latvia. “As before, three firms – Cobalt, Sorainen, and Ellex – have dominated both the transactions and the corporate advisory market. While some lawyers have changed firms, there have been no major moves regarding teams or senior lawyers. One of the reasons might be a relatively good situation in the legal services market, with growth in all practice areas.”

Andris Taurins and Valts Nerets, the Co-Heads of the Dispute Resolution and Risk Management practice at Sorainen in Latvia, have joined the firm's partnership.

Cobalt is representing UAB Niklita in a dispute related to a procurement process organized by the Prisons Administration of the Ministry of Justice of Latvia involving the supply of catering services to prisoners.

Sorainen has advised Rocket Software on opening a new development center in Vilnius.

SPC Legal has advised real estate investment company Capital City Group on the sale of a tunnel car-wash station in Lithuania that is leased by UAB Svaros Broliai to a company managed by Kenova Asset Management. Sorainen reportedly advised the buyers on the deal.

Edvard Gasperskij and Audrius Zvybas have been promoted to Associate Partner at Glimstedt in Lithuania.

Former Polenak Partner Tatjana Popovski Buloski and several colleagues have left that firm to launch Popovski and Partners in North Macedonia.

The main characteristics of the Macedonian banking market are its small size and the relatively large number of players. According to the latest reports of the National Bank of North Macedonia, out of fifteen active banks, five have significantly higher market shares than the rest. The combined market share of these five biggest banks is 74.4%, with a significant discrepancy between the bank that owns the largest amount of assets (a market share of 22.7%) and the one with the lowest (a market share of 0.5%).

Former Wolf Theiss Poland Co-Managing Partner Ron Given has joined Deloitte Legal as its CE Senior Legal Counsel, responsible for all of the firm’s offices in 19 Central and Eastern European countries.

Filip & Company, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, and Vernon David & Associates have advised Banca Transilvania on the acquisition of 100% of the share capital of Microinvest. Osborne Clarke and Turcan Cazac advised the sellers on the transaction, which remains contingent on regulatory approval.

Former Wolf Theiss Poland Co-Managing Partner Ron Given has joined Deloitte Legal as its CE Senior Legal Counsel, responsible for all of the firm’s offices in 19 Central and Eastern European countries.

Major developments in 2018 and 2019 have affected the growth of the agricultural industry and agribusiness in Moldova. Key among these developments was the March 1, 2019 adoption of the restated Moldovan Civil Code, which significantly affected the parts of the Moldovan legal framework relevant to businesses.

In Montenegro, it is not possible to open any corporate bank account for companies registered in Montenegro if the founder of such company is a legal entity / company from an offshore destination as it is for example British Virgin Islands etc.

Serbia's Doklestic, Repic & Gajin has announced a new correspondent office in Montenegro, in cooperation with the four-person Danilo Radulovic Law Firm in Podgorica.

Former Wolf Theiss Poland Co-Managing Partner Ron Given has joined Deloitte Legal as its CE Senior Legal Counsel, responsible for all of the firm’s offices in 19 Central and Eastern European countries.

SPCG has advised BNP Paribas on its investment, made with Alior Bank and PKO Bank Polski and in agreement with existing investors Innovation Nest and Black Pearls, in Autenti, a Polish Fintech platform for paperless electronic contract signing and digital document circulation. PKO was advised by Jankowski & Stroinski and Alior Bank by Kondracki Celej.

Gessel has advised Avallon on the acquisition of a majority stake in Clovin S.A.

Adam Zwierzynski has been promoted to Partner at Radzikowski Szubielska.

Former CMS Partners Simon Dayes and Simona Marin have joined Dentons in Bucharest.

Stratulat Albulescu has advised Israeli real estate developer Hagag on its acquisition of a 7013-square meter office building in Bucharest from NCH Capital.

Popovici Nitu Stoica & Asociatii has advised Swedish investment fund Oresa on the sale of its RTC Proffice Experience subsidiary, a stationery and office supplies company. D&B David si Baias reportedly advised the buyer, technology & communication producer and wholesaler Complet Electro Serv, a member of the Altex group.

Alexander Rymko, former International Senior Counsel at Harney's, has joined Alrud to head the firm's Banking and Finance practice.

2019 has been an eventful year for anti-corruption compliance in Russia with an extension of enforcement actions against companies, the strengthening of anti-corruption laws and new domestic compliance requirements. The crucial developments for companies are summarised below:

Yulia Yarnykh has been promoted to Partner at Gowling WLG as part of a promotion round involving a total of 36 promotions to the firm's partnership around the world.

The National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia adopted on 23 December 2019 the Law on amendments and supplements to the Law on games of chance (“Official Gazette of RS”, no. 91/2019) (hereinafter referred to as the “Law”).

As with each year, December was one of the busiest months and the Serbian Parliament was especially industrious. The aforementioned resulted in adoption of a very welcome set of amendments to the Serbia’s Company Act by the Serbian Parliament.

JPM Jankovic Popovic Mitic provided legal support to Gastrans d.o.o., Serbia (a 100% subsidiary of a OAO Gazprom and Srbijagas joint venture) on the construction of Gazprom's 400 km long Turkish Stream gas pipeline through Serbia, which Srbijagas Director Dusan Bajatovic has recently declared complete.

MCL has advised MiddleCap Real Estate Ltd. on its acquisition, reconstruction, and development of the Gorkeho 4 office project and subsequently on the sale of the project to Kooperativa Insurance company, a member of the Vienna Insurance Group. Kooperativa Insurance was reportedly advised by CMS.

Noerr has advised NEI, an Indian bearings manufacturer and exporter that is part of the CK Birla Group, on its acquisition of international bearings producer Kinex Bearings and bearing trading company Global Supply. The sellers were reportedly advised by Ernst & Young.

Slovak lawyer Veronika Pazmanyova has been promoted to Partner at Glatzova & Co. in Bratislava.

Selih & Partnerji has advised Supernova on its EUR 220 million acquisition of seven shopping malls and five smaller shopping centers from Centrice Real Estate GmbH, a member of America's Lone Star fund. The sellers were advised by Rojs, Peljhan, Prelesnik & Partnerji.

The wide usage of benchmark rates and their key role in the financial system requires that they be reliable and defiant to any manipulation. To ensure this, the EU undertook to reform the benchmark rate determination process and improve market confidence in them, resulting in the adoption of the EU Benchmarks Regulation (the BMR).

“Well, the legal market is pretty much stable – all firms stay firmly in their places, not a lot of tectonic shift …. all is quiet on the Western front," smiles Robert Prelesnik, Senior Partner at Rojs, Peljhan, Prelesnik & Partners in Ljubljana. “Our economy has been rather stable too, even as we approach a period of slight stagnation – we are quite far away from a recession, which is a good thing in this day and age of Europe," says Prelesnik.

Sinem Mermer has joined Turkey's Boden Law Firm as Partner and Head of the firm’s new Technology and Innovation Practice.

Necati Karabayir as has joined SOCAR Turkey as its new Group Compliance Director.

ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law, acting as outside counsel for Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (“Wikimedia”), has secured an affirmative decision from the Turkish Constitutional Court in the matter of an universal access ban on the Wikipedia website (www.wikipedia.org) in Turkey.

Artem Kuzmenko and Konstantin Derbyshev have been promoted to Partner at Eterna Law.

The International Tax practice of Ukraine's SK Group, which since 2015 also represented the Avidbiz brand in Ukraine, has left the SK Group and is now doing business solely as Avidbiz.

Markian Malskyy, who left Arzinger last summer after being appointed Head of the Lviv Regional State Administration by the President of Ukraine, has returned to the firm as Head of its Western Ukrainian office and Co-Head of its International Litigation and Arbitration Practice.