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On April 28, 2020, Ukraine’s “On Prevention and Counteraction the Legalization (Laundering) of Proceeds from Crime, Financing Terrorism and Financing the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction” Law (the “AML Law”), which replicates the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force and implements provisions of 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive ((EU) 2015/849), came into force.

Looking at the volume of non-performing loans in the balance sheets of the Hungarian banks, it is possible to believe that the situation has never been better. In fact, however, this is primarily due to the general moratorium introduced by the Hungarian government in March 2020, which protected both companies and consumers against insolvency and non-payment. Now, eight months later, financial institutions are preparing for a potentially massive wave of bankruptcies, as they already reserved HUF 250 billion in the first half of this year.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought significant uncertainty to the market. In the wake of this highly contagious virus, authorities have issued unprecedented regulations and restrictions to prevent the spread of the disease, accompanied by measures providing help to businesses seeing their economic activities curtailed or suspended. These measures were primarily focused on providing liquidity to the market, but some introduced interesting changes to Polish restructuring law.

One of the most important issues facing businesses in CEE is the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on litigation and arbitration. In-person court and arbitration hearings have become problematic, if not impossible, and the importance of certain boilerplate contract clauses has skyrocketed. Zsolt Okanyi, Global Head of Dispute Resolution at CMS, Malgorzata Surdek, Head of Dispute Resolution at CMS Poland, and Daniela Karollus Bruner, Head of Dispute Resolution at CMS Austria, evaluate the current situation.

The legal markets of Central and Eastern Europe are served by a growing cadre of strong domestic firms, an established collective of widely-recognized and genuinely impressive regional firms … and, of course, many of the largest and best international firms in the world.

Over the course of our seven years, CEE Legal Matters has interviewed most of the British lawyers working on the ground in Central and Eastern Europe as part of our recurring “Expat on the Market” feature. We reached out to them recently and asked them to bring us up to speed on what they’re doing and/or share their thoughts on the ramifications of Brexit or the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

CMS and Arsov Natchev Ganeva have advised contractor Arkad on the completion of the Balkan Stream Gas Pipeline project, which was completed at the end of December, 2020. Dentons’s Dubai office, KPMG Legal and Tsvetkova Bebov Komarevski in Bulgaria, and Latham & Watkins in Russia reportedly also advised the contractor on the deal. Linklaters’s London office, reportedly assisted by DGKV in Bulgaria, advised unspecified lenders on financing for the project. 

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