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The control of merger transactions was first introduced in Albania in 1995. This law, however, provided only rudimentary guidance, and merger control really took off only after 2003, following the approval of Law no. 9121, “On Competition Protection” (the “Competition Law”), which established an independent competition authority – the Albanian Competition Authority (the ACA) – and provided for procedures that were aligned with EU standards. The Competition Law has been amended a number of times to further approximate its provisions with the EU acquis. The ACA has also issued regulations and instructions for the implementation of the merger control regime.

On July 07, 2020, the Albanian Parliament approved Law no. 112/2020, dated 29.07.2020 “On the register of beneficial owners.”

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the Western Balkans right during a period of accelerating economic activity and a promising economic outlook for 2020. The rapid spread of the virus forced the governments of the Western Balkans countries to introduce protective measures, lockdowns, and temporary business shutdowns. These restrictions had a devastating direct economic impact on a wide range of sectors – particularly the hospitality and transport industries – and the measures had many indirect side effects that significantly decreased economic activity.

New Counsel Victoria Pernt on Schoenherr’s impressive Arbitration practice.

Schoenherr has advised Christian Bamberger, SK Capital GmbH, Foxyflo GmbH, Christian Waldheim, and Martin Mrvka on the sale of 100% of shares in Austrian communication-platform-as-a-service companies ATMS, SMS.AT, and WebSMS to Norwegian Link Mobility Holding ASA. AGP Advokater AS and EY Law advised Link Mobiliy on the transaction, which closed on November 16, 2020.

Herbst Kinsky has advised investment company Round2Capital Partners GmbH & Co KG on its EUR 6.6 million financing round.

The political situation in Belarus at the moment is “quite challenging,” says Darya Zhuk, the Managing Partner of Cobalt’s Minsk office, referring to the fallout from the August 9 presidential election. “People have been protesting in the streets since the election,” she says, and discontent about the results of that election are being felt “deep inside every sphere of society.”

Sorainen has helped the Turkey Wealth Fund obtain approval from the Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade of the Republic of Belarus for the acquisition of control over Belarusian Telecommunications Network CJSC, one of three Belarusian mobile network operators and a member of the Turkcell group.

Sorainen's Belarus office has advised Australia's Aristocrat Digital gambling machine manufacturer on an undisclosed investment in Belarusian game development studio Neskin Games.

An interview with Milan Kajtez, Head of Legal at UniCredit Bank a.d. Banja Luka about his background and best practices.

Advertising is no easy task for law firms in the former Yugoslavia, and law firm marketing and business development specialists in those legal markets face unique challenges in their attempts to promote their firms and obtain new clients.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the Western Balkans right during a period of accelerating economic activity and a promising economic outlook for 2020. The rapid spread of the virus forced the governments of the Western Balkans countries to introduce protective measures, lockdowns, and temporary business shutdowns. These restrictions had a devastating direct economic impact on a wide range of sectors – particularly the hospitality and transport industries – and the measures had many indirect side effects that significantly decreased economic activity.

The amendments to the Bulgarian Tax and Social Security Procedure Code in August 2019 relating to mandatory transfer pricing (TP) documentation came into effect on January 1, 2020. Thus 2020 is the first year for which TP documentation, including a local file and a master file, should be prepared.

Boyanov & Co has helped Ideal Standard Vidima obtain a loan of EUR 65 million, with EUR 45 million coming the DSK Bank and another EUR 20 million from the United Bulgarian Bank. 

Gugushev & Partners has helped Fr. Lurssen Werft GmbH & Co KG, part of Northern Germany's Lurssen shipyard group, win a public tender for the supply of two multipurpose modular patrol vessels to the Bulgarian Navy.

Following three rounds of changes to Croatia’s tax system in recent years to ease business and reduce the overall tax burden, the Government announced plans to further relax the tax system in 2021.

It has become evident by now that the 2020 global pandemic has reshaped many aspects of the legal industry, with one of the eminent examples being the way M&A transactions are carried out – almost everything has become less certain, more urgent, and largely virtual. As though the circumstances have not been challenging enough, recent developments in local jurisprudence concerning the form of legal documents have started to negatively impact M&A deals in Croatia.

It is now more than obvious how much the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up both global and national economies. Although various measures have already been undertaken to support businesses during this COVID-19 crisis, financial distress of many companies is inevitable, which will ultimately, for many of them, result in bankruptcy or restructuring.

The current Covid-19 situation has changed many aspects of the business environment, and the resulting economic slowdown has prompted legislators worldwide to take measures to ease the situation for local economic players. Thus far, measures proposed by the Czech Government have generally only deferred tax liabilities and tax administrative duties, rather than eliminating them altogether. Of the few permanent types of relief from public duties, a proposal to abolish the Czech real estate transfer tax (RETT) is probably the most significant.

I have always been a fan of marketing and felt that there was something special about it, even back before I had any real practical experience with it. My career started at an international law firm – Hogan Lovells – where marketing was handled both centrally and locally. I became a fan of the field and learned to consider the brand as something potentially very valuable and helpful both in attracting new clients and employees and in retaining existing ones. It also showed me that marketing activities must be conducted systematically.

BPV Braun Partners has advised Generali Investments CEE, an investment company acting on behalf of the Generali Real Estate Fund, on the acquisition of an early 20th-century building in Prague from Ferd s.r.o. Ferd was reportedly advised by AK Svec Rychterova on the transaction.

Greece's KLC Law Firm has advised National Energy Holdings in its first investment in Greece — the acquisition and construction of five solar parks to be constructed in Central Greece, with a total capacity of 24 MW, for which it secured financing of EUR 22 million from Piraeus Bank.

Zepos & Yannopoulos has advised the Generali Group on the acquisition of an office building in Athens from Panterra.

Zepos & Yannopoulos has assisted Globecast France throughout an international open tender procedure for the provision of global signal transmission by the Hellenic Broadcasting Organization

In 2012 a simplified lump sum tax, known as KATA, was introduced for small businesses. The rules of KATA allowed small businesses, including private entrepreneurs, to opt to pay a lump sum monthly tax of HUF 50,000 (EUR 145) per person employed by the business. Businesses paying the lump sum tax are relieved of any other income or payroll taxes. The regime is applicable to income of up to HUF 12 million (approximately EUR 34,000) revenue per year. Above this limit, a tax rate of 40% is applied to the excess.

On August 3, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Sorainen had advised Montonio on its generation of EUR 500,000 from both Estonian and international investors. CEEIHM spoke with Rasmus Oisma, Director at Montonio Finance, to learn more about the matter.

Former Dechert Counsel Daniel Dozsa has joined recently-established Dispute Resolution boutique Queritius in Budapest.

Sorainen has successfully represented Estonian meat producer Atria in its dispute with the Estonian Veterinary and Food Board before the Supreme Court of Estonia.

The Estonian office of Fort Legal has advised LHV Pension Funds on the acquisition of three stock office-type commercial buildings in Juri in the Rae municipality of Estonia. The transaction remains contingent on Competition Authority approval.

Pohla & Hallmagi has advised Arca Varahaldus on its EUR 6.2 million sale of property in Tallinn to EfTEN Real Estate Fund III AS subsidiary EfTEN SPV19 OU. 

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the Western Balkans right during a period of accelerating economic activity and a promising economic outlook for 2020. The rapid spread of the virus forced the governments of the Western Balkans countries to introduce protective measures, lockdowns, and temporary business shutdowns. These restrictions had a devastating direct economic impact on a wide range of sectors – particularly the hospitality and transport industries – and the measures had many indirect side effects that significantly decreased economic activity.

The SEE Legal law firm alliance has announced the formal launch of two new practice groups, one dedicated to Employment and Immigration, headed by Kolcuoglu Demirkan Kocakli Counsel Maral Minasyan, and one dedicated to Intellectual Property, headed by Selih & Partnerji Partner Natasa Pipan Nahtigal.

The energy infrastructure in Kosovo has not undergone major change over the past few decades. Due to high reserves of lignite, 97% of Kosovo’s electricity generation comes from two aging coal power plants. Unfortunately, lignite-coal of the kind found in Kosovo is among the most polluting and least efficient sources of energy. Consequently, Kosovo’s infrastructure is outdated and a major source of air pollution.

Tax Exemption for Employee Stock Options

The Latvian office of Sorainen has advised the USS Grupp on its acquisition of the Latvian branch of the Securitas security services company.

Cobalt, acting pro bono, has represented the "Association of LGBT and Their Friends Mozaika" as amicus curiae before the Constitutional Court of Latvia regarding the right of same-sex couples to parental leave.

Triniti Jurex has defended the interests of AB Lietuvos Radijo Ir Televizijos Centras against the Darnu Group in an EUR 6 million real estate sale dispute before the Supreme Court of Lithuania.

TGS Baltic has successfully represented Lithuanian Airports in a dispute with the Active Construction Management over major repairs carried out in Vilnius Airport.

Sorainen has advised the Modus Group on launching a second public bond issuance, expected to attract investment of EUR 8 million. The bonds are being distributed by Saiuliu Bankas and will be traded on First North, an alternative market administrated by Nasdaq.

If certain statutory conditions are fulfilled, companies obliged to pay the Macedonian Corporate Income Tax (CIT) should submit reports for their 2019 transactions with related parties to the Public Revenue Office before September 30, 2020. The 2019 financial year is the first for which CIT payers are obliged to file such reports, according to the CIT Law.

Advertising is no easy task for law firms in the former Yugoslavia, and law firm marketing and business development specialists in those legal markets face unique challenges in their attempts to promote their firms and obtain new clients.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the Western Balkans right during a period of accelerating economic activity and a promising economic outlook for 2020. The rapid spread of the virus forced the governments of the Western Balkans countries to introduce protective measures, lockdowns, and temporary business shutdowns. These restrictions had a devastating direct economic impact on a wide range of sectors – particularly the hospitality and transport industries – and the measures had many indirect side effects that significantly decreased economic activity.

“The most important news right now in Moldova relates to the results of the recent presidential elections,” says Cobzac & Partners Managing Partner Daniel Cobzac, from Chisinau, referring to the November 15 victory of former World Bank economist Maia Sandu over incumbent Igor Dodon, the leader of the pro-Russian “Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova,” which holds a parliamentary majority.

Turcan Cazac Managing Partner Alexander Turcan has been elected Vice President of the Chisinau Bar.

Romania's Mares & Mares law firm and Moldova's Dolea & Co have entered into a strategic alliance aimed at, according to Mares & Mares, “providing integrated legal services in Romania and the Republic of Moldova in the field of white-collar crime, investigations, international disputes, as well as commercial and investment arbitration."

According to Benjamin Franklin, the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. This fact makes Montenegro’s favorable tax regime more attractive. Living and working in this country does not mean a total holiday from taxes, but it does mean a reduced tax load compared to the rest of Europe.

The new Media Law in Montenegro which entered into force on July 6, 2020, will update the country’s legislation in the area.  By adopting certain media standards, it is intended to provide the country with the modern legal solutions already present in the countries of the EU.

Advertising is no easy task for law firms in the former Yugoslavia, and law firm marketing and business development specialists in those legal markets face unique challenges in their attempts to promote their firms and obtain new clients.

Piotr Szafarz, Partner in Dentons’ Warsaw office, has been appointed Head of CEE Real Estate at the firm, in which capacity he will be supported by newly appointed Partners Monika Sitowicz and Bartlomiej Kordeczka. 

Rymarz Zdort has advised European Logistics Investment on the acquisition of land and the construction of a high-tech warehouse complex in Radom, Poland. 

Greenberg Traurig has advised Abris CEE Mid-Market Fund III L.P., managed by Abris Capital Ltd., on the acquisition of the Scanmed S.A. healthcare provider from Life Healthcare Group Holdings Limited. DLA Piper advised Life Healthcare Group Holdings on the transaction.

Although occupational fraud, i.e. internal fraud committed by abusing the position held within a company, is a major concern for all companies, it does not seem to receive the attention it deserves.

Employers do not always consider the fiscal impact of granting various types of benefits to employees, which subsequently gives rise to disputes with the tax inspection bodies. This is due to the specific legislation in Romania regarding taxation of employee benefits in the form of benefits in kind, which leaves room for interpretation, consequently raising operational enforcement issues.

By means of recent changes to the Energy and Gas Law no. 123/2012 (the “Energy Law”), the operators holding concession over the electricity distribution grid (the “Distribution Operators”) have been compelled to take over the ownership over private electricity distribution grids and related energetic capacities (the “Energetic Capacities”) in specific cases set out thereby. In addition, the amendments to the Regulation for the connection of users to the public interest electricity grids (the ”Connection Regulation”) which will enter into force in January 1, 2021 changed the ownership regime over the Energetic Capacities built for connecting new users (such as power producers), by recognizing the ownership right of such users and their right to sell the capacities to the Distribution Operators.

As in other countries, business in Russia has been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and small and medium enterprises, which do not have enough reserves to survive in the unfavorable economic situation, have suffered the most. In order to support SMEs, the State, in addition to temporary support measures, has introduced a considerable decrease in the tax burden related to the remuneration of employees above the minimum monthly wage. Cumulative social contributions were lowered to 15% from the previous rate (which could reach 30%, with certain exceptions), and may be applied by SMEs.

Former Senior Associate Oleg Todua has been promoted to Local Partner at White & Case’s Moscow office as part of a global promotions round.

Hogan Lovells’s Moscow office has advised Digital Assets on its acquisition of Zvuk, a Russian independent music streaming service.

“This was an election year for Serbia, and as a result we had a technical government for a very long time,” says Djordje Novcic, Partner at Jankovic Popovic Mitic in Belgrade, referring to the four-month-long period of deliberation before the new government was finally formed on October 28.

Zivkovic Samardzic has been appointed the representative for Yandex LLC pursuant to the Serbian Data Protection Act, following a decision by the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection of Serbia.

Taxes are undoubtedly among the most important components of every state budget. Tax systems vary, of course, as different states have different political and commercial environments. Nowadays, the globalization of economic relations tends to bring these diverse and different systems closer together.

Although in use long before, on January 1, 2018, a new type of equity funds – “capital funds from contributions” – were expressly recognized and regulated by the Slovak Commercial Code. These funds are considered a supplement to contributions to a company’s registered capital and may be created by all capital company forms in Slovakia, including joint stock and limited liability companies.

This article is an excerpt of Producing in CEE, Dentons’ guide to tax and financial incentives for film, television and digital media production.

Havel & Partners has advised Austria's Innofreight Consulting & Logistics on the formation of a joint venture with Slovakia's Budamar Logistics. Hamala Kluch Viglasky advised Budamar Logistics on the deal.

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia has decided to repeal provisions of the third and fourth paragraph of Article 68.a the Slovenian Tax Procedure Act. These provisions implemented taxation of undeclared income at 70% tax rate, which exceeds regular maximum 50% personal income tax rate and enables the taxation of undeclared income originating from the periods before January 1, 2009.

Advertising is no easy task for law firms in the former Yugoslavia, and law firm marketing and business development specialists in those legal markets face unique challenges in their attempts to promote their firms and obtain new clients.

The adoption of Directive 2014/104/EU ("Damages Directive"), which introduced a level playing field for the private competition law enforcement regime among EU Member States, has paved the way for private enforcement to gain more traction in the EU.

In 2015 the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development created 15 base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) action plans to equip governments to address tax avoidance by means of domestic and international rules and instruments. The purpose of the action plans is to ensure that profits are taxed where economic activities generating the profits are performed and where value is created.

Yigit Issever has joined Bayer as Legal Counsel and Pharmaceuticals and Radiology Business Partner in Istanbul.

Istanbul's Durukan+Partners and Skadden Arps have advised LetterOne on the recent restructuring of Turkcell’s shareholding structure. Milbank and Turkey's Aksu Caliskan Beygo Attorney Partnership advised the Turkey Wealth Fund and Ziraat Bank, Sullivan & Cromwell and Herguner Bilgen Ozeke advised Telia Finland, and White & Case and the Kabine Law Firm advised Cukurova on the deal.

DLA Piper Legal Director Natalia Kirichenko has made named Head of Intellectual Property and Technology in the firm's Kyiv office.

Esquires has successfully reversed the seizure of immovable property on behalf of Entertainment Center of Sport, a hotel and entertainment complex with a total area of more than 3.500 square meters located in the suburbs of Kyiv.

Ilyashev & Partners, representing the interests of OBIO LLC, has persuaded Ukraine's Interdepartmental Commission on International Trade to initiate an anti-dumping investigation on the import of heat-insulating materials to Ukraine from the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation.