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Wolf Theiss and Yavuz & Uyanik & Akalin have advised 4iG Nyrt on the acquisition of an 80.27% stake in AlbTelecom from a subsidiary of Turkey's Calik Holding. Tashko Pustina reportedly advised the sellers. The deal was cleared by the Albanian Competition Authority on March 4, 2022.

CEE Legal Matters readers will likely be familiar with Patricia Gannon as one of the founders of Karanovic & Partners. Since her withdrawal from the firm (reported by CEE Legal Matters on September 21, 2020), Gannon ran her own "holistic strategic advisory business" (as reported on October 12, 2020) and, recently, she announced she is working on a new social media app for lawyers – Platforum 9. We caught up with her to learn more about her new project.

Political uncertainties, surging inflation and energy prices, and, despite it all, a vibrant and diversified economy are the key points of current events in Albania, according to Frost & Fire Consulting Partner Reshard Kellici.

BPV Huegel and Vienna-based PwC affiliate Oehner & Partner have advised Voyageurs du Monde on the acquisition of a majority stake in the Eurofun Group. Reportedly, Paris-based Chammas & Marcheteau advised the buyer as well, with Haslinger Nagele and Rabel & Partner reportedly advising the sellers.

BPV Huegel has opened a new office in Salzburg. It will be managed by Partner Sonja Durager, Head of the firm's IP/IT/Data Protection practice group.

Schoenherr has advised Austrian cancer treatment and research center MedAustron on the environmental impact assessment for the commissioning of a fourth treatment room.

Belarus's Revera law firm has teamed up with Adamante Management to open the firm's Cyprus office.

On July 9, 2021, substantial amendments to Belarusian currency legislation entered into force. We will briefly review the key amendments.

Economic optimism in the face of adversity, the introduction of English law instruments, and some new potential for growth are the highlights in Belarus, according to Aleinikov & Partners Senior Partner Denis Aleinikov.

Zlatan Balta has joined Legal Partners, in cooperation with Deloitte Legal, as the leader of its legal practice in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Doklestic Repic & Gajin has advised Beijing New Building Materials Plc on the transaction with the Coal Mine and Thermal Power Plant Ugljevik for the creation of a EUR 50 million gypsum board joint venture. China's Shihui Partners reportedly advised BNBM on the deal as well.

With 2022 being an election year for Bosnia, there is not a lot of market activity, according to BB Legal Partner Nenad Baros. There are crypto-related legislation updates on the horizon, however, and the market has settled down following the sale of Sberbank assets in the country to local banks.

In January 2022, the new Regulation (EU) 2021/2282 of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union of 15 December 2021 on health technology assessment (the "HTA Regulation") entered into force on the territory of the European Union. The HTA Regulation aims to harmonize (but not to fully centralize) the currently fragmented procedure for assessing the health technologies of innovative medical therapies entering the European Union market in different European countries. The HTA Regulation shall begin to apply in stages from 12 January 2025 and the European Commission has already approved an implementation plan until that date, which includes mainly the establishment of the information resources needed for its operation, the creation of new supranational bodies to participate in the application of the Regulation and training of the competent national authorities.

Djingov Gouginski Kyutchukov & Velichkov has advised Ukrainian professional tennis player Elina Svitolina on the incorporation and establishment of the Elina Svitolina Foundation in Bulgaria.

CMS has advised Portugal's MGI Capital on the sale of Bezmer Energy to Philicon-97.

Deloitte Legal’s Krehic & Partners has advised sellers Tomislav Plesa and Domagoj Makar on the sale of their shares in Heloo to TaskUs. Wolf Theiss, working with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, advised the buyer.

Deloitte Legal’s Krehic & Partners has advised the Kovacic family on their sale of Aquapark Istralandia to the Looping Group. Divjak Topic Bahtijarevic & Krka reportedly advised the buyer.

Viruses affecting human body have been the hot topic of most conversations for over two years. However, the digital world is not spared from “viruses” which affect other aspects of human lives. Multiple malwares used for cyber-attacks are created to damage, disrupt, hack, or block a device and encrypt or lock data and can cause enormous damage both in the private and public sector.

Former Wilsons Attorney-at-Law Monika Kajankova has joined Dentons' Prague office as a Partner on May 15, 2022.

Glatzova & Co has advised Germany's Handolfo Invest on its acquisition of Czech food supplements manufacturer Algamo. BNT Attorneys in CEE reportedly advised the seller. 

Clifford Chance has advised a club of lenders including Komercni Banka, Ceska Sporitelna, and Raiffeisenbank on a EUR 137.5 million loan to the Accolade group for the construction of an Amazon automated distribution center. Allen & Overy advised Accolade.

Despite current geopolitical challenges and the related inflation and price hikes, the current situation in Greece is much better compared to the COVID-19 crisis, with increasing interest in the country's hospitality sector, according to Drakopoulos Partner Michalis Kosmopoulos.

Bernitsas Law, working with Baker McKenzie, has advised Gastrade on the EUR 280 million financing and development of the Alexandroupolis independent natural gas system project.

Souriadakis Tsibris has advised Goldman Sachs on establishing a branch in Athens.

In 2021, the green financial markets substantially increased according to the Green Finance Report of the Central Bank of Hungary (MNB). Credit institutions launched green lending, and four banks are taking advantage of the MNB's green capital requirement discount for housing. Among green financing products, the green bonds are very popular both at public and corporate level, and green lending has also been launched on the corporate side. In the investment segment, ESG products are already available, but only to a limited extent.

At the initiative of the Ministry of Justice, the Hungarian National Bank and the Hungarian Bar Association, the Government adopted a Government Decree in April 2022 regulating in detail the payment of lawyers' deposits at financial institutions in the event of liquidation and winding-up proceedings. The Government Decree provides that in the event of the winding-up and liquidation of a financial institution, the provisions of the Bankruptcy Act, the Company Registration Act, the Act on Credit Institutions and Financial Undertakings and the Investment Firm Act shall apply with the additions and derogations included in the Government Decree.

The Orban & Perlaki law firm has announced it partnered with UK-headquartered Gunnercooke, with the Budapest-based firm rebranding to OPL Gunnercooke.

TGS Baltic has advised the Truffle Capital SAS fund on leading a EUR 5.5 million investment round into Cachet. Triniti and, reportedly, Ireland-based Mason Hayes & Curran advised Cachet on the round.

Pohla & Hallmagi has advised Restate on the sale of a loft-office commercial property in Tallinn to Infortar. The Luminor Bank provided transaction financing.

Pohla & Hallmagi has successfully represented UK company Steamship Mutual Underwriting Association in Marshall Island-registered oil tanker Advantage Pride arrest proceedings.

CEE Legal Matters readers will likely be familiar with Patricia Gannon as one of the founders of Karanovic & Partners. Since her withdrawal from the firm (reported by CEE Legal Matters on September 21, 2020), Gannon ran her own "holistic strategic advisory business" (as reported on October 12, 2020) and, recently, she announced she is working on a new social media app for lawyers – Platforum 9. We caught up with her to learn more about her new project.

The recent legislative amendments regulating commercial courts, e-signatures, intellectual property, and oil products trading are the major updates in Kosovo, according to RPHS Law Managing Partner Kushtrim Palushi.

On April 5, 2022, leading lawyers from across all of CEE will be coming together for the Dealer's Choice Conference and Deals of the Years Awards Banquet. Leading up to the event, we spoke with Vladimir Rangeloff of Kambourov & Partners to learn what they are looking forward to the most.

Cobalt has advised Latvenergo AS on its issuance of EUR 100 million five-year green bonds with a fixed annual interest rate and a yield to maturity of 2.42%.

Triniti has advised Enersense on the exercise of its call option to increase its shareholding in the local Latvian affiliate Empower.

The word of the day in Latvia is resilience – that of the M&A market, capital markets, and overall business sectors, according to Eversheds Sutherland Partner Maris Vainovskis.

Cobalt has advised Lithuanian financial technology start-up Kevin on raising USD 65 million in a Series A funding round. Sorainen advised investor Global PayTech Ventures.

Sorainen has advised Raydiant on establishing a new office in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Motieka & Audzevicius has successfully represented Natura Furniture in a dispute against GE Power in ICC construction arbitration and Swedish arbitral award annulment proceedings.

Former SkopSter Senior Legal Counsel Iva Djugumanova has joined ODI Law’s Skopje office as Senior Associate and Head of the Corporate practice.

ODI Law has successfully represented LSG Building Solutions d.o.o. construction company in a EUR 215,000 claim against the City of Skopje arising out of a public procurement contract for performing construction works for the reconstruction of the Pelagonija building on the Skopje central square. 

ODI Law has successfully represented Tirana-based A&A Group in a EUR 1 million claim based on unpaid loans against marijuana producer F&M 2017 d.o.o. 

Current geopolitical events might revolutionize Moldova’s energy industry, with progress being made on both legal and technical mechanisms, according to Dolea & Co Managing Attorney Sorin Dolea.

In the past twelve months, energy prices seem to have taken a life of their own. Their continued and, at times, shocking growth has raised concerns across the region and prompted differing responses and policy changes in each country. To get a more accurate picture of recent developments, we reached out to experts in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, and Turkey and asked them about the current energy prices, their impact on local economies, the drivers behind their growth, and whether any plans were in place to address the issue.

CEE Legal Matters readers will likely be familiar with Patricia Gannon as one of the founders of Karanovic & Partners. Since her withdrawal from the firm (reported by CEE Legal Matters on September 21, 2020), Gannon ran her own "holistic strategic advisory business" (as reported on October 12, 2020) and, recently, she announced she is working on a new social media app for lawyers – Platforum 9. We caught up with her to learn more about her new project.

All the countries around the world regardless of whether they are big or small, wealthy or poor, developed or developing, are facing the consequences of the coronavirus crisis. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the fragility of healthcare systems, the instability of economic structures, and the vulnerability of society.

In the past twelve months, energy prices seem to have taken a life of their own. Their continued and, at times, shocking growth has raised concerns across the region and prompted differing responses and policy changes in each country. To get a more accurate picture of recent developments, we reached out to experts in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, and Turkey and asked them about the current energy prices, their impact on local economies, the drivers behind their growth, and whether any plans were in place to address the issue.

CEE Legal Matters readers will likely be familiar with Patricia Gannon as one of the founders of Karanovic & Partners. Since her withdrawal from the firm (reported by CEE Legal Matters on September 21, 2020), Gannon ran her own "holistic strategic advisory business" (as reported on October 12, 2020) and, recently, she announced she is working on a new social media app for lawyers – Platforum 9. We caught up with her to learn more about her new project.

Dentons has advised the EBRD, PKO Bank Polski, and Bank Pekao on their PLN 763 million financing to Goldbeck Solar and Respect Energy for the construction of a 286-megawatt photovoltaic farm in Poland. Norton Rose Fulbright advised developer Goldbeck Solar.

Clifford Chance has advised Highlander Partners on the PLN 65 million sale of its portfolio company Rotometal to its current CEO Grzegorz Dolbniak. Sobczynscy i Partnerzy advised Rotometal minority shareholders Joachim Setnik and Barbara Setnik. SMM Legal advised Dolbniak on the management buyout.

SSW Pragmatic Solutions has advised Chinese conglomerate Meide Group on its acquisition of Poland's Odlewnia Zawiercie.

PwC's Romanian affiliate D&B David and Baias has advised the shareholders of Thagora Technology on the sale of their company to the Lear Corporation. Mitel & Partners advised Lear.

Dana Toma has joined Wolf Theiss’ Bucharest office as a Counsel and Coordinator of the Real Estate practice.

Stratulat Albulescu has advised both software developer Cyscale and VC fund GapMinder in a EUR 3 million seed funding round for Cyscale.

The truth is rarely pure and never simple. But in the case of Russia's military operation in Ukraine, it just might be. Russia breached Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, which prohibits the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. Russia's acts have prompted the EU, the UK and the US to impose economic sanctions, such as freezing assets and disconnecting Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments network. Whilst the number of private businesses that are halting their activities in Russia is steadily growing, Russia has adopted a law paving the way for expropriations of assets of foreign firms that leave the country following economic sanctions. But what can foreign companies do if Russia proceeds to take their assets, if they are unable to freely transfer returns from investments out of Russia or if their profits collapse?

Baker McKenzie and DLA Piper have joined the plethora of firms announcing their exit from the Russian market.

Debevoise & Plimpton, Dentons, Dechert, and CMS have announced they are closing their Russian offices and exiting the market.

Cvjeticanin & Partners has advised the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency on its implementation of Serbian labor law regarding collective and individual legal acts.

Deloitte Legal’s Krehic & Partners has advised sellers Tomislav Plesa and Domagoj Makar on the sale of their shares in Heloo to TaskUs. Wolf Theiss, working with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, advised the buyer.

The global events and current energy crisis have demonstrated once again the imperative of continuous development of the energy sector and its modernization, which is both time-consuming and financially burdensome, but inevitable for the sustainability of the economy and overall society. It has additionally pointed out the real need for the equal or quasi-equal level of development of the electricity, gas and oil sector and increased dynamic development of the renewables energy market and, the imperative of having a firm orientation to diversification and establishment of different routes and different sources of supply. There is  a necessity of having a long-term strategic determination to stability and security of supply and national strategic plan to achieve it.

Taylor Wessing has represented Slovakia's President Zuzana Caputova in a libel dispute with Member of Parliament Lubos Blaha.

The potential EU ban on Russian oil and gas, the Penta Investments split, and the new construction law in Slovakia are currently the major debate, the biggest transaction, and the greatest legal update, respectively, according to Taylor Wessing Partner Jan Lazur.

Clifford Chance has advised the Green Group on a EUR 127 million financing from a syndicate of banks. Filip & Company advised the lenders. Linklaters reportedly advised the lenders.

All is quiet on the western front for Slovenia – apart from the outcome of the April 2022 parliamentary elections – but concerns over energy, exports, and the potential EU embargo against Russian oil and gas are mounting, according to Karmen Rebesco Law Firm Partner Karmen Rebesco.

BDK Advokati has advised the sellers on the sale of Termoplast Grupa to Greiner Packaging. Divjak Topic Bahtijarevic & Krka and Selih & Partnerji reportedly advised the sellers as well.

The Financial Administration of the Republic of Slovenia (Tax Authority) had already issued its first extensive guidelines regarding cryptocurrency taxation in 2017. According to the guidelines, capital gains generated from trading in virtual currencies by a natural person outside the scope of performing a business activity are not subject to personal income tax (PIT). Nevertheless, any income generated by a natural person as part of a business or entrepreneurial activity associated with cryptocurrencies is taxable.

Aydemir Consultancy Legal has advised Fillo Lojistik on its collective labor agreement negotiations with Turkey's Nakliyat-Is trade union and their subsequent agreement.

On March 14, 2022, the Turkish Competition Authority (“Authority”) published its much anticipated E-Commerce Platforms Sector Inquiry Final Report (“Report”). The Report is extensive in scope and it aims to present a snapshot of the market and provide policy recommendations to address the market failures detected by the Authority. In this article, however, the section on the most favored nation (“MFN”) clauses will be focused on and more particularly it will be discussed whether MFN clauses can be employed by digital platforms in the light of findings of the Report. Decisional practice of the Turkish Competition Board (“Board”) will also be under the spotlight to provide further colour.

Inflation, currency depreciation, and low foreign currency reserves might lead to early elections in Turkey, but Turunc Partner Kerem Turunc chooses to focus on the positives: the buzz around the startup scene in the country. 

As reported by CEE Legal Matters on May 24, 2022, CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang announced that the firm has appointed Vitaliy Radchenko as a new Managing Partner in Kyiv, replacing Graham Conlon who held the role for five years. CEELM sat down with Radchenko and CMS CMNO CEE Managing Director Dora Petranyi to discuss the appointment and the firm's outlook for the future of the Kyiv office.

Baker McKenzie and Integrites have contributed to the completion of the European Commission questionnaire regarding Ukraine's application for European Union membership. Baker McKenzie contributed to the completion of Parts I and II of the questionnaire. ​​Integrites worked pro bono to contribute to the submission of the Ukrainian Government’s response. 

Queritius has opened for business in Kyiv, with the hire of Sergiy Gryshko as Partner.