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Legal market overview
The British Virgin Islands (BVI) recently experienced strong activity levels from well-established investment fund managers and the jurisdiction also saw a growing provision of financing to private equity funds, which resulted in a larger number of private equity fund launches. Meanwhile, in M&A, there was increased use in the BVI of court-approved schemes of arrangement, frequently for tax or regulatory reasons.
Significant legal market developments included Ogier's management buy-out of Ogier Fiduciary Services, further to which former dispute resolution head Michael Fay QC left to establish his own firm. Meanwhile, Ogier expanded its contentious practice in Asia, relocating BVI and Asia litigation head Ray Ng to Hong Kong from the BVI in July 2014.
In April 2014, Harney Westwood & Riegels expanded its global footprint with the opening of its seventh office, in Singapore, relocating banking and finance practice group head Colin Riegels from Hong Kong as the managing partner of the new office. Also of note, Cayman Islands-based law firm Campbells established an independent office in June 2013 in the BVI.
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By Kerry Anderson
Click here -> onealwebster.asianinvestor.dec12 to read Kerry Anderson's co-published chapter featured in Asian Investor (December 2012) entitled 'Fast and Simple in the BVI - The British Virgin Islands have responded to regulatory changes by making fund and manager domiciling painless and efficient.
Fund investors and the fund industry globally should take note of the recent decision of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Appellate Division’s (the “Court of Appeal”) in Madoff related litigation. Essentially, the Court of Appeal found that monies could not be recovered from former investors by the liquidators of Fairfield Sentry Limited (“Fairfield”) a BVI investment fund and investor in Bernard L Madoff Investments Securities limited (“BLMIS”), where those investors had redeemed their shares for significant value before BLMIS collapsed.
The British Virgin Islands ("BVI") is the world's leading offshore corporate domicile and is known for continuously refining its laws to accord with, and improve upon international standards whilst promoting a business oriented framework.
WHERE IS THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS The British Virgin Islands (“BVI”) is a British overseas territory situated to the east of Puerto Rico between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. The country consists of the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke and over fifty other smaller islands and cays clustered around the aquamarine waters of the Sir Francis Drake Channel.
The much anticipated Trade Marks Bill (“the Bill”) was recently circulated to the industry for comments. The Bill, which when enacted will be known as the Trade Marks Act, 2012, promises to introduce much needed change to the trademark industry in the British Virgin Islands and place the jurisdiction in line with other modern jurisdictions.
Those who do business in the PRC have long recognised the benefits of doing so through a corporate structure which enables onshore operations but offshore ownership.- Ogier
In today’s financial environment, investor capital for a start-up fund can be hard to come by. Kerry Anderson, Partner of a leading offshore law firm in the British Virgin Islands explains both the initial and long term benefits to setting up your fund in the BVI
The current economic climate has forced many companies to consider their future and, for those able to survive, there has been significant impetus in cost saving and rationalising structures where possible. However, it is not only in the downturn that companies look to restructure. This process can also have a positive spin, especially where a company is seeking to structure acquisitions or expand into new areas of operation.- Ogier
Offshore companies have long been a popular option for businesses. However, the recent global financial crisis has led to several legislative attempts recently by governments globally, aiming to limit the benefits that are available to companies looking to take advantage of attractive features, such as favourable tax conditions, that such companies offer.
VEGAS LEX is expanding cooperation with Russian book-publishing businesses. Its new client is a major and greatly respected publisher of educational material, Prosveshcheniye.
On April 27, 2015, VEGAS LEX was recognized in two new categories of Chambers Europe 2015, and a number of VL professionals were recognized on the world level.
On May 12-15, 2015, the Public-Private Partnership Development Institute organized a professional development program for Rostelecom staff on PPP projects. VEGAS LEX experts were invited to speak at training sessions.
Andreas Neocleous & Co LLC advised and assisted KKCG Group with its recent acquisition of an additioAndreas Neocleous & Co LLC advised and assisted KKCG Group with its recent acquisition of an additional 22.35% stake in the investment fund Emma Delta, which owns a 33% interest in the Greek lottery group OPAP. Following the completion of this transaction, KKCG will be the largest investor in Emma Delta, and will hold an effective stake of almost 14.8% in OPAP.
On Thursday, 26 March 2015, the French Competition Authority made a ruling (15-D-04) in a case involving an agreement between millers on a double concerted increase in the price of flour sold in bakeries in 2007. Of the twenty companies implicated at the end of the investigation, only three were ultimately penalised. CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre represented the interests of Moulin de Sauret.- CMS
Igor Chumachenko,VEGAS LEX Partner and Head of the Real Estate, Land & Construction Practice, has spoken at a conference during the REX forum that focused on the legal and economic risks for developers.
Zavadetskyi Advocates represented the Ukrainian subsidiary of AXA Insurance in criminal investigations of USD 9 million and USD 1.2 million damage events with the insured assets in the war zone in Eastern Ukraine. Within the investigation procedures advocates of the bureau proved that the events are to be qualified as excluded from the insurance coverage. Following the investigations Zavadetskyi Advocates proceeded with representing the client in the ensuing commercial litigation.
The participants of the Korporativny Yurist magazine’s webinar discussed the structure of contractual relationships and dispute resolution practices in construction with VEGAS LEX expert Nikolay Andrianov.
SK Capital Partners, a US-based private investment firm with focus on the specialty materials, chemicals and healthcare sectors, has acquired a controlling interest in AEB Group, a global leader in wine ingredients with growing positions in beer ingredients and food detergents. Headquartered in Brescia, Italy, AEB Group operates a network of production facilities and laboratories throughout Europe and the Americas.
Valora has signed an agreement to sell Valora Warenlogistik AG to 7Days Media Services GmbH. Valora Warenlogistik includes Valora's activities in the warehouse and transport logistics sector in the German and Italian speaking part of Switzerland. The transaction is subject to approval by the competent merger control authorities.