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Who Represents Who

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Full-service firm Brigard & Urrutia provides a comprehensive service and the tax department is often involved in ground-breaking transactions with a cross-border component. Practice head José Andrés Romero is advising Producciones RTI-Telemundo in a dispute regarding the tax aspects of the export of services in the movie industry, where products are traded abroad and subsequently broadcast or transmitted in Colombia. The team is also advising the client in relation to the structuring of different alternatives for the shareholders regarding the development of new productions taking into account tax implications. Lucas Moreno and head of international trade José Francisco Mafla are also key members of the practice, which counts Dolphin Drilling Group, Bancolombia, High Power Exploration and Icetex among its clients.

Gómez-Pinzón Abogados (GPA) offers a ‘high added value’ service due to ‘the solidity and professionalism evident in each one of their answers’. Mauricio Piñeros heads the 10 strong practice, with strong support from Ignacio Vélez, who made partner in early 2017, and Álvaro Andrés Díaz who focuses on litigation and transfer pricing. The team is giving tax counsel to Avianca regarding several proceedings related to equity tax and legal stability contracts. Other highlights included representing Emgesa in administrative appeal proceeding before Colombia’s Tax Office (DIAN), which is challenging a deduction for investments in the construction of a power generation plant and rejected the application of a tax stability contract entered into with Colombian Ministry of Mines and Energy. Senior associate Carolina Bobellier is also noted. The practice group’s client roster also includes Colombia Móvil, Bavaria, Almacenes Éxito, Mercantil Colpatria and CEMEX.

Specialist boutique Lewin & Wills, Abogados dedicates itself exclusively to taxation, estate planning, foreign exchange and investment, international trade and investment protection, corporate law and M&A. The firm is also recognised for undertaking litigations and arbitrations at both national and international levels, regarding tax, foreign exchange and international trade issues only. Alfredo Lewin and Adrián Rodríguez are the key names for all tax matters bar estate-and-tax planning for individuals and family owned businesses, which are handled by Emilio Wills and Laureano Gómez. The team also includes public accountants. Past clients include ExxonMobil, Carbones del Cerrejón and Pacific Exploration and Production (formerly Pacific Rubiales).

Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría’s service is ‘excellent’ as the 15 lawyers who compose the team ‘have the ability to explain complex matters to clients using simple language’. Practice heads Martín Acero and Carolina Rozo are ‘well-known tax advisors’ with ‘a solid knowledge of the Colombian tax system’. Recent mandates include advising Fiduciaria de Occidente on the complex structuring of a private equity fund with investments in several Latin American countries. The practice also provided tax advice to WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff regarding the corporate structure required for the construction of the world’s largest telescope (in the Chilean Andes) and which involved association with an American entity. Senior associate Diego Velandia is also noted – a ‘problem solver’, he has experience across tax planning, consultancy and litigation. Other clients include Cartones América, Schrader Camargo and Goldman Sachs.

Posse Herrera Ruizdelivers top-of-the industry services in tax matters with a group of practitioners highly recognized both locally and internationally as a reliable professional and academic source’. Led by Juan Guillermo Ruiz a ‘world-class expert, focused on service and client delivery’, the 26-lawyer strong practice – which includes four partners – is one of the largest in the country. Recent mandates include advising Organización Terpel on tax planning for the acquisition of Exxon in Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador. Copec was required to obtain pre-closing antitrust approvals in those countries, requiring some contractual and corporate reorganization prior to closing – the firm also handled these issues. Recently-named partners Juan Camilo de Bedout and Juan David Velasco handle tax litigation and transfer pricing, and transactional tax and international taxation, respectively. Also noted is senior associate Jaime Gómez, who leads on private wealth matters. Clients includes Adidas, Cencosud, Gas Natural, Shell and Anadarko.

Baker McKenzie S.A.S.’s service attracts praise as offering ‘excellent response times, and standardized and structured formal opinions’. The team’s experience and knowledge in the oil and gas sector is also noted. A ‘recommended figure’ Ciro Meza heads the practice, which recently advised Exxon Mobil on the tax implications of the sale of certain South America downstream affiliates to Copec. Rodrigo Castillo, who recently made partner, and senior associates Amanda Torres and Carlos Gómez are also noted. Clients include Andarko Petroleum Corporation, Brookfield Asset Management, Amazon and ESPN.

Well-reputed litigator Paul Cahn-Speyer leads tax boutique Cahn-Speyer, Paredes & Asociados, which advises on transfer pricing matters, restructuring and investment, as well as on litigation. The practice is also experienced in international taxation, trade and commerce, and sanctions imposed for non-compliance.

Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas is ‘excellent’ and provides ‘timely, accurate and effective advice’. The ‘outstandingCamilo Cortés heads the practice with Eduardo Cárdenas and Bernardo Cárdenas both recommended and active participants in tax matters. The team advised Sociedad Internacional de Transporte Masivo on the restructuring of the company’s equity and tax planning regarding depreciation due to the deduction of vehicles. Other clients include Grupo Monterrey, Inversiones Actual, TV Azteca, Inversiones William Zuca and Spring Mobile are also clients. ‘Full-spectrum tax advisorCarmen Sanabria is also noted.

Boutique firm Quiñones Cruz is ‘one of the most important in national and international tax issues’ and the lawyers ‘always give a continuous added value, their response times are adequate and at important moments we always have the right support’. The firm also acts handles tax litigation and administrative proceedings. Lucy Cruz, who has ‘great recognition in the financial industry and before the tax authorities’, and Natalia Quiñones, who ‘manages the international and comparative environment very well’, lead the practice, along with Antonio Quiñones and Diego Quiñones. Headline mandates during 2017 included representing an international mining company before tax authority, DIAN.

Clients value the international aspect of Garrigues’ operation, noting that the firm offers a ‘full package’ that ‘makes easier all the process of designing and defining tax strategies for different jurisdictions’. Fernando Zarama co-leads the practice with Camilo Zarama, who has ‘a great experience in transnational tax matters’ and is ‘very accurate, patient’ and ‘a very good strategist’ who is ‘always available’. The team is representing state entity Fondo Financiero de Proyectos de Desarrollo (FONADE), in a $36m lawsuit against the Colombian Tax Administration (DIAN) regarding a dispute over the Fund’s income tax return. Handling both advisory and litigious matters, counsel César Cermeño is also noted. Clients includes AXA Seguros, Prosegur, Avianca and British American Tobacco.

Godoy & Hoyos Abogados SAS’s 11-strong team is led by Catalina Hoyos and is currently advising Concesionaria Vial Montes de Maria (owned by Sacyr Concesiones Colombia), on all tax matters related to the Public–Private Association (PPA) concession agreement Puerta de Hierro-Cruz del Viso, including the tax planning throughout the project. The firm also advised Empresas Públicas de Medellín on its appeal procedure before the tax authority to obtain a tax reimbursement, ultimately successfully obtaining the reimbursement of 40% of the amount requested.

Leading lawyer Mauricio Plazas heads Mauricio A. Plazas Vega Abogados & Asociados, a tax boutique specialised in general tax, planning assistance and litigation. Past clients include Grasco, Cemex Colombia, Yambol de Colombia and ExxonMobil.

Pinilla González & Prieto Abogados provides ‘an impeccable quality service for a very reasonable price’. Camilo Caycedo, who is recommended for his accuracy and his ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking, heads the practice. Recent matters include representing Nucleo Constructora in a dispute related to an income tax return before the tax authority (DIAN), successfully obtaining the closure of the inspection. Other 2017 mandates included advising Globenet Cabos Submarinos America on a strategy for the sale of movable and real estate property. Associate Maria Fernanda Cuestas is also noted.

Led by Felipe Ospina, DLA Piper Martinez Beltrán’s tax department works closely with the firm's other practice areas, in particular with regard to M&A transactions. On the transactional front, the team continues to advise on the tax aspects of the purchase of the La República newspaper; it is also representing Proyectos de Infraestructura in an administrative claim against the tax authority, DIAN.

Holland & Knight’s department provides advice on a wide range of transactional tax matters, as well as remedial advice in litigation proceedings. The team assisted Ventura Capital with its corporate reorganization and provides permanent corporate and tax advice for all entities in which the company holds equity. The team, led by Juan Carlos Valencia, also advised and structured the merger of Inmaculada Guadalupe y Amigos en CIA with Grupo Conboca.

Specialised in tax and international trade and customs, boutique firm Osman & Rodriguez Abogados acts for national and international companies, as well as for individuals, in tax consultancy regarding national and subnational taxes, tax planning, cross-border transactions, estate planning, tax treaty network matters, due diligence, litigation and refunds. The firm is currently providing tax and legal advice to the shareholders of Importaciones Dental Universitario regarding the sale of shares to a foreign company. The team also advised on the preparation of certain documents related to the IPO performed by Grupo Biotoscana. A ‘recommended’ practitioner Pedro Pablo Osman has a ‘growing profile’ and is the name to note.

Parra Rodríguez Abogados’ practice ‘responds quickly to all needs in a very knowledgeable and professional manner’. The team, led by ‘deeply knowledgeable’ Álvaro Parra, advises national and international corporations and high-net-worth individuals in connection with tax compliance and tax planning, as well as representation before authorities and in litigious disputes. Highlights for 2017 included tax consulting for an international motor manufacturer regarding their Colombian operations and the impact of the free trade zone regime.

CMS Rodríguez-Azuero’s four-strong tax department is led by Juan Camilo Rodríguez. The team advised the shareholders of Axcellnet on the sale of 100% of the equity to an international player in the same sector, Andean Tower Partners, including the structuring of the sale from a tax perspective and the completion of certain conditions present to closing related to tax and foreign exchange matters. Other clients include Círculo de Viajes Universal, Ciudad Lagos de Torca Landowners, Savills and Promotora ACR.

Contexto Legal Abogados offers consulting services regarding the day-to-day execution of businesses and financial transactions in both the national and international sphere and tax planning, as well as acting in administrative and litigation disputes. After its split from CMS Rodríguez-Azuero, the Medellín-based firm retains Federico Escobar as practice head. His 2017 highlights included advising Metro de Medellín on the tax treatment of the prepaid card system the company has implemented for the payment of transportation fees on Medellín’s mass-passenger transport system, and its extension to other services.

Lloreda Camacho & Co. advises on clients’ financial processes and operations, including treasury, corporate finance, M&A, cross-border transactions, and project development. The team evaluated the best and optimal mechanism for Roche’s Colombian affiliate to develop a new line of pharmaceutical services (genomic profiling). David García is the key name.

Founded in 2016, boutique Rodríguez Bravo Abogados S.A.S.’s service attracts praise for being ‘accurate’ and ‘of great value’; moreover, the lawyers ‘respond very quickly’. The recommended Sebastián Rodriguez, former head of Norton Rose Fulbright’s tax department, leads the five-lawyer practice; its recent mandates include advising Mexican insurer Proagro on tax planning matters for its entry into the Colombian market.

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