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Doing business in Ukraine
Contributed by AstapovLawyers
Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe and its position is of strategic importance for the entire continent. Bordered by Belarus, Russia, Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland, Ukraine has access to the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. In addition to having sufficient human, technical and natural resources, Ukraine is at the crossroads of Central European, Central Asian and Middle Eastern traditions. This makes the country an attractive place for trade and foreign investment and has a favourable impact on its business image.
Legal market overview
While Ukraine has a strong agricultural industry, foreign investment in other sectors has been diminished by Russia’s annexation of Crimea and conflict in the self-proclaimed people’s republics in Donetsk and Lugansk.
There is little transactional work in the legal market and few M&A and real estate deals reach completion, although there is widespread optimism that conditions will improve as early as the second half of 2016. Dispute resolution, meanwhile, is an extremely busy area of practice.
The government is moving ahead with its EU association policy, but progress has been slow and many legislative changes are still required. Many prominent lawyers are taking government positions to push forward reforms.
Some international law firms remain in Ukraine, including Baker & McKenzie – CIS, Limited, DLA Piper Ukraine LLC and Dentons. Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I., however, closed its Kiev office, with some lawyers moving to Integritesand the bulk of the group joining France-headquartered Jeantet, which bucked a trend by entering the Kiev market and will be one to watch for next year. Elsewhere, Clifford Chance sold its business to local lawyers now operating as Redcliffe Partners; and Schoenherr also exited the market, moving its Ukraine desk to Austria.
Firms in the spotlight
Onstan Law Firm
Founded in 2013, Onstan Law Firm is a full-service, internationally focused firm in Ukraine. The firm was formed by Yuriy Fedchyshyn, a tax lawyer, Olena Marchuk, a real estate lawyer, Andriy Fedchyshyn, a corporate lawyer and litigator, and Nataliya Khorushko, a banking lawyer and manager who was previously a deputy director of a branch of a large international bank.
Legal Business: country analysis
Breaking new ground – advisers hope shale revolution can restart CEE market
Weighed down by political unrest and slowing economies, energy and infra projects look like one area to be driving
the CEE economy. Can the shale revolution power up
Click here to read the feature.
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INSIGHT: Hard graft
the pan-Europe bribery crackdown
As European agencies turn up the heat on bribery and corruption, we team up with Simmons & Simmons to assess how clients are responding.
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What happened in 2015 in the world of Ukrainian corporate finance was a reflection of larger scale events in and around Ukraine. In this article, we will share our view of the key events in 2015 in the area of cor-porate finance, highlight the most important legislative and regulatory developments in finance and, based on our experience, make a few suggestions for creditors and debtors on how to navigate through 2016.
In the past few years Ukrainian clients have developed an appetite for solving their disputes abroad. Litigation and arbitration sagas involving Ukrainian parties or related to Ukrainian assets often spread across many jurisdictions. In many such sagas various interim reliefs were granted by courts and tribunals.
AstapovLawyers Partner Eugene Blinov & the firm's Associate Roman Protsyshyn share their recent arbitration practice regarding applicable law in contractual disputes.
The 2008 financial crisis peak had hardly faded away, when another breaking news was brought to the surface in CIS countries: a significant part of the funds advanced during the pre-crisis period by banks and other financial institutions to support various businesses and commercial initiatives, flew beyond national frontiers to be found in Panama, BVI, Seychelles, Jersey, Cyprus and other offshore and onshore jurisdictions in the pockets of numerous private persons, mostly CIS nationals. No surprise this fact led to a tsunami of disputes, one way or the other related to repayment of loans and funds advanced under other types of finance arrangements. Many of those disputes are still pending, thus, keeping finance arrangements among the top-litigated issues within CIS borders.
Article V1(b) of the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, better known as the New York Convention, provides that recognition and enforcement of a foreign arbitral award may be refused, at the request of the party against which it is invoked, only if that party furnishes proof to the competent authority where the recognition and enforcement is sought that it was not given proper notice of the appointment of the arbitrator or of the arbitration proceedings. However simple at first glance, the question of what constitutes 'proper notice' turns out to be less than clear in practice.
6 February has marked lawyers’ calendars with an important message from the UK Supreme Court: English courts will not accept the jurisdiction over a dispute having the “centre of gravity” in another country. AstapovLawyers' Managing Partner Andrey Astapov and Associate Anna Kombikova comment on a recent CIS precedent.
The Presidium of the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UCCI) recently amended Article 52 of the Rules of the International Commercial Arbitration Court (ICAC) at the UCCI. This article governs the procedure for forwarding an arbitral award to the parties to arbitration proceedings.
Eugene Blinov and Anna Kombikova of AstapovLawyers ILG commented on peculiarities of enforcement of arbitral awards against Ukrainian bankrupt companies. The lawyers noted the risks connected with such cases and suggested possible solutions.
The mitigation of damages is a well-known principle in international legal practice. However, in Ukraine there is no widely applied court and arbitration practice on the issues relating to mitigation of damages, and aggrieved parties may be unclear as to what should and can be done.
The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine at its meeting on August 29 resolved  to amend its Resolution "On approval of the Order for the use of funds allocated in the state budget for payments related to implementation of judgments of foreign jurisdictional authorities rendered upon consideration of matters against Ukraine" (the "Government Resolution"). Appropriate amendments were prepared by the Ministry of Justice (responsible for protecting the state's interests in foreign courts and arbitral tribunals) in order to improve mechanisms to protect the rights and interests of Ukraine in foreign judicial and arbitral proceedings.
Kyiv, 9 September 2016 - AVELLUM advises Custos Invest & Finance Inc., one of the Datagroup’s shareholders, in connection with the increase of the stake of Horizon Capital in Datagroup from significant minority to over 70%.
The dispute resolution team of the Law firm "Jurline" successfully defended the interests of a group of agro-companies (import and distribution of plant protection products, seed, and fertilizers) in litigation dispute with the State Tax Inspection in Kyivskyi district of Odesa.- Jurline
Eterna Law successfully acted for European insurance company Credimundi NVSA member of Credendo grouMoscow, August 30th, - Moscow office of Eterna Law successfully acted for European insurance company Credimundi NVSA member of Credendo group in a dispute. Insurance company Credimundi sued for a large coal company JSC "Southern Kuzbass Coal Company" subrogation on insurance payment in respect of the obligation breached by non-payment of the amount due for the supply of goods.
Kyiv, 5 September 2016 – AVELLUM advised Altran, a global leader in innovation and high‐tech engineering consulting, on the acquisition of Lohika, a software engineering services firm.
Kyiv, 4 August 2016 – AVELLUM advised Allergan Inc. in connection with the divestiture of its global generic pharmaceuticals business to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd through a complex cross-border carve-out.
Moscow, September 5th – Our client, a major French supplier of hardware and software for the confectionery industry, filed a claim with the International Commercial Arbitration Court (ICAC) against the largest confectionery manufacturer in the Russian market for the recovery of about EUR400,000 outstanding under a supply contract.
Two largest European grain traders had a dispute that arose out of a contract for wholesale supply of barley FOB Bourgas. The seller and buyer had a disagreement in relation to interpretation of contract terms of payment CAD (cash against documents). Because of this controversy, the seller refused to load the vessel, and the buyer declared the default of fulfilment of the contract by the seller, and subsequently re-routed the vessel to another port for purchase of barley under a replacement contract.- Jurline
Partners and leading lawyers of Eterna Law will conduct second course of lectures for students of Law Faculty of the Taras Shevchenko national university of Kyiv. Course is to be started in September.
ETERNA LAW IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE START OF THE COOPERATION WITH PUBLIC ASSOCIATION "ACADEMY OF PREVEEterna Law (representative office in Almaty) announces the beginning of co-operation as a legal adviser with the Public Association "Academy of Preventive Medicine of Kazakhstan."
Eterna Law joined the pan-European initiative "Pact for Youth - 2020" for support and development ofKyiv, the 15th of August - Eterna Law joined the initiative "Pact for Youth in Ukraine - 2020". The cooperation starts after the ceremonial signing the document by Oksana Kneychuk, Eterna Law Partner, in the Ministry of Youth and Sport, with participation of Igor Zhdanov, Minister.