Firm Profile > BGI Legal > Tbilisi , Georgia
BGI Legal Offices
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BGI Legal > The Legal 500 Rankings
Banking and finance Tier 1
The banking and finance team at BGI Legal is led by experienced capital markets partner Lasha Gogiberidze, and handles corporate bond issuances, listings and project finance. Clients include the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and J.P. Morgan; the firm advised the latter and Citigroup on issuing €370m corporate bonds on the Irish Stock Exchange. Gogiberidze led the advice on the matter alongside newly promoted partner Unana Gogokhia, who also worked with a UK-headquartered law firm to advise the European Investment Fund on guaranteed SME loans in Georgia. Associate Tamar Morchiladze is heavily involved in investment matters, and assisted on a proposed $10m investment by the International Finance Corporation in BasisBank.
BGI Legal has an especially strong corporate presence in the energy sector, where it advises both traditional and renewable energy clients. Corporate veterans Zaza Bibilashvili and Sandro Bibilashvili are active in this field, and have represented local and foreign investors. Unana Gogokhia advised CapGrowth on the acquisition of a spa centre in a multi-use complex, while Zaza assisted broadcasting giant Rustavi 2 with various matters, including corporate restructuring. Lasha Gogiberidze is also recommended for his expertise in resolving corporate and employment matters.
Dispute resolution Tier 1
BGI Legal's dispute resolution practice is led by Zaza Bibilashvili, who acts on corporate and commercial disputes. The firm handles both local and international litigation, and has experience in white-collar crime cases; Bibilashvili and associate Davit Kakoishvili defended the former President of Georgia against criminal allegations by the new government. Kakoishvili also defended the former Justice Minister and Prime Minister in similar white-collar crime cases. Giorgi Sarajishvili assisted Bibilashvili in representing an Israeli-owned operator of parking services in Tbilisi in a $50m dispute with the government. He was also the key name on a trade mark litigation case, in which the firm successfully represented Ferrero. Experienced litigator Sandro Bibilashvili recently acted for Vialis Belgium in a breach of contract dispute.
BGI Legal handles large-scale real estate developments and construction projects in the energy sector. Lasha Gogiberidze and Zaza Bibilashvili are the key names, and advised a group of international investors on a $250m secured loan to finance the construction of the Adjaristsqali hydropower project. Unana Gogokhia advised another financier on the $7m financing of a new hotel construction project in Tbilisi.
BGI Legal > Firm Profile
The firm: BGI Legal was founded in 2005 by senior partners Zaza Bibilashvili and Lasha Gogiberidze. The founding of BGI followed Ernst & Young’s global decision to exit from the legal service market. BGI is a successor to GCG Law Office (member of the Anderson Legal network at the time) and shares the legacy of EY Law Tbilisi. Since foundation BGI has almost doubled in size.
BGI’s lawyers have taken a lead role in almost every major transaction to take place in Georgia over the last two decades. Its experience of recognised market leaders puts it in a unique position to assist clients by effectively synergising international experience with peculiarities of the local business environment. It represents major foreign investors and lending institutions, real estate and infrastructure developers, national companies, joint ventures, diplomatic missions and international organisations.
It continues to be the referral firm of choice for most international law firms operating in Georgia, regularly undertaking mandates on behalf of Baker & McKenzie, Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields, Linklaters, White & Case, Hogan Lovells, Norton Rose Fulbright and other global giants.
Its practice offers unparalleled diversity and breadth in its ability to guide clients in the increasingly challenging environment of Georgia’s fast-paced economic and legal development.
Almost all of of its attorneys have advanced law degrees from US and European law schools and are well-versed in the tradition of western law practices, while two of its partners are also licensed to practise in the State of New York.
Areas of practice: BGI Legal is recognised as Georgia’s leading independent full-service law firm, offering clients the full range of legal and professional services.
It holds the record, in so far as the number of deals involving capital markets with Georgian assets are concerned; no one has more deals on this front, neither from those that went public nor those handled through private placement.
A couple of years ago the firm had the largest single date closings that any local law firm has ever been involved within the history of Georgia, with two transactions simultaneously closing on the same day with the total dollar value of US$ 750 m.
In the energy sector, BGI has had the privilege to be involved in most of the major energy and infrastructure projects in Georgia during the last two decades, starting from the most important project in the recent history of Georgia – oil and gas pipelines operated by BP, transporting Caspian oil and gas from the Caspian region through Georgia to Europe. Other notable projects BGI has worked on without limitations include: Tbilisi International Airport, Batumi LPG Terminal, Poti Port, Shuakhevi HPP, Nenskra HPP & Namakhvani HPP projects, etc.
It has advised numerous clients on the establishment of joint ventures with private and public sector counterparts, including advice on the selection of corporate vehicles, the drafting and negotiation of complex shareholder agreements and corporate charters and legal due diligence on domestic partners and target companies. Following incorporation, its service offerings range from employment and leasing to sales, distribution, and franchise agreements.
During 2017, BGI enriched the firm’s portfolio with several historic achievements, setting international legal precedents and establishing national/international case law. In particular, representing interests of Coca-Cola Bottlers Georgia it has recently prevailed in a matter of recognition and enforcement of a foreign arbitral award. This Supreme Court decision will serve as a guideline for practitioners and increase the level of certainty for parties seeking enforcement of arbitration awards in Georgia.
It represented Georgia’s former Prime Minister Ivane Merabishvili. The Grand Chamber of European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) delivered a landmark judgment on 28 November 2017 ruling that Georgia had violated Articles 5.3 and 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights in relation to the former Prime Minister. This was the first case ever where violation of Article 18 was established by the Grand Chamber of ECHR.
BGI also acted for the owners of the largest and the most popular private broadcasting company in Georgia, Rustavi 2. After Georgian courts ruled to deprive the current owners of their shares in the company, ECHR suspended the enforcement of the decision of the Supreme Court of Georgia. This was the first ever case in the ECHR’s 60-year history when such a remedy was used in a civil case.
IP law has been an increasingly dynamic practice area in recent years. BGI set major national precedents by registering a trade mark based on ‘distinctiveness acquired through use’ and cancelling a domain name where it contains another party’s trade mark on behalf of multinational confectionery giant Ferrero and Facebook, respectively.
|Banking, securities and capital markets||Lasha Gogiberidze|
|Banking, securities and capital markets||Unana Gogokhia|
|Banking, securities and capital markets||Sandro Bibilashvili|
|Project and trade finance||Lasha Gogiberidze|
|Project and trade finance||Sandro Bibilashvili|
|Project and trade finance||Unana Gogokhia|
|Energy and infrastructure||Zaza Bibilashvili|
|Energy and infrastructure||Lasha Gogiberidze|
|Energy and infrastructure||Sandro Bibilashvili|
|Privatisation and government relations||Lasha Gogiberidze|
|Privatisation and government relations||Zaza Bibilashvili|
|Privatisation and government relations||Ekaterina Aleksidze|
|Corporate structuring, M&A and joint ventures||Zaza Bibilashvili|
|Corporate structuring, M&A and joint ventures||Lasha Gogiberidze|
|Corporate structuring, M&A and joint ventures||Unana Gogokhia|
|Real estate and construction||Zaza Bibilashvili|
|Real estate and construction||Ekaterina Aleksidze|
|Real estate and construction||Unana Gogokhia|
|Telecommunications, media and information technologies||Lasha Gogiberidze|
|Telecommunications, media and information technologies||Tamara Tevdoradze|
|Personal data protection||Tamara Tevdoradze|
|Personal data protection||Sandro Bibilashvili|
|Competition law||Tamara Tevdoradze|
|Competition law||Unana Gogokhia|
|Competition law||Ekaterina Aleksidze|
|Tax and customs advice||Lasha Gogiberidze|
|Tax and customs advice||Giorgi Sarajishvili|
|Dispute resolution||Zaza Bibilashvili|
|Dispute resolution||Sandro Bibilashvili|
|Dispute resolution||Giorgi Sarajishvili|
|Legislative drafting||Lasha Gogiberidze|
|Legislative drafting||Zaza Bibilashvili|
|Diplomatic missions||Zaza Bibilashvili|
|Diplomatic missions||Tamara Tevdoradze|
|Corporate registrations and incorporation||Tamara Tevdoradze|
|Corporate registrations and incorporation||Ekaterina Aleksidze|
|Criminal law and international courts||Zaza Bibilashvili|
|Criminal law and international courts||Davit Kakoishvili|