Firm Profile > Elias Neocleous & Co LLC > Limassol, Cyprus
Elias Neocleous & Co LLC Offices
NEOCLEOUS HOUSE, 195 MAKARIOS III AVENUE, 1-5TH
- Go to...
- Firm Profile
- Main Contacts
- Lawyer Profiles
- International Capabilities
- Client Testimonials
- Doing Business In
- Press Releases
- Legal Developments
- Comparative Guides
Elias Neocleous & Co LLC > The Legal 500 Rankings
Banking and finance Tier 1
Under the leadership of Demetris Roti, the banking and finance team at Elias Neocleous & Co LLC is a regular advisor to international law firms, leading Cypriot banks and financial institutions, major international commercial and investment banks, and private equity funds. The team acts for clients on the full spectrum of matters, from NPL portfolios to Cypriot law aspects of major domestic and international deals. The team is also praised for its advice on financial services regulation and work on the establishment of regulated structures in Cyprus. Nicosia-based Andrea Kallis Parparinou is a leading name alongside Limassol-based managing partner Elias Neocleous and consultant Dimitris Papoutsis.
Other key lawyers:
Dimitris Papoutsis; Andrea Kallis; Elias Neocleous
Avanti Communications Group PLC
Altamira Asset Management Limited
APS Holding a.s
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
International Finance Corporation
Eurobank Greece and Eurobank Cyprus
Bank of Cyprus
Bank of Scotland
Hellenic Public Bank Company Limited
Emma Delta Variable Capital Investment Company Limited
Deutsche Bank AG
General Electric Company
Raiffeisen Bank International AG
Jordan Kuwait Bank
Prodea Investments Limited
Elias Neocleous & Co LLC is one of the preferred advisors in Cyprus for large multinational companies that are seeking advice on a broad range of corporate and commercial issues. Its large team receives a steady stream of mandates on a variety of corporate and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, restructurings and insolvencies as well as corporate finance work. It also deals with many HNWI and UHNWI clients and their corporate structures. The group has considerable sector expertise in the renewable energy space and has been involved in a sizeable number of major wind and PV projects that have been developed in Cyprus. Head of team is managing partner Elias Neocleous. Demetris Roti is also active in substantial transactions.
Other key lawyers:
Acer Europe S.A
Allea Group Holdings
Aphrodite Hills Resort
Avanti Communications Group
Bank of Cyprus
Blackstone Group International LLP
CYREIT Variable Capital Investment Company PLC
International Finance Corporation
LongWing Energy S.C.A
Avanti Communications Group plc
Emma Delta Variable Capital Investment Company Limited
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Futures Industry Association
Jordan Kuwait Bank
Landmark Hotel Nicosia
Mall of Cyprus
National Pangea Real Estate Investment Company
EPCM Holdings Limited (South Africa)
Deutsche Bank AG
Prodea Investment Company Limited
Pepperstone Group Limited
SOLEK HOLDING SE
BW Shipping (formerly Bergesen Worldwide)
Dispute resolution Tier 1
Elias Neocleous & Co LLC has a robust and large team that is organised into specialist groups that handle the full array of contentious matters from banking and finance disputes to intellectual property matters. Other areas of expertise include advising on personal injury, health care, international trade and trust disputes as well as disputes before the EU courts. The practice is also recommended for its experience in assisting its corporate and M&A departments on large cross-border transactions by reviewing pending disputes and conducting due diligence on target companies. Names to note include Chrysanthos Christoforou, Costas Stamatiou and Nicolas Tsardellis along with Nikos Korogiannakis who leads the Brussels office. Christina Middleton has left the firm to become a member of the judiciary.
Chrysanthos Christoforou; Costas Stamatiou; Antonis Glykis; Christos Melides; Nicolas Tsardellis; Anna Demetriou; Nikos Korogiannakis
Other key lawyers:
Bank of Cyprus
Altamira Asset Management Limited
APS Holding a.s
Intel Capital Corp
Notesco Financial Services Limited
CYREIT Property Fund
Hellenic Bank Public Company Limited
Prodea Investments Limited
Iron FX Global Limited
Gordian Holdings Limited
Aphrodite Hills Resort
ACE European Group
Employment Tier 1
Elias Neocleous & Co LLC has a broad practice that advises senior executives and employers on various contentious and non-contentious matters. Particular areas of expertise include conducting large scale due diligence exercises on potential acquisition targets and advising employers on remuneration, benefits and incentive packages. The team under the leadership of Nicholas Ktenas has also been busy advising senior employees on various matters such as unfair dismissal and constructive dismissal claims. The group frequently collaborates with large international law firms in the review and drafting of employment agreements and helps multinational companies with the local implementation of their global employment policies and procedures. Andrea Kallis Parparinou is another name to note.
Other key lawyers:
Andrea Kallis Parparinou
A.C Nielsen NoHuawei Technologies S.A
The British High Commission in Cyprus
Fedex Express Europe
Amazon (Amazon web services)
Cyprus Public Transport Limited
UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation
Cyprus Tourist Development Company Limited
Avanti Communications Group
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Dubai.
Pepperstone Group Limited
Greenmont VCIC Limited
EU and competition Tier 1
Nicholas Ktenas leads a dedicated team at Elias Neocleous & Co LLC that specialises in EU and competition law. Merger control work is a cornerstone area for the practice, and the firm has particular sector expertise in shipping and more recently in betting. Other strengths lie in EU-related litigation and the group has handled a number of significant instructions before European bodies. It works closely with several major international law firms on various complex mandates. Other names to note are senior associate Ramona Livera and associate Elena Christodoulou.
Other key lawyers:
Elena Christodoulou; Ramona Livera
Avanti Communications Group
Blackstone Group International Partnership LLP
British High Commission, Nicosia
Cyprus Tourism Development Corporation Ltd
Cyprus Public Transport Limited
European Investment Fund
Invel Real Estate Partners
Jordan Kuwait Bank (Cyprus Branch)
Mall of Cyprus
NBG Pangea Limited
Intellectual property Tier 1
Elias Neocleous & Co LLC advises comprehensively on all types of intellectual property matters, from patent and trade mark protection to design registration, copyright and the licensing of technology. It is also retained by clients (including several global pharmaceutical companies) to monitor trade mark and patent applications in the context of identifying potential infringements of their intellectual property rights. Nicholas Ktenas leads the team, which is also recommended for its strength in pharmaceutical regulatory matters. In addition, the practice is renowned for its work with various start-up companies and it has a successful track record of representing several major brands in litigation. Senior associate Ramona Livera is another name to note.
Other key lawyers:
Bolton Technologies Limited
Blackstone Group International Partnership LLP
British High Commission, Nicosia
Cyprus Mail Company Limited
Cyprus Tourism Development Corporation Ltd
European University Cyprus
Four Seasons Hotels
Mining Technologies RT JSC Y
Maritime and admiralty Tier 1
The admiralty and shipping department at Elias Neocleous & Co LLC is headed by Costas Stamatiou. The team is skilled at advising banks, owners, managers, charterers, cargo owners and their respective insurers on a myriad of complex marine matters. It is also adept at handling shipping litigation and admiralty proceedings including proceedings for the arrest of ships or cargo to secure unpaid debts. Associate Andreas Christofides is another key figure, who is particularly recommended for his work on contentious matters such as proceedings in the Admiralty Court in relation to cargo damage claims and vessel arrests, often working with international firms.
Other key lawyers:
Aphentrica Marine Insurance
Franman (Cyprus) Limited
Jarillo Shipping Company Ltd
BW Shipping (formerly Bergesen Worldwide)
Argo Coral Maritime Limited
Lloyds of London
Real estate and construction Tier 1
The real estate department at Elias Neocleous & Co LLC is headed by Christos Vezouvios. The team has been active in dealing with the property acquisition aspects of significant cross-border M&A transactions, as well as on major PPP projects, renewable energy and leisure projects. It acts for some of the largest real estate funds and developers on the island and also acts for many substantial companies in the real estate sector that are active in other regions such as Greece, CEE and CIS. The department is also well-placed to advise private clients and family offices on international property deals and those who are interested in acquiring property in Cyprus. Associate Christiana Georgiou is also well-regarded.
Other key lawyers:
Bank of Cyprus
Prodea Real Estate Investment Company
CYREIT Variable Capital Investment Company PLC
Landmark Hotel, Nicosia (ex-Hilton Hotel)
Invel Real Estate Partners
British High Commission/ UK Foreign Office
KIP Consulting Group
Evolutsia Conglomerate Limited
Galaxia Properties Limited
PNS Restaurants Limited
Qatar Mining Company
RREEF Real Estate
SOLEK HOLDING SE
Tax Tier 1
Elias Neocleous & Co LLC has a large and experienced specialist tax team under the direction of Elias Neocleous and Kyriacos Xenophontos. The first-rate practice also supports the firm on various matters such as devising tax efficient structures for international transactions as well as advising on a significant number of tax issues that arise in employment law such as on employee share schemes and pension schemes. The department is probably best known for its skill in complicated cross-border work but it also handles the full range of domestic tax issues as well as tax litigation. In addition it has a strong relationship with some major international law firms. Its client portfolio also consists of large international corporations, private clients and government organisations. Associate Elena Christodoulou is another key member of the team.
Elias Neocleous; Kyriacos Xenophontos
Other key lawyers:
City Capital Group
Invel Real Estate Partners (Greece)
Airbnb NCPI Property Group
Avanti Communications Group plc
Harvard Management Company Inc
Invel Real Estate Fund
NBG Pangea Limited
Elias Neocleous & Co LLC > Firm Profile
The firm: Elias Neocleous & Co LLC is among the largest firms in south east Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, with more than 150 lawyers and other professionals. All are English-speaking and members of staff speak most European languages, as well as major Asian languages. The firm is generally regarded as a regional leader, with a particular forte in cross-border work. It advises international clients on all aspects of Cyprus and European law and handles the largest and most demanding cross-border assignments.
Having pioneered the development of business ties between Cyprus and Russia, the firm has widened its market focus to include China, Israel, the middle east, India, Asia, USA and South America. It acts for leading companies from these regions as they enter the European market. The firm is committed to continuous investment in its human resources and its infrastructure in order to provide clients with service of the highest quality.
Areas of practice
Admiralty and maritime: Deals with the registration of vessels and aircraft under the Cyprus and other flags and all aspects of ship finance. It also advises on ship sale agreements, charterparties and other types of contract. It also handles disputes and execution of judgments against assets of shipping and aviation companies worldwide including ship arrests.
Banking and finance: Advises on the Cyprus aspects of major cross-border
finance transactions, including all types of syndicated lending, asset finance and leveraged and acquisition finance. It has strong links with commercial and investment banks, trust companies and underwriters. Clients are appreciative of our ‘assistance and responsiveness’.
Financial services and regulation: Deals with the EU and Cyprus applicable framework on (i) banking and payment services, including those under the banking recovery and resolution regime and the deposit guarantee scheme, (ii) investment services and activities under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directives (MiFID II and MiFIR) as implemented in Cyprus, including under directives and circulars issued by European Securities Markets Association (ESMA) and the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC); (iii) the EU and Cyprus framework on listed equity and debt securities under the Prospectus Regulation and respective local laws, the Public Offer and Takeover Bids laws and regulations, the Market Abuse Regulatory and regulatory requirements regarding market disclosures and transparency towards regulators as well as capital markets transactions; (iv) the structuring, authorization, supervision and transactions of collective investments, such as alternative investment funds and their managers and UCITS and (v) the regulation of insurance and reinsurance undertakings and intermediaries, under the applicable Cyprus regime.
Corporate and commercial/mergers and acquisitions: Advises on formation, corporate management and governance of companies; formation and use of trusts; mergers and acquisitions of companies in Cyprus and abroad including private and public mergers, takeovers, demergers and disposals; joint venture agreements; corporate reconstruction and reorganisation, inward and outward domiciliation of entities, capital raising transactions and offerings, private equity, stock options and purchase and sale of securities work.
It has particular expertise in investment via Cyprus to and from Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and South America.
The department also advises local, multinational and international companies on matters of licensing, procurements, e-commerce, labelling, agency and distribution, consultancy services, consumer protection, concession and operating agreements, and the department specialises in regulatory matters relating to electronic communication, information technology, pharmaceuticals and data protection (GDPR and NIS Directives).
Competition and European Union law: Advises multinational enterprises investing in Cyprus on anti-trust and merger control law issues under domestic and EU competition law and also on distribution agreements and cartel investigations. Our firm has experience with the government and the Competition Authority and a deep understanding of local competition regulation. We offer our clients a tailored service. We also act as counsel to several administrative and quasi-governmental bodies, thus strengthening our relationships with the country’s key stakeholders in competition law.
Employment law: Elias Neocleous & Co LLC is skilled at advising senior employees as well as major national and multinational companies. It also advises the British High Commission on employment matters and it is the exclusive representative in Cyprus of the Employment Law Alliance Network, the largest and most prestigious network of labor and employment lawyers, with more than 3,000 attorneys in over 100 countries. The team has particular expertise in drafting employment contracts and related documentation as well as in advising on a very wide range of employment law matters, including termination of employment, employee rights and obligations, statutory benefits, employee incentive schemes, transfer of undertakings and protection of employees (TUPE), health and safety at work, collective bargaining, etc. Nicholas Ktenas has considerable experience in this space. He has been acknowledged in a number of client testimonials to The Legal 500 over the past years as a “first class” head of a “capable and responsive practice”, “paying close attention to detail” and “remaining calm under pressure”.
Energy : Our staff have more than 20 years’ experience in advising potential investors in a wide range of energy projects ranging from onshore and offshore oil and gas exploration operations to renewable energy projects. We have up-to-date knowledge and experience of the relevant national, EU and international legal and regulatory environment applying to all types of energy projects. Our specialists in public procurement have extensive experience in assisting clients in preparing and submitting tenders to the relevant government authorities and in subsequent negotiations and finalisation of contracts. Our aim is to help clients identify profitable opportunities and exploit them as effectively as possible. We have assisted several leading participants in the energy market with projects such as applications for exploration licences, public procurement procedures and the negotiation and drafting of all types of energy agreements, including public contracts with joint operation agreements and energy suppliers or drilling contractors. Our unmatched tax expertise allows us to advise clients on the most tax-effective structuring arrangements, taking account of the international nature of the industry and the various tax regimes involved. In addition, we have long experience in dealing with the regulatory bodies involved in the monitoring of compliance with the requirements of Cyprus and EU environment, energy and oil and gas legislation.
Intellectual property: advises on the acquisition, registration and protection of all types of intellectual property. The firm specializes, inter alia, in advising international clients on the protection and exploitation of intellectual property using Cyprus-based structures in order to benefit from Cyprus’ advantageous IP taxation regime. Existing clients include clients with household brands in business sectors which include software, electronic service payments, pharmaceutical products, sports and personal care products. Nicholas Ktenas heads the group.
Information technology- data protection regulation:The information technology- data protection privacy team is a multidisciplinary team with extensive experience in e-commerce and privacy laws as well as information security services. Consisting of both legal and technical experts, the team specializes in assisting clients to familiarize themselves with and to comply with their obligations as controllers and/or processors towards data subjects, including clients, employees and business partners, under the European General Data Protection Regulation and applicable Cyprus and international data protection laws. This is mainly achieved by assessing an organization’s existing data protection procedures and developing effective organizational controls and governance structures using a number of specialized techniques and approaches such as gap analysis, data mapping, data protection impact assessments, data protection by design, raising awareness, defining and drafting of privacy notices and policies, managing data security breaches, and the provision of ‘Data Protection Officer’ services.
Litigation and arbitration: Elias Neocleous & Co LLC is home to the strongest litigation and dispute resolution department, in terms of size and experience, in Cyprus. In 2019 it was awarded Benchmark Litigation’s (Europe) ‘Law Firm of the Year – Cyprus’ and, additionally in the same publication, Chrysanthos Christoforou, Partner and ‘Head of Department’ was named ‘Lawyer of the Year-Cyprus’.
We are the law firm of choice for prestigious clients seeking assistance with international and domestic litigation and have been involved in many recent high-profile cases. We are also highly experienced in all forms of alternative dispute resolution. Our client base includes leading international law firms (and their clients), leading financial institutions, investment firms, national and international business corporations and, private individuals.
Uniquely in Cyprus our team is divided into four specialist sectors under the guidance of partners Antonis Glykis, Anna Demetriou, Chrysanthos Christoforou and Christos Melides. This separation allows for the development of specific expertise in each sector and plays an important role in ensuring that we achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients.
Infrastructure and project finance: the firm assists clients on landmark developments, global PFI and PPP projects. Advice is specifically tailored to dovetail with the corresponding commercial, banking and finance and tax aspects.
Tax and international tax planning: Elias Neocleous & Co LLC has the largest and most experienced law firm tax department in Cyprus. We have an excellent reputation for delivering high quality ‘up to the minute’ advice and planning. Our tax and tax planning resource includes specialists with legal, accounting and financial backgrounds. This combination together with close cooperation with other teams across the firm enables us to provide our clients with robust, commercial solutions to their tax problems.
Our clients include international law firms, large domestic and international corporations, financial institutions, high-net-worth individuals and government organisations. We have a marked expertise in cross-border transactions and associated tax planning issues and have been involved in numerous projects across Europe, Asia and the Americas. We are well versed in contentious issues and corporate tax policy issues. The expertise shown in our international work is mirrored in our domestic tax work where we also have significant capacity and experience. Our clients say ‘my sincere appreciation for your remarkable attitude, which is very rare.’
Real estate and immigration: Deals with all issues related to real estate, including acquisition and sale of immovable property, legal due diligence for property acquisitions, estate planning and, particularly for HNWIs, succession issues. Extensive experience in citizenship applications, employment permits, permanent residence permits and other immigration matters.
Private client: Elias Neocleous & Co LLC has an established track record in providing high quality services to private clients and high-net-worth individuals. Both our department and our department head, Elias Neocleous, are ranked as tier 1 performers by a host of independent rating agencies including the 2020 Chambers HNW Guide. Clients derive significant benefit from the fact that our dedicated team forms part of the largest international law firm in Cyprus. This allows the team to draw specialist expertise from several departments and offices, in Cyprus and across Europe, to provide a ‘one-stop’ service which is specifically tailored to the clients’ needs. Whatever our clients’ objectives are, be they tax minimization, estate planning, philanthropy, or any other goal, our team has the skill set and the experience to allow them to achieve it in a tax efficient and legally compliant manner.
|Managing Partner, Companies, corporate management, trustee and fiduciary services, Tax/international tax planning, private client||Elias Neocleousemail@example.com||+357 25110110|
|Tax/international tax planning, trustee and fiduciary services||Kyriacos Xenofontosfirstname.lastname@example.org||+357 25110156|
|Corporate finance, capital markets, securities||Demetris Rotiemail@example.com||+357 25110161|
|Corporate finance, capital markets, securities||Dimitris Papoutsisfirstname.lastname@example.org||+357 25 110145|
|Real estate, immigration and residence, wills and administration of estates||Christos Vezouviosemail@example.com||+357 25110221|
|Admiralty and shipping, Shipping companies, ship registration, ship finance and aviation||Costas Stamatioufirstname.lastname@example.org||+357 25110141|
|Banking and Finance, Corporate and Commercial, Employment Law||Andrea Kallis Parparinouemail@example.com||+357 22110311|
|Litigation and Dispute Resolution||Nicolas Tsardellisfirstname.lastname@example.org||+357 22110305|
|Commercial and general litigation, Arbitration (local and international)||Chrysanthos Christoforouemail@example.com||+357 25110136|
|Commercial and general litigation||Antonis Glykisfirstname.lastname@example.org||+357 25110169|
|Banking law, finance, insolvency||Demetris Rotiemail@example.com||+357 25110161|
|Banking law, finance, insolvency||Costas Stamatioufirstname.lastname@example.org||+357 25110141|
|Employment law, Intellectual property and trade marks, Internet, e-commerce and information technology law||Nicholas Ktenasemail@example.com||+357 22110324|
|Intellectual property and trade marks||Ramona Liverafirstname.lastname@example.org||+357 22110327|
|Matrimonial and family law||Christos Melidesemail@example.com||+357 25110113|
|Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Matrimonial, Family law and Mediator||Anna Demetrioufirstname.lastname@example.org||+357 25110121|
|Arbitration (local and international), Administrative law||Christos Melidesemail@example.com||+357 25110113|
|Elena Christodoulou||Associate||View Profile|
|Mr Andreas Christofides||Associate||View Profile|
|Chrysanthos Christoforou||Partner||View Profile|
|Anna Demetriou||Partner||View Profile|
|Ms Christiana Georgiou||Associate||View Profile|
|Mr Antonis Glykis||Partner||View Profile|
|Mrs Andrea Kallis Parparinou||Partner||View Profile|
|Nicholas Ktenas||Partner||View Profile|
|Ramona Livera||Senior Associate||View Profile|
|Mr Christos Melides||Partner||View Profile|
|Mr Elias Neocleous||Managing Partner||View Profile|
|Mr Dimitris Papoutsis||Legal Consultant||View Profile|
|Mr Michael Pelosi||Legal Counsel||View Profile|
|Demetris Roti||Partner||View Profile|
|Costas Stamatiou||Partner||View Profile|
|Mr Nicolas Tsardellis||Partner||View Profile|
|Mr George Tsardellis||Senior Associate||View Profile|
|Christos Vezouvios||Partner||View Profile|
|Mr Kyriacos Xenophontos||Partner||View Profile|
Staff FiguresNumber of lawyers : 150 at this office : 80
LanguagesArabic Czech English French German Greek Hebrew Hungarian Italian Russian Spanish Turkish Ukrainian Urdu
MembershipsIBA (International Bar Association) ABA (American Bar Association) Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP) Fraudnet (ICC) International Tax Planning Association (ITPA) Cyprus Bar Association Cyprus Chamber of Commerce & Industry Cyprus-Russian Business Association ELA (Employment Lawyers Association)
OtherOther offices : Brussels Other offices : Budapest Other offices : Kiev Other offices : Nicosia Other offices : Paphos Other offices : Prague
Elias Neocleous & Co LLC DIVERSITY POLICY
An important part of our corporate mission and strategy is the promotion of diversity and inclusion. As a firm we strongly support a diverse workplace, and, we leverage the effects of this diversity to maintain and enhance our competitive business advantage. Our top diversity and inclusion priority is the recruitment and selection of a diverse workforce. We are proud of the fact that we employ talents from all over the world, with differences in background, skills, abilities, experiences and values. Our inclusive workplace promotes a cooperative, collaborative, open and fair culture, which offers equal opportunities to all employees. With a diverse and inclusive corporate culture, we comprehend and respond better to the needs of our clients, delivering the utmost in quality service.
Elias Neocleous & Co LLC CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Our company, recognizing the special importance of corporations for the entire community, has taken several initiatives with a very significant social footprint, in the framework of its corporate social responsibility. Some of these initiatives are summarized below.
- The firm has established cash prizes in the schools of our Head Office hometown, to inspire and reward students who exhibit excellent academic achievements and excellent ethical behaviour. For Elias Neocleous and Co LLC, excellence is a concept of paramount importance that encompasses all its activities, from recruitment policy to final provision of legal services. It is, therefore, logical that the promotion of excellence should be an integral part of the corporate social responsibility policy that we pursue. The prizes are intended to encourage excellence and to foster an empathetic bond between future citizens and professionals.
- The organization of regular blood donation sessions for staff is also an activity that is part of our corporate social policy. We view it as being extremely important for the community to foster a culture of donating blood. Cyprus has a small and highly multi-cultural population and the strengthening of blood banks is a crucial factor in helping to save many of our fellow citizens’ lives daily.
- Elias Neocleous & Co LLC was one of the major sponsors of the Legal 500 GC Summit Cyprus event. Around 80 leading legal minds in Cyprus gathered at the Landmark Nicosia to discuss the pressing issues facing in-house counsel during that period. This included how they had successfully handled crises and how the experience will inform their approach to the challenges of the future. During the event, our firm organized a live panel discussion concerning negative interest rates and their impact both on business and on the Cyprus economy.
- Elias Neocleous & Co LLC was also a sponsor and co-organizer of the Reflect Festival 2020. This was the largest festival in Southern Europe and the Middle East which, due to Covid 19 pandemic restrictions, took place online with over 40 events, 70 speakers and 10 top Start-up presentations. During the event, the participants had the opportunity to virtually attend many presentations and get acquainted with technological initiatives such as AI, healthcare, and mobility amongst others. As the first law firm in Cyprus to pioneer a new age of legal service delivery through significant technological innovations in artificial intelligence (i.e. NEOLAW.ai) we embrace these extraordinary possibilities.
- Elias Neocleous & Co LLC was one of the main sponsors for the Limassol Economic Forum 2020. The Forum is the most important annual business conference in Cyprus attracting senior business executives, academics, politicians, and a variety of public officials from around the world. Due to Covid 19 restrictions, last year’s conference also took place online. It still, however, featured a host of internationally respected speakers. The conference’s main theme was the interesting topic of “What it takes to be a CEO in the 2020s” and, naturally, the firm’s Managing Partner was an active participant.
Elias Neocleous & Co LLC is a world-class law firm, which strives to protect the interests of clients and to help them identify and achieve their goals. Key to our success in obtaining these goals is the provision of prompt, professional advice of a consistently outstanding quality.
We are the largest law firm in Cyprus by a considerable margin and are generally recognised as a leading law firm in the South-East Mediterranean region. We have more than 150 professionals operating out of three offices in Cyprus and an international network of offices in the main destinations for investment via Cyprus.
Elias Neocleous & Co LLC is made up of a diverse team of individuals, many with practical international experience in various countries, including:
- The United Kingdom
- South Africa
Together, the staff of Elias Neocleous & Co LLC speak a range of languages including Greek, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian, Czech, Hungarian and Bengali. So, wherever your business takes you, Elias Neocleous & Co LLC will be able to help you communicate in the local language.
Our staff have extensive and incomparable professional experience in assisting clients in cross-border investment projects in and through Cyprus to Western Europe and other jurisdictions in the CIS, Middle East, Asia, Africa and the Americas.
Elias Neocleous & Co LLC is a multi-national firm with offices in Prague, Kiev, Budapest and, most recently, Brussels. Our expert lawyers in each office are qualified in their respective Bar Associations. Their prime focus is on issues of commercial, corporate and banking law. All have considerable experience in their fields of expertise, a fact which has resulted in considerable successes for their clients.
Despite an already impressive international presence, our firm regularly undertakes new initiatives designed to upgrade its international profile. The most recent of these relates to our Brussels office.
We have strengthened our presence in Western Europe with the acquisition of Jurispectrum, a niche business law firm which operates in Belgium and Luxembourg.
Our expanded Brussels office is headed by the experienced EU Law attorney Nikos Korogiannakis. Nikos, a member of the Athens, Brussels and Luxembourg Bar Associations, holds a postgraduate diploma in European Law from the University of Brussels and has handled more than 150 cases before the EU Court of Justice as well as numerous complex international trade disputes.
The Belgian firm, which operates as a limited liability company under the name of Elias Neocleous & Associates, focuses on European law, including public procurement, competition, state aid, banking and tax law. It also represents parties in international trade disputes and, on behalf of its clients, engages with all major European institutions.
Our expanded presence at the heart of the EU establishment has added new, specialist resources to our firm and enables us to provide innovative and improved high-level services to our clients.
CLIENT: Mr. George Constantinides
COMPANY/FIRM: Group CFO, Invel Real Estate Management (Cyprus) Ltd
TESTIMONIAL: I would like to express my thanks to the entire Elias Neocleous & Co LLC team for its diligent and expeditious approach on all company matters.
CLIENT: Ms. Addressa LinFidelis
COMPANY/FIRM: Associate at Latham & Watkins LLP
TESTIMONIAL: Special thanks for Elias Neocleous & Co LLC lawyer’s understanding regarding the outcome of our case. Our partnership with Elias Neocleous & Co LLC is most valuable for us.
CLIENT: Mr. Fraser Younson
COMPANY/FIRM: Consultant Solicitor from Keystone Law
TESTIMONIAL: I recently completed the sale of my house in Cyprus with Elias Neocleous & Co LLC and I was impressed with their Property lawyer who handled the matter. Her professional, calm and measured approach was amazing and really reassured us when things were not that straight forward. As a solicitor of some 40+ years in the private sector, I must say that I rarely came across a young lawyer with such a combination of professional and personal qualities.
CLIENT: Ms. Sarah Shaw
COMPANY/FIRM: Partner at Hogan Lovels International LLP
TESTIMONIAL: The client is very pleased with the result so we would like to express our appreciation for the assistance and responsiveness that the Elias Neocleous & Co LLC lawyers demonstrated.
CLIENT: Mr. Aristos Aristidou
COMPANY/FIRM: Director of Lordos United Plastics Public Ltd.
TESTIMONIAL: The lawyer of Elias Neocleous & Co LLC who handled my case prepared quite well documented and thorough written pleadings for our administrative recourse. I have been particularly satisfied with her assistance and the services of the Elias Neocleous & Co LLC team.
CLIENT: Ms. Diana Rivera, Legal counsel
COMPANY/FIRM: CMC XXI, S.L.U
TESTIMONIAL: I have been astonished by the extraordinary work and availability of the Elias Neocleous & Co LLC team, despite the tight timeframe we gave them. The scope, content and deep of their legal work are incredibly good. I’m frankly impressed and thankful.
Doing Business In
Dispute Resolution in Cyprus
To date, in Cyprus, the dominant means of settling large commercial disputes is via litigation. There is often negotiation before and during court proceedings but no legal obligation on or expectation that the parties will engage in such discussions unless they have specifically agreed to do so. Alternative dispute resolution methods (“ADR”) are a relatively new concept, other than in the construction and co-operative institutions sectors, but they do exist and are gaining in popularity. An important factor in this is that whilst the courts are generally efficient in determining applications for interim relief, final adjudication in a case can be protracted and commonly take between three and six years to obtain.
It is also generally accepted that the procedures and infrastructure of the courts are in need of reform and modernization. During large periods of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Cyprus courts were unable to operate at all as they lacked both the hardware and the technical know-how to work remotely. This pushed the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Court of Cyprus to embrace and introduce technology in the legal system of the country. Certain small but important steps in the right direction have been taken and many more are under implementation. Whilst this difficult situation has pushed most competent lawyers to explore and embrace other avenues of redress for their clients, including formal arbitration and mediation processes, it is expected to be several more years before these formal ADR processes become an established credible general alternative to litigation.
Cyprus has for many years worked hard to promote itself as an ideal venue for headquartering of international organisations and for foreign investment in general. As a consequence it is quite common for large commercial disputes to involve international parties at corporate and individual level.
Cyprus has been a full EU member state since 2004. As a result, where main court proceedings take place in another EU member state – or in a third country with which Cyprus has a bi-lateral agreement – it is common, for the parties to seek provisional measures in Cyprus in support of the foreign court proceedings. The commercial disputes arising are varied and may be linked to issues such as fraud, contractual disputes, corporate disputes, common monetary claims and more.
Cyprus is primarily a common law jurisdiction with a justice system which is based on the adversarial model. The courts are bound by the doctrine of precedent according to which the superior courts’ decisions are binding on subordinate courts. Whilst not necessarily binding, it is not uncommon for judgments of superior UK courts to be cited in domestic court proceedings with persuasive force and be followed by local courts. In turn this offers the parties to a commercial action the advantages of consistency, predictability and efficiency.
The Supreme Court sits at the apex of the system and large commercial disputes are usually heard in the highest level of the district courts. The Supreme Court has unlimited jurisdiction, and its functions include acting as a court of appeal. In this role its decisions are final unless overturned by the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) or the European Court of Human Rights (“ECHR”). Initial hearings take place before one judge whilst, appeals are heard by a panel of three judges.
In general, the applicable laws for commercial disputes are a combination of EU Law, principles of common law and equity and domestic law including the Contract Law, the Civil Wrongs Law and the Companies Law.
The principal source of law for establishing jurisdiction in civil and commercial matters is EU Regulation 1215/2012. If the matter in dispute falls outside of this domestic legislation and common law principles will apply. When determining the law applicable to the dispute the court will have regard to EC Regulation 593/2008 (Rome I) and EC Regulation 864/2007 (Rome II). It should also be noted that Cyprus law recognises the doctrine of res judicata.
Judgments of Cyprus courts are directly enforceable in other EU member states. They may also be enforceable in other non-EU states with which Cyprus has entered into a treaty. There are currently agreements in place with Belarus, Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Montenegro, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine. Similarly, Cyprus is required to enforce most judgments of other EU courts and of the nations with which it has bi-lateral agreements.
Whilst Cyprus court hearings may be lengthy it is possible for a claimant to ask the court to order a variety of interim measures to ensure that any eventual judgment in their favour can be satisfied. One of the most effective measures that may be imposed by the courts is a ‘freezing’ order preventing the defendant alienating and removing his assets from the claimant’s reach. Such an order may be granted if the court is satisfied that:
- The issue to be addressed is a serious one.
- It is probable that the claimant is entitled to relief.
- Failure to grant it would create difficulties in achieving complete justice at a future date.
- The balance of convenience weighs in favour of it.
Other common forms of interim relief that may be granted include:
- Discovery and tracing orders.
- Interim injunctions blocking specific actions or events.
- Anton Piller orders.
- Gagging orders.
- Appointment of a receiver or administrator.
- Ancillary disclosure orders.
- Anti-suit and/or anti-enforcement injunctions.
- Quia timet injunctions to prevent unlawful actions that may have been threatened.
Under certain circumstances, injunctions are available in Cyprus even where jurisdiction over a matter rests with a foreign court or tribunal, either under Regulation 1215 or under the Cyprus law on International Commercial Arbitration (Law 101/87).
A claimant must, in his claim, explicitly state the relief that he is requesting the court to award. The claimant bears the burden of proof and must provide adequate evidence for the court to decide on the balance of probabilities that his case is truthful. The standard of proof required increases in line with the gravity of the case. If the court finds in favour of the claimant it may award the requested relief if it believes it to be justified and within the power of the court to award. Alternatively, it may order a different remedy.
There are numerous remedies that the court may award. The most common of these are:
- Damages (general, special and punitive);
- Possession and foreclosure;
- Appointment of a receiver;
- Account of profits;
- Declaratory judgements; and
- Specific performance.
Judgment and appeals.
Judgments are published online and are accessible by the public. The length will depend on the complexity of the case, but normally the text will include: a summary of claims and proceedings; evidence adduced by both parties; evidence accepted by the court; relevant legal principles; summary of the legal arguments advanced by each party; application of legal principles to court accepted evidence; and the verdict. The court has discretion over the granting of costs, and these are usually payable after the final judgment has been given.
Judgments may generally be appealed on points of law or on finding of facts in the event that they are erroneous or not supported by the evidence. The Supreme court will usually hear appeals within a period of two to four years from filing. Appeals against interim orders may be heard sooner than this and if warranted, the Supreme Court may determine an appeal on an expedited basis.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
ADR is still in its infancy in commercial disputes in Cyprus. However, it is gaining in popularity, and many law professionals now also opt to train and gain relevant qualifications so that, where it may be beneficial to their client, they can promote ADR rather than litigation as a solution. Arbitration, international arbitration, mediation, and conciliation are all procedures which are available in Cyprus. The Cyprus courts have no power to compel disputing parties to use ADR, although they can recommend its use, engaging in it is on a voluntary basis only. In general ADR proceedings are confidential but in some circumstances disclosure may be possible.
In Cyprus arbitration is mandatory for disputes involving co-operative institutions. It has also proved to be a popular means of settling disputes in the building and contracting sector, where internationally large construction and infrastructure projects have for many years incorporated arbitration clauses as a standard contractual provision. Increasingly other business sectors are also seeing arbitration as a cheaper and speedier means of resolving disputes than court action. Many companies are now including arbitration clauses in their contracts requiring both parties to resolve any contractual dispute through a binding arbitration process, either through a recognised arbitration centre or through an ad hoc process, both for its speed of resolution as compared to litigation, but also because of its confidential nature.
In matters of domestic arbitration the Arbitration Law, Cap 4 gives the court powers to:
- Appoint an arbitrator, and
- Issue orders for:
- Security of costs;
- Disclosure of documents;
- Maintenance or sale of goods which are the focus of the arbitration procedure;
- Security for the amount of money in dispute; and
- Other interim measures such as the appointment of a receiver.
The court may also set aside any award made if it is proven that the Arbitrator has been guilty of misconduct or there is evidence of other impropriety surrounding the proceedings or award.
In matters of international arbitration, the procedures, duties and powers of the arbitrator and circumstances where the national court may be involved in the process are as set out in the International Arbitration Law (101/87) unless the parties have previously agreed otherwise. Where the parties have agreed to use a different procedural law any ‘gaps’ in it will be filled by the provisions of Law (101/87), which is closely modelled on the UNCITRAL Model Law. Irrespective of the procedural law chosen, mandatory provisions of Cyprus law must be followed. The national courts can also issue interim orders in support of the arbitration proceedings.
In Cyprus, mediation is a purely voluntary process. It offers a confidential low cost procedure through which disputing parties can attempt to reach a binding agreement. It is less popular for use in resolving commercial disputes since the outcome is linked to the specific interests and appetite for resolution of the relevant parties rather than any application of law. It can, however, be a cost-effective way of organising and setting out the basics of the dispute ahead of any litigation. EU Directive 2008/52/EC on mediation in commercial and civil matters has been transposed into Cyprus law via Law 159(I)/2012.
This is not a popular option in Cyprus for dealing with commercial disputes. It is similar to mediation but involves an independent conciliator providing a non-binding opinion on possible terms for settling the dispute. If it is accepted it becomes a dispute resolution agreement.
The Government has announced that it intends to establish a specialised Commercial Court. This would exclusively deal with complex commercial disputes involving claims of over €2m. Once operational this should help to reduce the burden on the district courts and allow for swifter final judgments. So too should the imminent appointment of additional permanent judges. Alongside this the Covid-19 pandemic has provided impetus to the process of introducing ‘e-justice’ to the Cyprus court system. As noted previously, the courts’ paralysis during a large period of 2020 also served to spotlight the benefits of effective ADR. Many legal professionals have been and are training and qualifying in arbitration, mediation and conciliation methods in order to offer their clients an alternative to litigation, with arbitration clauses being increasingly incorporated into a wide range of commercial contracts.
Banking and Finance in Cyprus
Cyprus’ Banking and Finance sector has worked hard to restore its credibility following the 2009-2013 economic crisis and subsequent EU bail out. The economic crisis was largely precipitated by over exposure to the Greek economy and sovereign debt and, a severely overleveraged property sector; all factors which resulted in Cyprus banks portfolios containing an unacceptably high proportion of non-performing loans (NPL) some in excess of 50%. In March 2013, the Cyprus Government, in return for EU bail out assistance, signed ‘The Economic Adjustment Programme Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The other signatories were the European Commission representing Eurogroup, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the European Central Bank (ECB). The three main objectives of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) financial support program were to (a) restore the health of the financial sector, (b) apply fiscal reorganisation measures, and (c) implement structural reforms to enhance the competitive position of the Cypriot economy.
A key part of the MoU process included the assessment of the needs and weaknesses of the banking system. Following this, key targets were set, and actions implemented to achieve them. This included the recapitalisation and restructuring of credit institutions as well as the strengthening of the regulatory and supervisory framework of the banking and finance systems together with legal reforms such as the securitisation laws. Whilst the path to achieving these ends was often brutal the results have produced local banks which have been rationalised, are stable, have stronger balance sheets and most importantly, have invested in corporate governance. Prior to the Covid-19 crisis, the NPL rate, although still high, was reducing and despite the crisis, banks continue with plans to sell off elements of their NPL portfolios, with all major banks having in recent year’s offloaded large portions of their NPL portfolios to international funds.
Regulation and Supervision
Cyprus has been a member of the EU Single Supervisory Mechanism since late 2014. It has enacted all necessary legislation to harmonise banking and finance domestic law with applicable EU directives and regulations. This includes most recently the 5th Anti Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD).
Ultimate responsibility for the authorisation and supervision of significant EU credit institutions to be incorporated in Cyprus rests with the European Central Bank (ECB). However, the Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC) is designated as the national ‘Competent Authority’ and therefore all applications are submitted via the CBC. The CBC vets all applications based on their compliance with the criteria contained in the ‘Business of Credit Institutions Laws of 1997’ and it makes recommendations to the ECB. The CBC has sole responsibility for the regulation and supervision of financial institutions established or registered in Cyprus, for branches or representative offices abroad of those financial institutions and, of representative offices in Cyprus of financial institutions established abroad carrying on banking activities and investment and ancillary services and activities. The supervision of branches of credit institutions from third countries which are active in member states remains the exclusive competence of the CBC. Under Cyprus’ AML legislation the CBC is also the supervisory body for banks and persons licensed to provide money transmission services.
The CBC exercises the Supervisory Review and Evaluation Process in respect of all Cyprus incorporated credit institutions licensed by the CBC which are subject to capital requirements. It has authority to enter and inspect. If the CBC ascertains in its examination and supervision of a credit institution that it is not in compliance with the laws, directives and regulations of the CBC, it has powers to impose significant administrative fines and may amend, vary or revoke any license of a credit institution. The infringement by a credit institution of any of the laws and regulations of the CBC may constitute an offence punishable by imprisonment not exceeding five years or a fine.
Register of Credit Institutions
The CBC maintains a public register of all credit institutions licensed to operate in Cyprus. Currently there are:
- Seven local authorised credit institutions.
- 22 Foreign authorised credit institutions and branches of foreign credit institutions from EU member states operating under the “European Passport” scheme including:
- Four subsidiaries of foreign credit institutions including one from a non-EU state.
- Five branches of foreign credit institutions from EU states.
- 13 branches of foreign credit institutions from non-EU states.
Banking and finance activities
As the list of regulated institutions suggests, banking and finance activity in Cyprus extends significantly beyond purely domestic regulatory and transactional issues. Located in the Eastern Mediterranean at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa and, with strong historical ties to the UK, Cyprus is very well-placed as an international business and financial centre. Since joining the EU, it has established itself as the natural portal for inward and outward investment between the EU and the rest of the world, particularly the rapidly growing economies of Russia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, India and China. Its excellent business infrastructure, with a benign tax regime and an extensive network of double-taxation treaties, make it an ideal base for non-EU companies seeking to enter the EU market, and for EU and third-country companies seeking to broaden their horizons, especially with regard to expansion into Central and Eastern Europe.
In view of the above banking and finance transactions frequently involve complex consortia of companies obtaining finance not only from local banks but through major EU, American and Middle Eastern Banks. Transactions are frequently syndicated and are generally led by major UK and EU law firms. Cyprus law firms tend to be involved with these deals as local counsel advising on the Cyprus aspects of the transaction and cross-border regulatory issues. Of particular concern in most cases is the need to ensure the perfection of Cyprus security for these transactions and the registration of charges. It is common to take security in the form of a pledge over the shares of the Cyprus company as, in general this is easy and cost effective to contractually enforce. A pledge over a Cyprus company’s shares allows enforcement, without the need to apply for a court order. However, if the Cyprus company does hold assets of value in Cyprus then other forms of security including fixed and floating charges and assignments of receivables may also be put into place. Typical services required from local law firms will include:
- Preparation of loan documentation for single-lender and syndicated loans.
- Preparation of security documentation including charges over assets and undertakings of companies, debentures, pledges of share certificates and security assignments of rights.
- Restructuring of existing loans and collateral.
- Refinancing of existing debts.
- Project finance and asset finance.
- Financing of international trade, including letters of credit, negotiable instruments and related matters.
- Construction and project financing; finance leasing.
- Preparation of indemnities and guarantees.
- Preparation of documentation for aviation finance and leasing.
- Compliance with perfection requirements and registration of charges.
- Legal opinions and legal due diligence on proposed transactions.
New entrants to Cyprus, and in particular those from non-EU member states, will also often require advice and support to achieve compliance with the legislation applicable to banks and other financial institutions, including:
- The Cyprus Banking Law, the Payment Services Law, the E-money Institutions Law, the Transfer of Banking Loans Law and the Financial Leasing Law.
- The directives, regulations and guidelines issued by the Central Bank of Cyprus.
- The EU legislative framework on regulatory capital.
- The Banking Recovery and Resolution Directive, as implemented in Cyprus.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the country’s tourist sector was substantial. However, Cyprus has a resilient economy and its persistent underlying budget surpluses pre-pandemic, which peaked at 3% of GDP in 2019, and robust GDP growth averaging 4.4% in 2015-2019 increased its capacity to absorb the pandemic shock. Following an estimated 5.7% GDP contraction in 2020 a return to growth of between 3.2 and 3.7% GDP is predicted for 2021. An important factor in the recovery is a government led drive to bring forward several significant infrastructure projects which will require project financing, such as the development of Larnaca Port and Marina and the development of an LNG processing facility. Development finance will also be required elsewhere. Cyprus is also striving to become a regional energy hub and there are numerous projects on the horizon linked to solar energy and the exploitation of the island’s natural gas fields. Despite the termination of the Cyprus Investment Programme, many residential and luxury housing projects continue to move ahead. Cyprus Banks in total still have a very high level of NPLs (approximately 30%) and it is crucial that they continue to focus on tackling this and cleaning up their balance sheets. Numerous issues relating to this will require the input of legal specialists. Progress to date has involved loan restructurings, sale of loans, debt to assets swaps and foreclosure. International players have also bought distressed asset portfolios from local banks. At a higher level the ECB continues to push for greater consolidation in the EU banking sector raising the possibility of acquisitions and mergers which could involve Cyprus based concerns.
Tax in Cyprus
The Cyprus tax regime is one of the most attractive in Europe for individuals, investors and businesses. It offers one of the lowest corporate tax rates (12.5%) and the country can boast of a network of more than 60 double taxation agreements. Cyprus provides an ideal environment for group holding and finance companies, offering tax free flow of dividends through Cyprus and beneficial exit opportunities. There is a full participation exemption and no tax on capital gains apart from gains derived from real estate in Cyprus. The network of double tax agreements provides excellent planning opportunities and unilateral relief is available for taxes paid overseas if no double tax agreement applies. The EC Merger Directive has been fully adopted and therefore mergers and reconstructions can be carried out with full exemption from any form of taxation in Cyprus.
A member of the EU since 2014, Cyprus bases its tax policy on offering an internationally competitive tax environment that is fully compliant with international best practice and the highest standards of transparency and fairness. The EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directives ATAD I and ATAD II entered into force in June 2020 and apply retroactively as from 1 January 2020 (except for the reverse hybrids which will be in effect from 1 January 2022). Cyprus was also one of the initial 68 signatories to the Multilateral Convention on Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (‘BEPS’). New and updated double tax agreements are aligned with the latest OECD standards and, on 21 February 2021, in line with the 5th Anti money Laundering Directive, the process of collecting information for a UBO register and a Trust register was begun.
The tax year runs from 1 January through to 31 December and the Tax Department is the key regulatory authority overseeing both direct and indirect taxation. Its decisions can be challenged by submitting an appeal to the Tax Tribunal, which is an independent body, or to the Administrative Court. The Tax Tribunal is required to reach a conclusion within a year of receiving an application, however there are no set time limits for the Courts to adhere to. A decision of the Administrative Court and the Tax Tribunal may be the subject of an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Since 2014 the Department has undergone significant and much needed modernisation of its infrastructure and procedures. It is now mandatory for most filings and payments to be made online. Advance tax rulings are available, and taxpayers may, on payment of the prescribed fee (currently at €2,000) request an expedited ruling, guaranteeing a response within 21 working days provided all the necessary information is supplied.
An individual will qualify as tax resident of Cyprus if they fall into one of the following categories:
- They are physically present in Cyprus for more than 183 days in the tax year.
- For tax years 2017 onwards, during a tax year they maintain a permanent establishment (“PE”) in Cyprus, undertake business or employment in Cyprus which continues until the end of the tax year, and are present in Cyprus for at least 60 days. In this instance, the individual must not be a tax resident of any other country and should not be physically present in any other country for more than 183 days of the tax year in question.
For companies, residence is based on the locus of effective management and control. Mere registration in Cyprus is not sufficient to establish residence: the key decisions which are necessary for the conduct of the business of the company must be made in Cyprus. The Tax Department’s application form for the issuance of a Tax Residency Certificate, gives an indication of what are the criteria that the Tax Department considers, including the location where the directors’ and shareholders’ meetings are held, where the directors are residents, and where minutes and statutory and other records are kept.
Additionally, the government intends to enact a law in 2021 whereby a Cyprus incorporated company will, by default, be deemed tax resident in Cyprus.
Both resident individuals and resident companies are subject to tax based on their worldwide taxable income. A non- Cyprus tax resident company is taxed on income accrued or derived from a business activity which is carried out through a permanent establishment in Cyprus and on certain income arising from sources in Cyprus. Foreign taxes paid can be credited against the Cyprus corporation tax liability.
Personal Income Tax
Tax is levied on an individual basis with no distinction made for married couples. In general dividends and interest received are not subject to income tax, and there are various deductions available which can be used to reduce a person’s taxable income. The first 19,500 of taxable income received is tax free, thereafter it is taxed as below.
|Taxable income in year €||Tax rate %||Accumulated tax €|
|19,501 – 28,000||20||1,700|
|28,001 – 36,300||25||3,775|
|36,301 – 60,000||30||10,885|
Widow or widower pensions originating from Cyprus are subject to a flat rate 20% tax on amounts above €19,500. Pensions from overseas are subject to a flat rate 5% tax on amounts above €3,420. In both cases the recipient can elect to be taxed under the general rates shown above.
Incentives for foreign workers
A person not previously tax resident in Cyprus and whose income from employment in Cyprus exceeds €100,000 may gain exemption from income tax for 50% of the first ten years’ income from employment in Cyprus. The exemption is not available to anyone who was resident in Cyprus in any three of the five tax years preceding the year in which the employment in Cyprus began, or to anyone who was resident in Cyprus in the year preceding the year in which the employment began. The exemption is available in respect of any tax year in which income from employment exceeds €100,000, irrespective of whether the income falls below that amount in any year, provided that when the employment started the income exceeded €100,000 and the tax authorities are satisfied that the variations in the annual income are not made for the purpose of obtaining this tax benefit.
Lower paid individuals
Individuals becoming tax-resident and taking up employment in Cyprus are entitled to an annual exemption equal to the lesser of €8,500 or 20% of their income from employment in Cyprus. The exemption commences 1 January following the year of employment, whichever is less, for up to the first five years of residence. The exemption is available for a period of 5 years with the last eligible tax year being 2030.
It is not possible to claim both benefits in one year.
Corporate Income Tax
Tax resident companies, except for shipping companies, are subject to corporate income tax at 12.5% on worldwide taxable income. Group relief is available, and losses may be carried forward for up to five years for offset against future profits.
The following types of income are fully exempt from corporate income tax:
- Profit from the sale of securities;
- Passive interest earned;
- Income of any approved pension or provident fund;
- Profits from a permanent establishment situated entirely outside Cyprus, unless the permanent establishment directly or indirectly engages more than 50% in activities, which lead to investment income and the foreign tax burden is substantially lower than the tax burden in Cyprus;
- Income of any company formed exclusively for the purpose of promoting art, science or sport, and of certain educational and charitable companies; and
- Profits earned or dividends paid by a Cyprus shipping company, which owns ships under the Cyprus flag and operates in international waters, for which the tonnage tax scheme is mandatory.
IP Box Regime
Significant tax exemptions can also be obtained by utilizing the Cyprus ‘Intellectual property box’ (IP Box) regime. The Cyprus IP Box basically provides a tax exemption of up to 80% for expenditure concerning research and development from qualifying intangible assets. Qualifying intangible assets include, amongst other, ‘software programs’ and ‘patents’. The Cyprus IP Box regime is applicable to qualifying persons and includes Cyprus tax resident taxpayers, tax resident permanent establishments of non-tax resident persons as well as foreign permanent establishments that are subject to tax in Cyprus. The Research and Development need not be carried out within Cyprus but can even be outsourced so long as the Research and Development is attached to a Cyprus company that is a tax resident in Cyprus. If a Cyprus IP company is incorporated, a tax exemption can be claimed under the Cyprus IP Box regime, assuming the sum of total research and development costs (‘qualified expenditure’) incurred in any tax year, are wholly and exclusively for the development, improvement or creation of qualifying intangible assets and which costs are directly related to the qualifying intangible assets. The level of tax exemption that is finally granted is subject to the discretion of the Tax Commissioner.
The Merchant Shipping (Fees and Taxing Provisions) Law of 2010 ( the Tonnage Tax Law).
Cyprus operates the only EU approved shipping ‘tonnage tax’ scheme. This approval has recently been extended to 2029. Under the scheme, subject to qualification, shipowners, ship managers and charters in qualifying shipping activities have the option to be taxed based on the tonnage of the vessel rather than on income or profit. This offers the owner the advantage of certainty.
Taxes other than income tax
Outside of income tax other taxes for individuals and businesses to be aware of are listed below. Cyprus does not levy inheritance tax or immoveable property tax.
Value added tax (VAT)
Currently individuals and businesses must register for VAT if their turnover per annum reaches 15,600. Businesses trading in goods with other EU Member States with value more than €130,000 for exports and €55,000 for imports during any calendar year are also obliged to register for VAT and Intrastat. Cyprus’s standard rate of 19% is among the lowest in the EU and reduced rates of 5% and 9% apply to certain goods and services. Companies that do not have trading activities within the EU need not register for VAT but of course they will be unable to recover input tax. Companies receiving taxable services from out of Cyprus are obliged to register for VAT when such services exceed the registration threshold.
Special Defence Contribution (SDC)
SDC is payable on the following categories of income at the following rate:
- Rents received – 3% of 75% of the gross income.
- Dividends received – 17%
- Interest received other than in the course of business – 30%
Individuals who are both resident and domiciled in Cyprus and, Cyprus resident companies are obliged to pay SDC.
- Relief or credit exists for any tax already paid abroad on such income.
- Dividends received by one resident company from another resident company are exempt.
- Dividends received by a corporate or individual shareholder from a resident company are exempt.
- Companies that do not distribute at least 70% of accounting profits after tax within two years of the end of the relevant year will be deemed to have made such a distribution. They will be required to pay 17% SDC on the notional dividend where the ultimate shareholders are domiciled and resident in Cyprus. Offset is available against any actual distributions that may have been made.
Capital Gains Tax (CGT)
CGT is only imposed on gains made from;
- The sale of immoveable property in Cyprus, and
- The sale of shares of unlisted companies directly or indirectly owning immoveable property in Cyprus.
Gains are taxed at 20%. An exemption exists for the sale of property originally purchased on an ‘arm’s length’ basis between 16 July 2015 and 31 December 2016.
Stamp duty is payable on contracts relating to property or business in Cyprus. Transactions with a consideration up to €5,000 are exempt as are several categories of document , including documents relating to corporate reorganisations (which are exempt from all forms of taxation) and ship mortgage deeds or other security documents. Where no amount of consideration is specified in the contract, the stamp duty is €34. Where a transaction is evidenced by several documents, stamp duty is payable on the main contract and ancillary documents are charged at a flat rate of €2.
The general rate applied is as follows:
- Transactions with a consideration more than €5,000 but not exceeding €170,000 – €1.50 for every €1,000 or part thereof,
- Transactions with a consideration more than €170,000 – €2.00 for every €1,000 or part thereof is payable.
The maximum stamp duty payable on a contract is capped at €20,000.
Both employer and employee are required to make a Social Insurance contribution equal to 8.3% of the employee’s gross earnings up to an earning ceiling of €57,408 per annum (reviewed annually). The employer is also required to make a 3.7% contribution to other Social Insurance funds.
Self-employed individuals contribute of 14.6% on income which falls between upper and lower limits that are specific to the nature of the trade undertaken.
General Healthcare System (GHS)
Companies and individuals are required to contribute to the GHS on a variety of income sources as follows:
|Employees, Pensioners, Government Officials,||2.65% of gross earned income or pension|
|Employers||2.9% of all salaries paid by them|
|Self-employed||4% of gross remuneration|
|Recipients of rent, interest or dividends||2.65% of gross income|
For every natural person, the total maximum annual amount on which contributions will be paid is € 180,000. If the natural person is not a tax resident of Cyprus, he/she will pay contributions only for the income, earnings and pensions that derive from the Republic of Cyprus, excluding dividends and interest. Employer’s contributions are tax deductible. Employee contributions are deductible within a limit equal to 1/6 of their total income.
Filing and payment requirements
Corporate Income Tax
Each company, including those within a group, must submit an individual tax return. The return is filed electronically and must be submitted within 15 months of the year end the return relates to. Hence a return for the year ended 31 December 2019 must be submitted by 31 March 2021. Companies are required to pay provisional tax for a year in two equal instalments on 31 July and 31 December of that year. Any underpayment must be corrected by 1 August in the following year via self-assessment. If the estimated income declared proves to be less than 75% of the actual final income a fine is levied. Currently this is set at 10% of the difference between the actual and the estimated amounts of tax payable.
Personal Income Tax
Employees have tax deducted through the PAYE system.
Individuals submit a provisional tax return by 31 July each year. They are required to pay provisional tax in two equal instalments on 31 July and 31 December in that year. The provisional income estimate may be revised prior to 31 December. A final return is submitted electronically by 31 July the following year.
This differs for a person required to submit audited financial statements. A physical person is obliged to submit audited financial statements if his/her annual income from trade/business, rents, dividends interest, royalties or income relating to trading goodwill exceeds €70.000. Such physical person should pay income tax for a specific year by 1 August in the following year and submit a final tax return within 15 months of the year end that the return relates to.
SDC unless withheld at source is payable in two instalments on 30 June and 31 December in the year that the income is received.
GHS not withheld at source is payable on dividends, rental income and interest received 30 June and 31 December in the year received.
VAT returns are prepared quarterly and must be submitted online by the 10th day of the second month following the end of the quarter. Ordinarily any payment due must also be made by this deadline. However, exceptional temporary payment deferrals have been permitted because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Corporate and Commercial in Cyprus
The corporate and commercial landscape in Cyprus has witnessed some dramatic changes since the country gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1960. The economy at that time was dominated by agriculture and tourism and consequently, corporate and commercial activity on the island was both limited in scope and generally domestic in nature. Faced with developing the economy of a country with limited industrial and commercial activity and little by way of natural resource successive governments were required to be innovative and generate plans focusing on the attributes that Cyprus does have, namely:
- A geographic location which is at the intersection of three continents;
- A well-educated population with many people fluent in English as well as Greek;
- A legal system based on common law, and since the late 1970s,
- A stable political system.
The first stage in this process was to try to diversify the economy by promoting Cyprus as a shipping and trading centre. Early corporate and commercial work therefore focused mainly on basic contract work and routine company secretarial style activity. Since then, however, some seismic changes have occurred.
Three stage development
There are three significant development stages that have resulted in Cyprus evolving into the international business and financial centre that it is today:
- The dissolution of the USSR in the late 1990s. Citizens of Cyprus and the USSR shared many cultural ties including religion. This resulted in Cyprus becoming a natural conduit for investment funds from the developed west flooding into the former USSR and Eastern Europe. Similarly, ‘new’ money from the former communist states also flowed into Cyprus. This significantly expanded the demand for professional law and accounting firms and the range of services that they were expected to provide.
- Becoming a member state of the European Union (EU) in 2004 and of the Eurozone in 2008. In preparation for joining the EU Cyprus was required to make significant structural and economic reforms which helped to modernise the economy and shifted its image from one of being a ‘tax haven’ to one of a legitimate low tax economy compliant with EU laws. Fiscal and regulatory regimes are now fully aligned with EU norms. The result of this has been that Cyprus has become a portal for cross-border investment from eastern European, Middle-Eastern, Asian and African nations all seeking a gateway into the EU and vice versa. This high level of cross-border activity necessitated a corresponding boom in professional services dealing with start-ups, holding company, investment, contract, and merger and acquisition activity.
- Economic bail out by the EU in 2013. The economic crisis of 2009-13 exposed the weakness of many financial institutions which were vastly overexposed to the Greek market and the property sector. Assistance from the EU was conditional on Cyprus instituting significant regulatory and structural reform. This included rationalisation of the banking sector via insolvency, merger and acquisition and, a privatisation requirement for many key industry sectors including telecommunication and marine ports. Privatisation was a new concept for Cyprus and opened new avenues of work for the corporate and commercial professionals in structuring bid vehicles and, the bids themselves.
Moving in tandem with all of the above, and a key factor in Cyprus’ growth as an international business centre has been the conscious growth of a simple, modern, transparent tax system. Cyprus has supplemented its natural advantages by developing itself as a low tax jurisdiction offering predictability in planning for domestic and foreign firms and individuals and a comfort blanket of more than 60 double taxation treaties.
In the years following the ‘bail-out’ Cyprus worked hard to restore its reputation as a country with an advanced and stable economy. GDP growth outperformed EU averages and this resulted in Cyprus being better placed than most to weather the Covid-19 storm. Prior to the onset of the pandemic there was a noticeable upsurge in mergers, acquisitions and joint venture activity. Some of this is directly attributable to conditions imposed by the EU in return for support finance but the majority is an indirect product of the various reforms and legislative amendments introduced in recent years creating a coherent statutory framework which embraces EU and international standards. The intervention of the EU in the banking sector significantly increased the level of domestic M&A activity. However, the market for domestic transactions involving a Cyprus entity remains much larger in both value and volume. In most deals the role of Cypriot law firm is to advise on the Cyprus law aspects of the deal as part of a consortia of firms operating under the direction of a main advisor to the client. In 2019 most deal activity took place in the banking, energy, technology and tourism sectors and the provision of professional services was estimated to have contributed 8.2% to Cyprus’ Gross Value Added. During the period 2010-2019 foreign direct investment averaged €24 billion per annum.
Alongside traditional M&A activity, in recent years the corporate and commercial sector has benefitted from the Cyprus government strategy of positioning Cyprus as an ideal location for regional and international headquarters. During the past decade, several household names including NCR, Kardex, Amdocs, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement and Wargaming have all opted to headquarter on the island and utilise the experience of local professionals. The government is particularly keen to attract high technology firms and has introduced a particularly favourable IP Box scheme to facilitate this. The island has also become a hub for private wealth and advising high net worth individuals on investment, acquisitions and disposals accounts for a significant proportion of many firms’ activities.
Activity levels have also grown in both the hydrocarbon and the renewable energy sectors as Cyprus seeks to establish itself as a regional energy hub. The discovery of natural gas and potential oil deposits in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone has attracted industry giants such as Total, Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil to explore the area. Multiple auxiliary service companies have been established on the island to support them. The European Union drive to increase the use of renewable energy also presents numerous opportunities for Cyprus based companies to exploit the island’s 365 day a year sunshine.
The Covid-19 pandemic has clearly impacted the M&A and general corporate and commercial marketplace in Cyprus as it has everywhere else in the world. Early in 2020, for example, AstroBank reached an acquisition agreement to purchase the banking business of Arab Jordan Investment Bank in Cyprus. The deal was terminated in August 2020 due to challenges arising out of the pandemic. Both banks continue to operate in the market, but it remains to be seen whether the acquisition is ‘on hold’ or off the table completely. The same is true of deals in other sectors.
Moving forward however, levels of activity are expected to pick up as the roll out of vaccines continues and some ‘normality’ is returned to the world economy. Specific areas of activity in Cyprus are likely to include:
- The banking sector. The ECB is keen to see further consolidation across Europe and there remains scope for more activity in Cyprus.
- General M&A activity across all sectors but particularly in tourism and retail. Businesses hit hard by the implications of ‘lockdowns’, quarantines, and mandatory capacity reductions risk insolvency which should lead to disposal of non-core activities and M&A activity in a bid for ‘survival’.
- Large scale development projects. A key element in the government’s plans to restore Cyprus to economic health post pandemic is the acceleration of several significant infrastructure projects currently ‘in the pipeline’. These include the construction the Cyprus’ LNG import facility, the nation’s largest and most expensive energy project, which has been awarded to a consortia led by the state-owned China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering. In addition, the redevelopment of the Larnaca Port and Marina area has been announced, with the preferred consortia having been green lighted to put in place relevant licenses and permissions in 2021.
- Further activity in the energy sector as the electricity market becomes fully liberalised.
- Headquartering of more, mainly high-tech firms, in Cyprus including start-ups.
- General ‘knock on’ work from the consolidation and survival activities of businesses across the EU and the world.
- Brexit. Some UK and other non-EU companies previously based in the UK seeking to remain active in Europe have chosen to establish a base in Cyprus due to historic ties, familiarity with the common law legal system and, the widespread use of English as a business language. In 2019 a significant move occurred when P& chose to register its English Channel fleet under the Cyprus flag. Many other UK firms followed suit.
All in all the Corporate and Commercial landscape in Cyprus remains positive and looks set for significant growth as the world economy begins its emergence from the Covid disruptions.
Elias Neocleous, Managing PartnerElias Neocleous, Managing Partner of Elias Neocleous & Co LLC, reflects on life in a modern law firm and the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic.
What do you see as the main points that differentiate Elias Neocleous & Co LLC from your competitors?
As I have said in previous years, our differentiating feature is our commitment to quality in depth across every aspect of the firm’s operations. In my view, achieving and maintaining quality is a dynamic rather than a static process. Thus, as a firm, we are always seeking to improve ourselves, our systems, our infrastructure and, above all, our service to our clients.
We have always recognised the importance of technology and digitialisation in the modern world and we employ a highly qualified Chief Information Officer to ensure that we use both effectively and safely. To my knowledge we are unique in holding certification ISO/IEC 27001 Information Security Management Systems, something that has provided our clients with valuable data security against the modern world’s many cyber threats. We are also the sole law firm in Cyprus to hold ISO 9001:2015 for quality management systems in an organisation. In addition to this, we are the only firm of any description, to have received Cyprus’ Gold HR award in consecutive years for ‘Excellence in Performance Management Strategy’. Our biggest assets are our staff and our clients and we are committed to investing in both.
All of this places us at least one step firmly ahead of our competitors. It is a strategy which has paid enormous dividends during the Covid Pandemic. None of our clients has experienced any disruption in our service to them even when nearly all staff were working remotely. Indeed, our staff worked hard to produce innovative solutions to allow deals to be closed and disputes resolved despite widescale closure of courts and governmental offices. Our competitors were unable to match this performance and we gained new clients as a result. When staff were permitted to return to the office they were secure in the knowledge that systems were in place to ensure their safety and, that they could seek and receive support when needed.
Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?
Much, of course, depends upon the successful suppression of Covid-19 but on the assumption that the various vaccine roll outs are effective I think the following are the areas where our firm will be most active:
Corporate and Commercial. Cyprus is an ideal headquartering destination for many firms and some significant international firms are now recognising this and choosing to relocate. For firms which were previously using the UK as an entry to Europe Cyprus offers a viable alternative with a familiar common law system, low costs, good geographic location and an educated workforce. There are also specific schemes in place to attract start ups and existing companies in the film and technology industries.
Insolvency and M&A. It is inevitable that the economic consequences of the pandemic will see some businesses struggle to survive. This is likely to result in insolvencies, survival mergers and, opportunistic acquisitions.
Shipping and maritime. The EU’s ten year renewal of Cyprus’ tonnage tax scheme was a definite boost to this sector. The size of the Cyprus registered fleet continues to grow and with it a strong support services sector. The work undertaken by the previous Deputy Minister has put this sector of the economy on a very firm footing.
Construction and real estate. The government’s stated aim of accelerating significant infrastructure development projects, such as Larnaca Marina and Port, in order to help rebuild the post pandemic economy should mean that this sector becomes quite vibrant.
Hydro-carbon and renewable energy. Projects in both still offer a variety of investment opportunities – particularly if one takes into account the EU’s ‘Green Deal’ agenda.
Finance and regulation. Cyprus has developed a highly skilled financial services professional sector based in a relatively low- cost economy which already makes it attractive to many finance companies. It should also now seek to promote its introduction of RAIFs which are a time efficient and affordable way for establishing AIFs in Cyprus.
Cybersecurity and Data Privacy. The rapid move to online working provoked by the pandemic has also served to raise awareness of the need to protect commercial and personal data from accidental loss and from malicious attack.
Tax planning. Activity in all the above sectors at some stage inevitably involves tax planning and tax structuring both at corporate and individual level.
What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?
There are several that spring to mind. At a basic level our investment in our Brussels office means that our clients can rely on us to communicate directly with the various EU governmental organisations and EU courts on their behalf rather than via an intermediary. This greatly enhances efficiency for and cost-effectiveness for all parties.
Our established Cybersecurity and Data Privacy team has been an invaluable resource for clients suddenly grappling with the realities of remote working and selling online.
We are also constantly seeking to leverage technology to help improve the quality, accuracy and cost of providing advice and value added to clients. During 2019 we established an innovation and technology development team. The team was tasked with developing ‘NEOLAW.AI’, a technological tool designed to provide ‘value added’ services to clients and thereby propel the delivery of legal services in Cyprus well into the 21st century. The launch of the ’NEOLAW.AI’ Alternative Services Legal Provider offering is scheduled to take place in the coming months.
Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?
Undoubtedly, and the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic and associated ‘lockdowns’ have certainly accelerated the process. Clients and staff have increased for example, their use of services such as Microsoft Teams and electronic signatures. This saves valuable time on travelling etc. for both parties. Whilst I envisage that clients and staff will always sometimes want to meet in person, for many issues technology provides an efficient and cost effective alternative. As stated above, the launch of NEOLAW.AI is imminent and this will provide an alternative method for dealing with basic queries and needs that our clients may have.
Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?
We always aim to direct our knowledge and experience in support of our clients’ business strategies. One of our retained clients was recently considering a merger with a competitor which owned several Cyprus based subsidiaries. We were able to advise on all due diligence aspects of the Cyprus elements including those relating to employment, regulatory and taxation matters.
Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?
Our clients are certainly looking for these things. They come to a large departmentalised international firm such as our own because they want to be confident that, even when they are faced with a situation that is ‘new’ for them, their lawyer will have the experience and expertise to guide them. They want a legal firm which can see the ‘big picture’. They also want staff continuity which is something that our lawyer training programme and ongoing staff development strategy supports. Some of our current partners began their career with us as trainees. In three years time our aim is to have enlarged our client list whilst continuing to provide them with the high quality service they rightly expect from us.
Press Releases23rd April 2021 Having completed the review of the firm’s financial performance for 2020 the management of Elias Neocleous & Co LLC would like to thank all partners and staff for the hard work and dedication that they have shown throughout what has been a very difficult year.
15th March 2021 Elias Neocleous & Co LLC is pleased to have assisted Lupp + Partner PartG mbB in advising Norwegian based Mintra Holding AS on its strategic expansion and strengthening of its training capabilities through the cross-border acquisition of German based maritime digital learning and crew competence management specialists Safebridge GmbH and its Cyprus subsidiary Safebridge Limited.
25th August 2020 ELIAS NEOCLEOUS & CO LLC ADVISES GREENMONT AIFLNP LTD ON ITS INVESTMENT IN NACE ENERGIA IN SPAINDuring Q2 of 2020, our Financial Services and Regulation, Corporate and Commercial as well as Energy teams assisted our valued client, Greenmont AIFLNP Ltd (“Greenmont”), a Cyprus-authorized alternative investment fund on the Cyprus law aspects of its private equity investment in Nace Energía (“NACE”).
9th June 2020 As Cyprus moves forward with its plans to build a Liquefied Natural Gas terminal on the Island, Elias Neocleous & Co LLC is proud to have advised and assisted Abamba Limited, a consortium of global engineering firms EPCM Consultants SA (Pty) Ltd, Global Maritime Consultancy Limited and iX Engineers (Pty) Ltd, with the submission of their tender application to the Natural Gas Infrastructure Company (ETYFA) for the Engineer Supervision Contract for the project to develop the infrastructure to import Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) into the Republic of Cyprus.
20th February 2020 Elias Neocleous & Co LLC is proud to have advised CPI Property Group (“CPI”) on the Cypriot aspects of its recent acquisition of shares in Globalworth Real Estate Investments Limited (“GREIL”). CPI is a company listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange with a property portfolio of circa EUR 8 billion. The shares it successfully acquired had previously belonged to Mr. Ioannis Papalekas who held them via a Cyprus SPV. Mr. Papalekas is the founder of GREIL and was responsible for growing it into a successful business. GREIL is currently listed on the AIM of the London Stock Exchange with a market capitalization in excess of EURO 2 billion. Whilst, as a result of this transactions Mr Papelakis is now no longer a shareholder in GREIL, he remains as CEO and will continue to be actively involved in the business.
Legal Developments22nd March 2019
Elias Neocleous & Co’s Financial Services team assisted the Zarenkov family on Cyprus corporate and financial services law matters in their February 2019 disposal of a 25% shareholding interest in Etalon Group Plc to Sistema PJFC, a publicly-traded diversified holding company. Etalon Group Plc, one of Russia’s largest and longest established development and construction companies, is a Cyprus public company having Global Depositary Receipts (GDRs) traded on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange since 2011. The relevant public announcements on this transaction are available in the website of the London Stock Exchange and of Etalon Group Plc.
25th April 2018
New Cyprus law on data system security
The Security of Networks and Information Systems Law, Number 17(I) of 2018, implements articles 8 and 9 of EU Directive 2016/1148 on measures to achieve a high common level of security of network and information systems throughout the EU. It designates the Commissioner for Electronic Communications and Postal Regulation (Commissioner), appointed under article 5 of the Regulation of Electronic Communications and Postal Services Law 112(I) of 2004, as the national competent authority for the purposes of article 8 of the directive, with responsibility for coordinating the implementation of the cyber-security strategy and monitoring the application of the directive at national level.
25th April 2018
In 2011, in response to public concerns over large multinational companies exploiting differences in national tax rules, the European Commission published a proposal for a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) to unify tax rules throughout the EU. Individual countries would still be free to set their own tax rates, but anomalies between countries in terms of deductibility of expenses and recognition of income would be eliminated. The initial proposal met with considerable political resistance, particularly from the United Kingdom, and was not pursued. In October 2016, perhaps in anticipation of less resistance once Brexit was completed, the Commission issued a revised proposal to replace the earlier one. It aims to introduce a set of common rules for determining the tax base of companies with operations in several EU Member States and tax them in the country where their revenues are generated, and remove the anomaly of large companies paying what the public perceives as disproportionately low amounts of tax in countries where they have significant activities.