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Dentons opens offices in the British Virgin Islands and Saint Lucia

Dentons has opened offices in the British Virgin Islands and Saint Lucia as part of its expansion plans in the Caribbean. Dentons is the only Pan-Caribbean law firm, and with more offices in all of Latin America and the Caribbean than any other law firm, Dentons is the first truly Pan-Latin American and the Caribbean law firm in the history of the legal profession.

The British Virgin Islands is widely recognised as a leading international financial centre principally due to its internationally recognised regulatory regime, a well-developed and professional corporate infrastructure, efficient company formation and administration processes, political and economic stability, an internationally renowned and respected commercial court and tax-neutrality. The British Virgin Islands is a world leader for excellence and innovation in financial services and plays an essential role in the global economy. The BVI Business Company is widely used globally as the core of many private wealth, investment and joint venture structures.

“Dentons’ new offices in the British Virgin Islands and Saint Lucia enable us to meet client needs in two additional priority Caribbean markets for our clients,” said Elliott Portnoy, Global CEO of Dentons. “We can now connect our clients to our leading talent in the British Virgin Islands and Saint Lucia as well as to our 19,000+ people in 184 locations across 76 countries around the globe.”

“Dentons continues to execute its strategy to scale the firm across the Latin America and the Caribbean region despite the unprecedented challenges created by COVID-19,” said Joe Andrew, Global Chairman of Dentons. “With offices in 25 countries, Dentons is now present in virtually all of Latin America and the Caribbean – a true differentiator for our clients.”

“Since entering the region in 2016, Dentons has combined with elite firms across Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Jorge Alers, the Latin America and the Caribbean Region CEO of Dentons. “Our new offices in the British Virgin Islands and Saint Lucia complement our strategy to enhance our offshore practices across the Caribbean , as well as in other offshore financial and corporate centers, such as Panama, Uruguay, Mauritius, Ireland, Luxembourg, Hong Kong and Singapore.”

Dentons’ new office in the British Virgin Islands is led by partner Stuart Bruce who has extensive experience handling complex, high-value cross-border matters across Banking and Finance, M&A, Private Equity and Joint Ventures, Corporate and Regulatory advice. In Saint Lucia, Dentons has expertise in Banking and Finance, Corporate, Construction, Employment and Labour, Financial Institutions, Government, Hotels and Leisure, Insurance, Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Public Law and Real Estate.

So far in 2020, Dentons has launched six combinations: Dentons Bingham Greenebaum and Dentons Cohen & Grigsby, the first step in forming a truly national law firm in the United States as part of Dentons’ “Project Golden Spike,” Dentons Kensington Swan in New Zealand, Dentons Lee in South Korea, Dentons Jiménez de Aréchaga in Uruguay and Dentons Rattagan Macchiavello Arocena in Argentina.

Eversheds Sutherland publishes The State of Cannabis Law

Eversheds Sutherland is pleased to announce the publication of its comprehensive cannabis book, The State of Cannabis Law. Authored and researched by the firm’s Cannabis Industry team and published by Wolters Kluwer, The State of Cannabis Law is a first-of-its-kind book that provides an overview of all 50 states’ marijuana and hemp laws and includes information about key ancillary issues such as intellectual property, real estate and tax implications. The book is now available for purchase at the Wolters Kluwer online bookstore.

“Our Cannabis Industry team was formed to bring cross disciplinary insights to businesses operating in this rapidly growing industry, where state, federal and international regulations are still being developed,” said Mark D. Wasserman, Co-CEO of Eversheds Sutherland. “After working with many clients in the space, our team identified a need for comprehensive guidance on state-by-state laws which will hopefully be helpful to businesses working within and across state lines.”

As developments in the cannabis industry continue to move at rapid speed, current command of a state’s specific regulation, as well as its pending legislation and overall evolution with respect to cannabis, is vital for businesses to meaningfully work in the cannabis space, whether by serving clients, starting a business or as an ancillary service provider or other role. However, material available to make prudent decisions is often piecemeal and inconsistent in identifying various issues relevant in individual states. With this innovative book, the Eversheds Sutherland Cannabis Industry team has created a desk reference that provides industry participants with a streamlined and accessible starting point to understand the cannabis landscape in any given state.

“In the last decade, cannabis has emerged as a powerful tool for health, agricultural, and sociocultural and economic change,” said Anna C. Halsey, special counsel in the Eversheds Sutherland Intellectual Property practice group who co-authored and spearheaded the project. “Currently, more than two-thirds of the states and Washington DC have legalised marijuana for medical use while 11 states and Washington DC have legalised marijuana for adult or recreational use. Still more states have various nuances associated with their cannabis regulatory regimes. Due to these important variations, we have created this book and captured them in a single resource.”

Many significant legal and economic potentialities loom on the horizon that will continue to change the cannabis industry and legal landscape. As those changes happen, this book will evolve as well with upcoming editions.

About the Cannabis Industry Team

The Eversheds Sutherland Cannabis Industry Team is an assembly of experienced attorneys from across our practice groups and offices who serve the expanding and diverse needs of the cannabis industry. We combine deep industry knowledge, a network of relationships and subject matter experience to provide clients with the advice needed to successfully launch, grow, manage and work with cannabis companies. We scan for and study with depth the rising cannabis business questions and challenges—from communications and branding to transportation and banking—and proactively work with clients to develop strategic plans that leverage opportunities and address relevant issues. Our Cannabis Industry Team brings the legal and regulatory frameworks necessary to most any business decision made in the industry.

Anvisa publishes guidelines for embarkation of crew

In order to set forth best practice on crew change in face of the pandemic, the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) published guidelines and necessary procedures for embarkation and disembarkation of crew members of vessels and platforms in Brazil.

The text compiles guidelines on screening crew members on a work schedule and preventive measures for embarkation and disembarkation of symptomatic and asymptomatic crew members. The following guideline has been published by Anvisa.

Care of the crew on vessels and platforms

One of the essential measures is the screening of the crew, before the start of the work schedule, to identify possible cases of individuals with symptoms of COVID-19, in order to prevent the spread of the disease.

The guideline states that crew members must therefore comply with a 14-day quarantine at home or in a hotel before embarking on vessel/platform. In those 14 days they will have their health monitored and, if they show respiratory symptoms or fever, they should be prevented from boarding.

The document also lists measures for the disembarkation of symptomatic and asymptomatic crew members, as well as the use of rapid tests, in addition to presenting tables with guidelines in the form of summary topics on home quarantine, quarantine in hotels, guidelines for mandatory isolation and hygiene procedures for the means of transport of those suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19.

As already informed in our previous updates the disembarkation of foreing crewmembers in Brazil remains prohibited until the end of May, except in cases of direct repatriation or for medical assistance.

See the full text of the guideline here.

Duane Morris Joins Massachusetts COVID Relief Coalition

Duane Morris LLP has joined the COVID Relief Coalition for Small Businesses and Non-profits, a Massachusetts coalition of law firms, non-profits and government agencies providing pro bono legal support, access to emergency loans and other sources of relief to small businesses and non-profits impacted the COVID-19 pandemic.

Massachusetts small businesses and non-profits can visit covidreliefcoalition.com for access to free legal support on pandemic-related issues including real estate, tax and contractual matters. They can also apply for emergency loans and other sources of relief.

Coalition members include the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, City of Boston, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Boston Bar Association, The Boston Foundation, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, Lawyers for Civil Rights and Lawyers Clearinghouse. Additional law firm partners include Brown Rudnick, Dechert, Fish & Richardson, Foley Hoag, Foley & Lardner, Goodwin, Goulston & Storrs, Kirkland & Ellis, Mintz, Morgan Lewis, Nelson Mullins, Ropes & Gray and WilmerHale.

About the Duane Morris COVID-19 Strategy Team

The Duane Morris COVID-19 Strategy Team is advising clients on all aspects of the legal issues and implications of the COVID-19 pandemic including contractual, employment, insurance and healthcare issues. Attorneys are fielding inquiries and providing advice in a wide range of areas, including human resources, travel and transportation, immigration and border entry, hospital and healthcare operations, medical and pharmaceutical supply, FDA, food handling and preparation, OSHA, ADA compliance, data privacy, HIPAA, environmental and EPA, international transactions, shipping, supply chain and logistics, financial reporting, insurance liability, real estate issues, including landlord and tenant matters, and all types of contracts and quasi-contracts.

COVID-19 pandemic in Greece by Serafim Sotiriadis

Greece, among most of the countries in the world, was hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The Greek Government gradually took necessary measures and, ultimately, forced the country to a general “lockdown” on 23 of March. This led most of the businesses to temporarily suspend their operations and activities, while, at the same time, they were allowed to suspend the employment contracts without being required to pay salaries or damages and cover social insurance obligations. As a general measure, the country undertook the obligation to pay 800 Euros per employee whose contract was suspended.

Despite being absolutely necessary for the confrontation of the pandemic outbreak, the measures had dramatic consequences for the businesses and the Greek economy in general. In regards with the businesses, the most negative impact was the drastic fall of their turnovers and consequently their inability to perform their debt obligations, even for financially healthy companies. For this reason, the Greek Government has proceeded to the announcement of new measures, of financial nature this time, with a purpose to keep Greek businesses, to the extent possible, intact from the impact of the “lockdown” or at least to restrict the negative consequences.

Measures announced to be taken from May 2020

The Greek Government announced on 28th of April the undertaking of financial measures in order to relieve the Greek businesses and employees that were hit by Covid-19 outbreak and support the recommencement of the economy. The most important measures in relation to businesses are:

  • Financial aid to the Greek SMEs through loans granted by the Greek State that will be repaid in the next years with minimum interest rate based on each company’s performance. The total value of the aid will be 1 billion Euros, while each company will not receive more than 500.000 Euros. The main criteria require, first, the companies’ turnover to decrease due to Covid-19 outbreak and, second, the companies not to proceed to lay-offs.
  • Financial aid to the Greek SMEs through grant regarding business loans interest payments for a 3-month period (April, May & June 2020), provided that these companies were still performing on their debt obligations in relation to these loans and they have not proceeded to lay-offs.
  • Starting from May 2020, the Greek companies will be able to receive business loans by the Greek banks up to the amount that correspond to the 25% of their turnover with Greek State guarantees.
  • Suspension of VAT and assessed tax debt payments to the Greek State, however if a company pays the April 2020 instalment, a 25% discount is provided. Again, one of the necessary requirements is for the applying companies to retain the employment positions.

Considering that most of these applications can be made electronically through platforms, our law firm assist our clients in the electronic filling and submission of these applications. It, also, uses its contacts to get additional information, if needed, by making using of the available electronic means, so that the applications are properly filled. In these harsh times, the firm provides its advisory services with the best possible manner to assist the companies – clients, especially those hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Greece’s Economy

These liquidity measures are expected to relieve the Greek businesses which were forced to stop operating for more than one month (11 March 2020 – May 2020) and are now gradually being able to get back to their activities. The measures are considered to be of vital importance if taken into account that the country had just exited an 8-year financial recession implementing harsh economic re-adjustment and austerity measures. Except this, tourism constitutes the backbone of Greece’s economy and the largest contributor to its GDP and it is expected to be severely affected for 2020, as Covid-19 crisis broke out just before the summer.

According to the recently published IMF’s World Economic Outlook report, the projections for 2020 have been substantially altered, as the “lockdown” applied by the most of the Eurozone countries will have immense impact on their economic status. In particular, Greece is expected to lose approximately 10% out of its GDP for 2020, in contrary to the 2.2% GDP increase that was projected for the same year before the coronavirus outbreak. However, the country is forecasted to return to growth in the next year, to 5.1% for 2021. Despite the deeper economic impact for 2020, Greece’s recovery is projected to be more dynamic than other economies, such as Spain’s and Italy’s. This fact is justified by the timely actions of the Greek Government in response to the coronavirus outbreak and the periodic consequences of the tourism’s underperformance for 2020.

In the aftermath of the pandemic

The gradual lifting of the pandemic measures, starting from the 4th of May, earmarks the return to “normality” which will not be the same as known before. The epidemiologists warn that the pandemic is not over yet and the perils of another outbreak cannot be ignored. For this, the Greek Government has set, alongside the economic relief measures, certain rules in order to restrict the possibilities for the pandemic to break out again. These measures purport to minimise the personal contacts that could lead to the spread of the virus.

Among these rules, the most important for the companies are:

  • Flexible schedules must be followed for the next months, so that people attend their working place alternately.
  • Teleworking must be encouraged, where possible, to avoid unnecessary contacts.

Our law firm, trying to be in line with the recent legislation, has applied new methods in the working environment and in the manner, it delivers its legal services to our clients by making use the capabilities that technology offers today. Indicatively, the firm conduct their usual internal meetings only by electronic means through live video calls, while meetings with clients and fellow advisors are made through teleconferences maintaining the level of the services in the same standards as before. Also, the firm in order to protect its personnel applies a repeating working schedule enabling a certain number of associates/partners to attend the office each time, while in person meetings with clients are scheduled, where absolutely necessary, applying the hygiene rules.

Extension granted for filing of VAT returns with FTA

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has issued a directive extending the filing date for their VAT Return for the Tax Period ending 31 March 2020, from 28 April 2020 till 28 May 2020. The payment of the VAT due for this Tax Period will also only be payable on 28 May 2020. This extension should provide an extended period for Taxable Persons to collect payments for Tax Invoices due to them to allow them to meet their VAT obligations to the FTA.

The FTA further announced that the extension will also apply to Taxable Persons that lodge monthly VAT Returns and that the VAT Return and payment of the VAT due for the Tax Period from 1 March 2020 till 31 March 2020 will also only be due on 28 May 2020.

The abovementioned directive from the FTA will only pertain to VAT Returns for the Tax Periods that ended on 31 March 2020, and does not affect any other Tax Periods where the deadline for filing Tax Returns and settling of payable taxes does not fall in April 2020.