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Insights June 2024

The new EU AML framework and its far-reaching implications  

The Council of the European Union has recently adopted a new set of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) rules, nearly three years after the European Commission unveiled its package of legislative proposals. The legislative package introduces significant changes to the EU’s AML and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) landscape, including: A more detailed and synchronised approach as to implementing parts of the AML/CFT regulations such as in respect of client due diligence, internal policies and identification of beneficial owners; A requirement for each obliged entity to have a compliance manager (member of the management body/senior management); Extending the list of obliged entities to include (amongst

Insights June 2024

Navigating the Regulatory Landscape: An Overview of Banking as a Service

In an era defined by digital transformation and the ever-evolving landscape of financial services, the concept of banking as a service (“BaaS”) has emerged as a key force reshaping the industry. By enabling non-bank entities to offer financial services through partnerships with licensed banks or financial institutions, BaaS has opened up a new realm of possibilities, facilitating innovation, enhancing customer experience and promoting financial inclusion. However, realising these opportunities is closely linked to navigating the complex regulatory framework that governs BaaS operations. BaaS can take various forms, allowing non-licensed entities to provide financial products such as banking, payment, e-money

Insights May 2024

The National Bank of Ukraine significantly eases the temporary currency restrictions  

The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) significantly eases the temporary currency restrictions imposed under martial law and, among other things, simplifies the terms of servicing residents' external borrowings and allows a number of cross-border transfers that are essential for Ukrainian businesses. Click on the following links to read the overview in English, or in Ukrainian. Download in English: Download in Ukrainian:

Deals April 2024

Kinstellar advises Halyk Bank on the sale of its subsidiary in Kyrgyzstan

Kinstellar's Kazakhstan office has successfully advised Halyk Bank, a leading financial services group, on the sale of its subsidiary in Kyrgyzstan, to a consortium of buyers within the investment group Visor International DMCC. The financial details of the transaction are undisclosed. Originally established as Kyrgyz Kairat Bank, the subsidiary was acquired by Halyk Bank in 2004 through a bidding process. This transaction follows the previous divestment of assets of Halyk Bank of Kazakhstan, including the recent sale of its Tajik and Russian subsidiaries.  The Kinstellar team was led by Partner Adlet Yerkinbayev, and Counsel Kuanysh Shekerbekov.

News March 2024

Kinstellar announces new promotions to Counsel

February 2024 – Kinstellar is delighted to announce the promotions to Counsel of: Yerlan Akhmetov, Kuanysh Shekerbekov (Almaty, Kazakhstan), Cătălin Dinu, Cătălin Graure (Bucharest, Romania), Barnabás Sági (Budapest, Hungary), Yulia Eismont, Maksym Tesliar (Kyiv, Ukraine), Michal Forýtek (Prague, Czech Republic),  Andrijana Kaštelan, Vedran Kopilović, Marija Vuchetich (Zagreb, Croatia). ALMATY Yerlan Akhmetov focuses on banking and finance, M&A and capital markets matters. Having been with the Firm for nine years, Yerlan has earned a reputation for cultivating strong client relationships, demonstrating leadership qualities and making significant contributions to our firm's success. He has played a key role

Insights February 2024

A year in review: A brief analysis of the Serbian banking sector in 2023

As of the close of 2022, Serbia's banking sector faced challenges amid global economic conditions. The year 2023 brought its distinct set of obstacles, with a noteworthy slowdown in global inflation compared to the last quarter of 2022. However, the undeniable focal point is the war in Ukraine, triggering a faster inflationary spiral due to increased energy and food prices. Key mergers and acquisitions In 2020, Komercijalna Banka, the largest state-owned Serbian bank, was acquired by Slovenian NLB Banka, leading to the merger of NLB Banka and Komercijalna Banka into NLB Komercijalna Banka. Vojvodjanska Banka was acquired by Hungarian OTP Bank, followed by OTP Bank's acquisition of Societe Generale Bank. In 2021

Deals December 2023

Kinstellar advises Nova Ljubljanska Banka, d.d. (NLB) on the acquisition of Summit Leasing Slovenia

Kinstellar has successfully advised Slovenia's largest banking group, Nova Ljubljanska Banka, d.d. Ljubljana ("NLB"), on the acquisition of 100% shareholding in SLS Holdco, the parent company of Summit Leasing, a leading provider of car financing in Slovenia, and its subsidiaries, from funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).    Completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory and anti-trust approvals and is planned for the second half of 2024. The acquisition would make NLB the first and only financial institution in the region to cover all leasing markets of the former Yugoslavia. Summit Leasing has a vast network

Deals December 2023

Kinstellar advises AIK Banka on the acquisition of Eurobank Direktna in Serbia

Kinstellar has successfully advised AIK Banka on the competition law aspects of the EUR 280 million acquisition of 100% of Eurobank Direktna Beograd. The transaction closed in November upon receiving the necessary regulatory approvals, including competition clearances. AIK Banka is a prominent financial institution with a strong presence in the banking sector. Committed to excellence and strategic growth, AIK Banka's recent acquisition strengthens its position as a key player on the Serbian market.The acquisition of Eurobank Direktna represents a significant milestone, underscoring the consolidation trend within Serbia's banking sector and is one of the largest transactions of this kind in the sector. Kinstellar's

Insights October 2023

Uzbekistan introduces a new legal framework to govern competition within commodity and financial markets

On 3 July 2023, the President of Uzbekistan signed the Law No. ЗРУ- 850 “[o]n competition” (the “New Law”), which comes into force on 4 October 2023, replacing the law on competition No. ЗРУ-319 dated 6 January 2012 (the “Old Law”). The New Law (i) defines new criteria for identifying a dominant market position, (ii) introduces the concept of superior bargaining power, (iii) sets out antimonopoly compliance requirements for certain business entities, (iv) clarifies the requirements for obtaining preliminary consent for certain transactions, and (v) imposes financial sanctions for violations of the New Law. Antimonopoly Compliance The New Law introduces the concept of antimonopoly compliance

Insights June 2023

Currency restrictions in Ukraine: Changes to the rules for external debt financing

Following the outbreak of the full-scale Russian invasion, the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) implemented temporary restrictions on cross-border foreign currency transactions. These restrictions were outlined in Resolution No. 18 of the NBU Board "On the Operation of the Banking System during the Period of Martial Law" (NBU Resolution No. 18). NBU Resolution No. 18 established an exclusive list of cross-border foreign currency transactions permitted during the martial law period. In late June 2023, the NBU took significant steps to expand the capacity of Ukrainian businesses to attract and service external loans and borrowings. This newsletter provides an overview of the provisions outlined in NBU Resolution No. 18 concerning

Insights June 2023

The end of uncertainty caused by an unfortunate court decision? The Slovak parliament confirms the approach in its assessment of close ties in the creditor-debtor relationship 

As part of a package of measures in the field of commercial law, the National Council of the Slovak Republic approved today, 28 June 2023, amendment to Act no. 7/2005 Coll. on Bankruptcy and Restructuring and on Amendments to Certain Acts, which confirms the long-standing treatment of the creditor-debtor relationship in Slovakia in cases of the potential relationship between the debtor and the creditor. Tomáš Melišek and Viliam Myšička, Partners in the Slovak office, have been dealing with the topic of kinship in bankruptcy law for several years and, in cooperation with the Slovak Banking Association and important Slovak banks, have discussed the wording of the relevant provisions of the respective law at several professional

Deals June 2023

Kinstellar assists OTP Bank with completing its first acquisition in Central Asia

As previously announced, in December 2022 Kinstellar advised OTP Bank, Hungary’s largest commercial bank and one of the largest independent financial service providers in Central and Eastern Europe, on the successful acquisition of Uzbekistan’s fifth-largest bank, Ipoteka Bank. Kinstellar has continued advising OTP Bank to reach another significant milestone in the transaction, as OTP Bank has completed the first closing of the transaction, i.e. the acquisition of a 73.71% stake in Ipoteka Bank from the state. With the transaction, OTP has become the first foreign lender to participate in the privatisation of Uzbekistan's banking sector. In the next step of the transaction, the remaining shares of Ipoteka Bank