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EMEA: COVID-19 Life Sciences Survey (Updated)

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As COVID-19 rapidly spreads to every corner of the globe and is officially declared a pandemic, governments across the world are adopting emergency measures to fight against this extraordinary situation. Ultimately, all these measures are aimed at protecting the health and wellbeing of citizens. However, on the healthcare and life sciences front in particular, such measures range from intervention powers to guarantee adequate supplies of treatment and medical equipment, to the relaxation of deadlines and regulatory requirements to simplify administrative procedures wherever possible, so that competent authorities, manufacturers and other actors can focus on urgent priorities related to the COVID-19 crisis.

COVID-19: Government Intervention Schemes Guide

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Countries around the globe are facing unprecedented and rapid change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government Intervention Schemes Guide provides a summary of...

South Africa: Contract Miners Beware – Proposed Tax Amendments to Have Far-reaching Impact on...

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At the end of July 2020, the National Treasury in South Africa released the Draft Taxation Laws Amendment Bill for comment. The Bill includes proposed amendments to both section 15 and section 36 of the Income Tax Act, effectively noting that capital expenditure allowances are only available to taxpayers that hold the relevant mineral rights. The proposed amendment, if passed in its current form, means that contract miners will not be entitled to claim any accelerated capital expenditure allowances, and will have to claim allowances for capital expenditure in terms of other provisions in the Income Tax Act. Denny Da Silva, Senior Tax Advisor at Baker McKenzie in Johannesburg, explains how this will impact contract miners.

United Arab Emirates: Dr. Habib Al Mulla writes to CNN on maritime fraud –...

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The horrific explosion that recently took place at the port of the city of  Beirut is a tragedy for its people. The possible casues of the explosion has brought to mind the cases of maritime fraud that many observers overlook. In recent years, the shipping and maritime trade industry has witnessed a sharp increase not only in the number of fraud cases but also in the diversity and sophistication of fraud. Fraudsters are becoming more creative in laying out and executing their plans, including using modern technology such as computer hacking while also preserving some tried and tested traditional methods, such as document fraud. Ship owners are also finding themselves under pressure to earn new business and, to that end, many of them ignore exercising due diligence when dealing with new business partners. While ports are adopting new technologies this too has the potential to enable new certain types of fraud (such as automating container operations).

South Africa: Directors owe a duty to their company, not to shareholders, court finds

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The Supreme Court of Appeal in South Africa recently considered the concept of claims for reflective losses in South Africa, focusing on whether shareholders could hold directors liable, in terms of the Companies Act, 71 of 2008, for conduct which resulted in a decrease in the company's share price. John Bell, Partner, Rui Lopes, Associate, and Nothando Mthimkhulu, Candidate Attorney, in the Dispute Resolution Practice at Baker McKenzie in Johannesburg, explain the details and outcome of this case.

South Africa: Contract Miners Beware – Proposed Tax Amendments to Have Far-reaching Impact on...

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At the end of July 2020, the National Treasury in South Africa released the Draft Taxation Laws Amendment Bill for comment. The Bill includes proposed amendments to both section 15 and section 36 of the Income Tax Act, effectively noting that capital expenditure allowances are only available to taxpayers that hold the relevant mineral rights. The proposed amendment, if passed in its current form, means that contract miners will not be entitled to claim any accelerated capital expenditure allowances, and will have to claim allowances for capital expenditure in terms of other provisions in the Income Tax Act. Denny Da Silva, Senior Tax Advisor at Baker McKenzie in Johannesburg, explains how this will impact contract miners.

EMEA: Mitigating ESG Risks in M&A Transactions

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ESG considerations have become part of the new normal in corporate strategies, business models and culture and their importance is expected to continue rising...

United Arab Emirates: Federal Courts issues a landmark judgment reversing all penalties imposed by...

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The Abu Dhabi Court of First Instance recently dismissed an appeal filed by the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) against fines and penalties imposed by the FTA against a UAE company, a Dubai based beverage distributor, in connection with excise taxes. Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla represented the company. The court also ordered that the FTA repay the full amount of the penalties to the company. The Tax Dispute Resolution Committee had previously ordered the reduction of tax penalties levied on the company from the amount of AED 20.8 million to AED 8.8 million. The FTA appealed to the Court of First Instance against that decision. Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla had also represented the company at the Tax Dispute Resolution Committee, and the company counter appealed that no penalties were legally due. The Court of First Instance rejected the FTA's appeal against the decision of the Tax Disputes Resolution Committee, and allowed the company's appeal that no penalties should be due.

South Africa: Significant implications for online gaming companies in the draft Films and Publications...

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The recently published draft Films and Publications Amendment Regulations have significant implications for online gaming companies in their current form. The Regulations are out of sync with the commercial realities of online content distribution and gaming platforms and impose extensive administrative and cumbersome obligations on online distributors .Janet MacKenzie, Partner and Head of the Technology, Media and Telecommunications industry group, and Reinhardt Biermann, Associate, at Baker McKenzie Johannesburg, explain the implications.

South Africa: The de-globalizing pandemic – FDI and preparing for the post-COVID reality

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Overall, globalization has contributed to economic growth in Africa, but post COVID-19, authorities around the world are tightening restrictions and implementing barriers to foreign investments in a bid to protect industries that may be left vulnerable during these times. Lerisha Naidu, Partner, and Selma Matsinhe, Associate, in the Competition and Antitrust Practice Group in Johannesburg, explain how a careful balance needs to be struck between protectionism and attracting foreign investment.
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