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THE "NORMAN ATLANTIC" MARITIME TRAGEDY

There are still many unanswered questions regarding the sea worthiness of the vessel “Norman Atlantic", the way her maritime tragedy was handled in every level planning, operating and rescuing. One thing is certain; this has resulted to great losses for those who are perished and their families but also for the survivors both materially and psychologically.  

Prompted by the troubling developments of this terrible accident, we offer our assistance and free legal consultation to those affected -individually or their families. We are member of the Global Justice Network that specializes in maritime accidents and has built a huge experience worldwide in supporting victims in similar cases such as the Al - Salam Boccaccio (2006) counting more than 1,000 victims, the Costa Concordia, the Express Samina etc.

At this stage, however, we advise all victims and families of victims involved, to maintain their calm and not to rush into any settlement attempt before they can consult with their attorneys who can carefully evaluate the case and guide them to most appropriate actions.

You can communicate with us by email using our contact form without any other obligation on your part.    

OUR SUCCESSFUL PARTICIPATION AT THE GJF & THE GJN CONGRESSES IN NEW YORK

OUR SUCCESSFUL PARTICIPATION AT THE GJF & THE GJN CONGRESSES  IN NEW YORK

With a large number of participants was successfully completed last month the GLOBAL JUSICE FORUM at the COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL in New York. Our offices have been participating from the Forum’s  early stages in London and in Paris and this year were represented in New York by two attorneys. The Global Justice Forum with the Richman Center holds a seat at this highly ranked American University and had as its theme this year the income inequality and its legal consequences. This year’s legal event allocated credit points to N.Y. students and towards continuous education  while it enabled a great gathering of selected international Attorneys, Judges and University Professors from Asia, Africa, Europe  and the Americas.

Also in October 2014 our American partners from the LIEFF CABRASER HEIMANN & BERNSTEIN law firm (ranked for 2014 as America’s No 1 law firm in its category of plaintiff lawyers) hosted in their New York premises the coordination meeting of the GLOBAL JUSTICE NETWORK where our offices are a founding member and partner. Mr.Kokkinos was a speaker at this meeting that set forth the cooperation headlines and its ongoing structure. This network expands in dozens of countries all over the world and represents a major innovation on plaintiff attorneys practice. Its forthcoming General Assembly will be held in Amsterdam, Holland on April 2015.

Greek State bonds haircut: Case brought in front of the European Human Rights Court

Last week our law firm in collaboration with Prof. Andrea Saccucci  from Rome and the Genovese legal firm of Massimiliano Massara has filed lawsuits in front of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in the case of the Greek bonds haircut for alleged violation of the right of property (art. 1 of the First protocol). We represent a large number of private as well as institutional international clients who suffered substantial damage from this unilateral action of the Greek State. We see the “haircut” as a unilateral abusive and unconventional act.

The legal community is expecting the Court's position and reaction with great interest as this is a rather  unique case were a sovereign state fails to fulfill his obligations. An extensive international legal research  has been conducted for that matter and the outcome will be scientifically as well as politically very interesting. initial reactions of the Court are being anticipated within the following few months...

IMPORTANT RULING OF AUSTRIAN COURTS ON GREEK BONDS

On the 20.05.2014, the Supreme Court of Austria has partially upheld an action concerning the forced conversion of Greek bonds.

The claimants, who had acquired Greek bonds through an Austrian depository bank amounting to 17.000 EUR, required fulfillment of the terms and conditions of the agreement or damages in case of non-fulfillment from the Greek State. Additionally, they claimed damages due to the encroachment on their property right. The latter claim was rejected by the Supreme Court because, according to the court, the Greek State was exercising sovereign authority while creating the act of conversion and could therefore invoke the objection of State immunity, leading to lack of domestic jurisdiction.

As an emitter of bonds, however, the state was acting as a private entity; the claim of the plaintiff was therefore based on a contractual basis, making an immunity objection inadmissible. The complaint has now been sent back to the Austrian regional court which has to forward it to the Greek State before beginning the trial. The respondent is then given the chance to decide whether he wants to engage in the action in front of the Austrian courts.

GREEK BONDS HAIRCUT. Final filing by October 2014

As the Greek supreme Court has rendered its ruling last month, (negative as expected) the six month delay is now up and running for the much anticipated filing in front of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg  which for many is their last hope to recover what has been unilaterally haircut  by the Greek State from their Greek State bonds they bought before the crisis. Those people and also several institutional investors who never consented into any kind of haircut or rescheduling of repayment dates are now looking forward in what is considered as the final solution to a lengthy and exhausting legal battle against a sovereign State which failed to honor its committments. Our office in conjunction with one of the best experts in the world Italian professor Andrea Saccucci  is heavily preparing for the filing of many clients priate individuals and instututional alike. Mr. Kokkinos was himself in Strasbourg in early June (5th and 6th of June 2014)  for examining procedural issues of the petitions before the ECHR by the International Association of Lawyers.

 

 

Extended legal action on behalf of US and UK institutional holders of Greek sovereign debt bonds

Extended legal actions in the U.S. for Greek bondholders

ELC partner C. Kokkinos and the Italian Professor of International Law at the University of Naples Mr. A. Saccucci have visited  the New York offices of the high ranked U.S. Law firm Lieff Cabraiser Heimann & Bernstein. This visit was in view of organizing an extended legal action in front of the European Court of Human Rights in Starsbourg, France for the 2012 haircut of the Greek sovereign debt bonds. On that meeting also participated representatives of one of the largest specialist U.K. law firm interested on joining this action against the Greek state and/or against the financial institutions who have promoted these products without complying to legal requirements currently in force (MIFID EU Directive...) This action will bring a new dimension to this dispute that has unilaterally written off 53% of the Greek sovereign debt bonds to the detriment of thousand investors around the globe. In February 2014 Mr. Saccucci had additional meetings in London for that matter. In the picture Messrs Kokkinos and Saccucci during their LCHB New York visit.

SCHENGEN RESIDENCE AND TRAVEL THROUGH REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT IN GREECE

In Greece Law 4146/2013 recently implemented, enables third countries' (non E.U.) nationals and their family members, to secure a regular residence -and thus a visa free travel within the whole Schengen area- if they invest in real estate in the country a minimum of 250.000 Euros.

Similar disposals already exist in Cyprus -where we have an open bridge- and in Spain attracting a large number of mainly Chinese and Russians nationals willing to invest in Mediterannean properties and to take advantage of a family residence in Europe.Chinese investment firms are being established for that matter and are already operating in Cyprus. Because of the financial crisis  real estate prices have become substatially lower and many investment opportunities arise mainly in prime properties.

Greek investment law 4146/2013 is indeed very interesting but it still needs some fine tuning though as to its practical implementation. Our law firm works towards standardizing compliance to those requirements in full transparency and with reasonable costs. This legal frame in conjunction with Law 3386/2005 (art. 36A) entitles a five year residence permit to those investing at least 250.000 EUR in real estate property or in long time rental (also 250.000 EUR)  of hotel and tourist accomodation enterprises (Law 4002/2011). In order to assist our potential Chinese customers we have for several years now, a steady startegic partnership in China with one of the top three law firms in this country with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guanzou and Hong Kong.  For that matter we are setting up a collaboration with reputable law offices in Moscow and in St. Petersbourg. 

MR. KOKKINOS VISITS CYPRUS TO COORDINATE LEGAL ACTION ON BANK DEPOSITS SEIZURE

In view of the upcoming final deadline of June,12th 2013 (that is a few days extension to the previously announced June,8th deadline) for the filing of legal actions in front of the Cypriot Supreme Court against the seizure on all bank deposits on Cyprus Popular Bank (CPB), the supreme Court attorney and senior partner of ELC Constantine Kokkinos was in Cyprus yesterday, meeting officials, local attorneys  and representatives of the Association of the CPB depositors and clients. Considering that the bank clients practically facing confiscation on their savings over 100.000 EUR for reasons unknown and not understandable to them, there comes the need for a coordinated legal action against not only the Bank but also the supervising authorities, -national and European- that apparently were not capable to secure an efficient supervision on proper function of a banking establishment in compliance with the "stringent" Eurozone's rules and regulations. Mr. Kokkinos' visit was successfully completed so as to evaluate additional facts and to coordinate national and European course of legal action already underway.     

CYPRIOT BANKS HAIRCUT: DEADLINE JUNE,8, 2013

The deadline of June, 8 , 2013 for filing law claims in front of the Cypriot Administrative Courts is getting close. Our law firm with its track proven record of the world's highest compensation for Citibank customers holders of Lehman Brothers bonds has opted to file Administrative law claims but also Cilvil lawsuits in front of Cyprus' Courts. In addition -and perhaps most importantly- we are working on Judicial filings in front of the European Court of Human Rights in Starsbourg for what we feel a direct violation of the right of property (Art. 1 First protocol of the European Convention of Human rights). A free helpline answering FAQs may be used by all interested parties that can reach us through our web contact form.

CAPITAL MOVEMENT RESTRICTIONS IN CYPRUS


9th Decree for Restrictive Measures on Banking Transactions in the Republic of Cyprus

 

(a) The maximum amount of cash withdrawal shall not exceed €300 daily or its equivalent in foreign currency, per person in each credit institution. All cash withdrawals (namely withdrawals via debit and or credit and or prepaid cards, as well as withdrawals from the credit institution’s tellers ) are computed per person consolidating all accounts held by the said person in each credit institution:

 

Provided that any part of the maximum cash withdrawal allowed daily which is not withdrawn by the beneficiary during the day in which the limit applies, starting on the 27th of March 2013 the date of entry into force of the Enforcement of Temporary Restrictive Measures on Transactions in case of Emergency First Decree, of 2013, may be withdrawn at any time afterwards.

 

(b) The cashing of cheques is prohibited.

 

(c) The following are permitted:

 

(i) transfer of deposits/funds to accounts held in other credit institutions up to €3.000 per month per natural person in each credit institution within the Republic

 

(ii) transfer of deposits/funds to accounts held in other credit institutions up to €50.000 per month per legal person in each credit institution within the Republic

 

(iii) cashless payment up to €300.000, per transaction to an account held in another credit institution within the Republic,:

 

Provided that the cashless payment is made for the completion of a transaction:

Provided further that the cashless payment from one credit institution to another, for a person’s own account is not permited:

 

Provided still further that the credit institution may request justifying documents if it may deemed necessary.

 

(iv) transfer of deposits/funds to an account held in another credit institution within the Republic for an amount from €50.001 up to €300.000 per transaction, for transaction that falls within the normal business activity of the customer, upon presentation of justifying documents, without been subject to the Committee’s approval:

 

Provided that each credit institution shall ensure that the justifying documents presented in each case, justify the execution of the transfer of deposits/funds.

 

(v) cashless payment and or transfer of deposits/funds for an amount over €300.000 per transaction, for transactions that fall within the normal business activity of the customer provided the Committee’s approval is obtained. The credit institution submits to the Committee a request for each payment as well as the necessary justifying documents. The Committee in taking its decision takes into account the justifying documents and the liquidity buffer situation of the credit institution

 

(d) Cashless payment and or transfer of deposits/funds to accounts held abroad are prohibited, with the exception of-

 

(i) transaction that falls within the normal business activity of the customer upon presentation of justifying documents as follows-

 

(aa) payment and or transfer of deposits/funds of up to €20.000 per transaction, is not subject to the Committee’s approval:

 

Provided that each credit institution shall ensure that the justifying documents presented in each case, justify the execution of the payment and or of the transfer of deposits/funds.

 

(bb) payment and or transfer of deposits/funds from €20.001 to €300.000 per transaction, is subject to the approval of the Committee. A list of the requests for payments falling within this category shall be submitted to the Committee in a

standardised electronic file in a format specified by the Committee. A request may be included in the list only if the credit institution is satisfied that the file content is consistent with the provisions of this Decree. The Committee in its decision, which shall be taken within 24 hours, shall take into account the liquidity buffer situation of the credit institution.

 

(cc) payment and or transfer of deposits/funds above €300.000 per transaction, is subject to the Commission’s approval. The credit institution shall submit to the Committee a request for each such payment and or transfer of deposits/funds as well as the necessary justifying documents The Committee in taking its decision takes into account the justifying documents and the liquidity buffer situation of the credit institution.

 

Provided that the Committee may request information for payments falling within the categories of sections (bb) and (cc).

 

(ii) payments for salaries of employees upon presentation of supporting documents.

 

(iii) living expenses up to €5.000 per quarter as well as tuition fees, of a person who is studying abroad and is a first degree relative of a Cyprus resident, on the basis of supporting documents:

 

Provided that payments for living expenses shall be allowed only upon submission to the relevant credit institution of documents establishing that the person receiving the payment and or transfer of deposits/funds is studying abroad and is a first degree relative of a Cyprus resident:

 

Provided further that tuition fees shall be paid only to the beneficiary educational institution, upon submission of the relevant justifying documents:

 

Provided still further that the credit institution maintains a catalogue in which it records and monitors all payments:

 

Provided still still further that the Committee may require the submission, to its attention, of the catalogue mentioned in the above proviso and or information on any payment which falls under case (iii)

 

(iv) payments outside the Republic, via debit and or credit and or prepaid cards, shall not be allowed to exceed €5.000 per month per person in each credit institution and or electronic money institution and or payment institution.

 

(v) transfers of deposits/funds outside the Republic up to 2.000 per month, per person for each credit institution and or payment institution regardless of the purpose.

 

(e) It is prohibited to terminate fixed term deposits prior to their maturity unless the funds are used

 

(i) to repay a loan within the same credit institution provided the loan was granted prior to the entry into force of the Enforcement of Temporary Restrictive Measures on Transactions in case of Emergency First Decree, of 2013

 

(ii) to create one or more fixed term deposits, within the same credit institution, the total amount of which is equal to the initial deposit and for a term at least equal to the initial term of the terminated deposit:

 

Provided that new beneficiaries can be added or deleted on the new deposit.

 

(iii) The transfer of up to €5.000 monthly, from the fixed term deposit in a sight/current account within the same credit institution, in duly substantiated cases where the credit institution is satisfied that the transfer is done for humanitarian reasons:

 

Provided that the credit institution maintains a catalogue, in which it lists in detail all the cases:

 

Provided further that the remaining amount of the fixed term deposit remains for the remaining maturity period under the same conditions.

 

(f) On the maturity of fixed term deposits, the higher amount between €5.000 or 20% of the total amount of the deposit in question, shall, according to the choice of the depositor, either be transferred to a sight/current account or be deposited in a new fixed term deposit in the same credit institution. For the remaining amount the maturity shall be extended for one month.

 

Provided that, in relation to a notice account of a natural person the transfer of €300 daily per person to a sight/current account within the same credit institution is permitted.

 

(g) Sums transferred from a fixed term deposit to a sight/current account shall be subject to the restrictive measures applicable to sight/current accounts.

 

(h) Exports of euro notes and/or foreign currency notes are prohibited in excess of €2.000, or the equivalent in foreign currency, per natural person per journey abroad. The Director of Customs and Excise Department shall ensure the implementation of this measure.

 

Provided that the amount of €2000 can not be withdrawn from credit institution in addition to the daily amount of €300, the withdrawal of which is permitted under the above paragraph 3(a).

 

(i) Every financial transaction, payment and or transfer which has not been completed prior to the entry into force of the Enforcement of Temporary Restrictive Measures on Transactions in case of Emergency First Decree, of 2013 shall be subject to the restrictive measures provided in this Decree:

 

Provided that any financial transaction, payment and or transfer, which has not been processed by the credit institution prior to the entry into force of the Enforcement of Temporary Restrictive Measures on Transactions in case of Emergency First Decree, of 2013 shall be cancelled and will have to be submitted anew.

 

(i) Credit institutions shall not facilitate the circumvention of the restrictive measures.

 

(j) The restrictive measures apply to all accounts, payments and transfers regardless of the currency denomination.

 

(k) It is prohibited to transfer euro notes and/or foreign currency notes, in areas of the Republic where the Republic does not exercise effective control, in excess of the amount of –

 

(i) €300 daily or its equivalent in foreign currency, per natural person who has its permanent residence in the Republic,

 

(ii) €500 daily or its equivalent in foreign currency, per natural person

who has its permanent residence abroad.

 

The Director of Customs and Excise Department shall ensure the implementation of this measure.

 

(l) The opening of a new account for any customer who is not an existing customer of a credit institution on the date of issue of the present Decree, is prohibited unless

 

(i) the account will only be credited with funds transferred from abroad to the Republic,

 

(ii) the prior approval of the Committee is obtained:

 

Provided that the approval of the Committee is only granted in case of a person not having any account with any credit institution.

 

(m) It is prohibited to add new beneficiaries in a current/sight account.

 

Exemptions:

 

Exempted from the restrictive measures are:

a. All new funds transferred to the Republic from abroad

b. Withdrawal of cash using credit and or debit and or prepaid card issued by foreign institutions on accounts abroad

c. The cashing of cheques issued on accounts held with foreign institutions abroad

d. Cash withdrawals from accounts of credit institutions with the Central Bank.

e. Payments and receipts of the Republic

f. Payments and receipts of the Central Bank

g. The foreign diplomatic missions and·the UN missions in the Republic based on the exemptions specified in the Vienna Convention for Diplomatic Relations and the Agreements between the Republic and the United Nations and other international Agreements which have precedence over national legislations.

h. Payments that have been authorised by the Committee.