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Archived news

The collapse of Lehman brothers in the U.S. and in other jurisdictions and the consequences for local investors

Several financial products were affected in many countries. Reports mention such issues and subsequent legal and financial problems from Singapore and Hong Kong to Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Greece. In Greece, structured Lehman brothers products "with 100% capital protection" were sold by retail banks to their clients. Now after the collapse these products seem to be no longer negotiable and consequently of very little worth -if any- at the end. From their side the banks apparently decline all liability and reportedly do not give at that stage any signs of willingness to undertake in whole or in part the loss suffered by their clients, considering themselves as mere intermediates. On the other side the private investors claim in many cases that they were convinced by their investment advisers/bank agents for this placement and they had no idea on structured products and on the risks associated with such placements. Several claim they knew little or nothing about Lehman Brothers and it was their bank they entrusted for this investment and that their bank agents were acting as their investment advisers and thus should have been aware of this and protect them adequately. At that stage and with so different starting positions from both sides it seems that as far as Greece is concerned, an initiation of a Court dispute at that stage can not be avoided.

This presentation is for information purposes only of the facts to the best of our knowledge on the date of the 3rd of November 2008.It does not constitute in any way a suggestion of liability or invitation to act. We do not accept any responsibility for the contents of this article which may not be used in any way by any third party.

Olympic airlines: Yet another privatisation attempt

Following several unsuccessful attempts to privatize the ailing Greek national carrier, the government of Greece has just announced on November 3, 2008 the potential candidates who submitted an initial non binding expression of interest to its latest plan of letting the airline and its ancillary technical services stand on their own feet under private ownership and management. Among them one can distinguish Qatar Airways, Olympic investors/York capital and Sky Europe the central European low cost carrier listed on the Vienna Stock exchange. In the past Olympic investors/York capital were selected as preferred bidders using the legal services of our Law firm as currently also does Sky Europe.

Business in China: New model of legal support in place

In anticipation of the business needs of European investors in China, we have set up an exclusive cooperation agreement in partnership with one of the country's largest law firms. This model already in place now, aims to support European firms on their administrative and legal steps in China's largest cities and business/factory centres. It is also taking under special consideration the particularities and the requirements of the Swiss industry on the pharmaceutical as well as on other fields. We are pleased to be able to fully support Swiss structure and audit requirements as well as Chinese corporate liability and the new company representation and administration rules in place on that country. For further information you may contact Mr. Constantin Kokkinos in Europe, Mr. E. Lehmann in Beijing or Mr. Gregg Sy in Shanghai.

Changing our look: ELC's new logo, colors and web site design

In an ever changing world, our image should be reflecting our incessant improvement while maintaining continuity as we refrain from changing our core values. It was about time to evolve our initial designs made by Peter Christensen back in the '90's through a careful procedure undertaken by Innovations AG under the meticulous guidance and supervision of Karin Breuninger from Geneva. Daring combinations of purple and gray outline the dynamics of our firm from our new logo to the office decoration and of course to our completely redesigned web site which is expected to be launched soon by Aspendos Solutions of London.

Legal issues

Effects of the revision of the Swiss Code of Obligations on existing companies limited by shares ("AG") and limited liability companies ("GmbH"):

Article appeared on the corporate newsletter of our quality partners in Switzerland Prager Dreifuss Law offices ( Zurich, 8008: Muhlebachstr.6, Bern, 3011: Schweizerhofpassage 7).

Contribution by corporate attorneys Marco Strahm (also a Notary) and Dr. iur. Hans-Ulrich Brunner.

On January 1, 2008 new provisions on the law of the limited liability compay (Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung/GmbH), the law of the companies limited by shares (Aktiengesellschaft/AG) together with the total revision of the Commercial Register Ordinance came into force. These new provisions relate not only to the new companies that are being set up; they are also of relevance in relation to existing limited liability companies and companies limited by shares and the question arises as to what effect these amendments will have on them and in particular whether there will be any need to amend existing articles of association.

Lehman products update

Following an excellent Multibench Court ruling on the matter in June, our offices throughout July and early August 2009 have filed several additional Court claims against the banks for the disposal of Lehman products in the country requesting reimbursement of millions of Euros invested through these establishments. Claims - to be heard within the next few months - now dispose of a considerable case law precedent in Greece, Germany and elsewhere.

Columbia Law School (USA)

Our senior partner Constantine Kokkinos, will be a keynote speaker on a panel for European legal related issues on the Fall 2009 Global Justice Forum that is taking place in this reputed American University. The forum will cover topics of litigation, class actions (still practically not accepted in European jurisdictions) and mediation/arbitration representing the future of claims handling in an ever saturated European judicial system.


Good news on Switzerland’s national holiday on August 1, 2009: US and Swiss government have reached an in principle agreement on the strike opposing the Swiss banking giant UBS to the US tax authority (IRS) where the latter was requesting the bank to reveal the identity of several US clients suspected of tax evasion in the US. Swiss laws strictly enforce banking secrecy and would forbid UBS to reveal such data to foreign authorities without the consent of the Swiss legal system.


On October 1, 2009 Olympic Air takes the lead from the ailing state owned and supported Olympic Airlines. Reportedly the new Olympic will drop all of its long haul operations and will drastically resize its fleet and schedules. New lease contracts are on the air while an effort will be made for keeping most of Olympic’s valuable slots in major airports such as London Heathrow, New York’s JFK mainly through code share programs with other operators.


Heavily hit by the current economic crisis the eastern continent now emerges with interesting business opportunities. European Legal Consultancy is one of the few European Law Firms with excellent positioning through our privileged statutory partnership in China with one of the largest local firms also incorporating US registered partners. This firm operates as Lehman Leee & Xu ( and has an established presence in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzen, Chengdu, Hong Kong and Macau.