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Successful challenge to an initial tax report, in a multimillion EUR tax case with the Tax Authority

Sector: Regulatory, Corporate Taxation

Practice Area: Dispute resolution, Tax & Regulatory

Following a negative initial tax report by the inspectors, in a multimillion taxation matter covering issues of VAT applicability, the firm was engaged to assist with challenging the initial report and addressing the various related matters – including preliminary measures.

The firm successfully represented the client, a large international corporate entity with significant business presence in Serbia, managing to overturn the initial report already at the stage before the first instance tax decision.

It is very rare that the Tax Authority agrees to revoke their arguments in the preliminary stage before the first instance decision, by way of an amended initial report. However, by raising a number of substantive and procedural objections at this early stage and pro-actively engaging with the authorities, the client managed to overturn the initial findings, and the Tax Authority completed the relevant control without any irregularities found.

Constitutional Court of Montenegro finds a violation of our client’s right to freedom of movement in arbitrary and disproportional restrictions imposed by the High Court

Sector: Constitutional law; International law; Human Rights; EU Law

Practice Area: Dispute Resolution; White-Collar Crime

Acting for a private client in high-profile white-collar proceedings before the High Court in Podgorica, Montenegro, the firm challenged the measures which restricted the movement of the defendant. The various measures have been extended multiple times by the Decisions of the High Court in Podgorica, restricting the defendant’s movement for more than a year. The firm lodged a Constitutional Appeal on behalf of the defendant against these Decisions arguing, inter alia, that these Decisions are violating defendant’s right to freedom of movement provided by Article 2 of Protocol No. 4 of ECHR and Article 39 of the Constitution of Montenegro. It was found that the Courts, instead of citing specific and relevant circumstances, automatically imposed arbitrary and disproportionate measures on the defendant, which lacked adequate reasoning and violating the protected rights of freedom of movement. The Constitutional Court adopted the Constitutional Appeal, accepted our arguments and determined that these Decisions have violated the defendant’s right. Importantly, the Court found that in this particular case, the Higher Courts have cited identical circumstances in all its decisions. The Constitutional Court recalled that in a large number of the cases, the ECHR found a violation of rights where the accused were subjected to automatic and blanket determination of supervision measures without consideration and review of the justifications and proportionality and without reference to the individual circumstances. The Constitutional Court concluded that repeating and rewriting the same reasons that allegedly justify the extension of the measures demonstrates just a formal review which does not meet the quality and scope of a judicial review required by Article 2 of Protocol 4 of the ECHR. The Constitutional Court found that the High Court’s reasoning points to arbitrariness in relation to the determination and extension of these measures. It was also concluded that there was no adequate assessment of the proportionality between the stated measures and the goal that was to be achieved.


Successful acquittal in a major publicized trial

Sector: Infrastructure, Finance, Conglomerates

Practice Area: White-Collar, Tax

In a publicly anticipated and widely reported decision concerning a major case against the shareholder of a regional conglomerate and various connected entities, the Appeal Court in Belgrade addressing the matter which emerged from a complex privatization of infrastructure sector companies fully accepted the arguments put forward in the submitted appeals and ordered a full acquittal of our clients.

The Appeals Court overturned the highly criticized and legally flawed first instance decision, which sought to impose effectively multimillion EUR retroactive tax obligations on a criminal law plane.

The decision marks and end to 10 years of proceeding before the Prosecutor and the relevant Courts which were followed by intense media and wide-ranging political interest in the case.

The defendants were awarded full costs in the case and are seeking redress for the damages caused by the unjustified investigations and trial in various proceedings.

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