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UPDATES

DIETER VEESTRAETEN SPEAKER AT THE 55TH INTERNATIONAL YOUNG LAWYERS' ANNUAL CONGRESS IN TOKYO

8.8.2017

Dieter Veestraeten will speak at the 55th International Young Lawyers' Annual Congress (AIJA) which will take place from 28 August to 2 September in Tokyo, Japan. The main topic of the congress is “Artificial Intelligence, Technology and Innovation”. Dieter will speak on the topic of "Focus on Fintech - Overview on general regulatory aspects”, together with other international specialists.

For more information, please click here: http://tokyo.aija.org/

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STEVEN DE SCHRIJVER AND THOMAS DAENENS CONTRIBUTED THE BELGIAN CHAPTER TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMPARATIVE LEGAL GUIDE TO CORPORATE GOVERNANCE 2017

17.7.2017

Steven De Schrijver and Thomas Daenens of Astrea have contributed the Belgian Chapter 3 of the International Comparative Legal Guide to Corporate Governance 2017 (10th edition).

This guide, which is divided into Country Question and Answer Chapters, covers common issues in corporate governance laws and regulations – including transparency and reporting and corporate social responsibility – in 32 jurisdictions. It provides the international practitioner and in-house counsel with a comprehensive worldwide legal analysis of the laws and regulations of corporate governance. All chapters are written by leading corporate governance lawyers and industry specialists.

Read here the Belgian Chapter to the International Comparative Legal Guide to Corporate Governance 2017, contributed by Steven De Schrijver and Thomas Daenens.

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1001PACT RECEIVES LICENCE AS CROWDFUNDING PLATFORM

30.6.2017

1001Pact (https://1001pact.com/be), a new Belgian crowdfunding platform, has received its FSMA licence on 21 June 2017. It provides alternative funding services to and commercializes direct investment instruments for impact enterprises and corporates, available also under the very favourable Belgian tax shelter regime for start-ups. Under the new scheme, private investors benefit from a tax reduction if they invest in the capital of start-ups via licensed crowdfunding platforms (such as 1001Pact).  Astrea assisted 1001Pact Impact Investments SA in the framework of its foundation as a Belgian crowdfunding platform.

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LOUIS VERSTRAETEN A PARLÉ À LA SÉANCE D’INFORMATION DE LA FEB CONCERNANT LA SOLUTION CONFIDENTIELLE DANS LE NOUVEAU LIVRE XX DU CODE DE DROIT ÉCONOMIQUE

26.6.2017

Le 26 juin 2017, la FEB (Fédération des Entreprises Belges) a organisé une séance d’information sur le nouveau livre XX « l’insolvabilité des entreprises » du Code de droit économique. Plusieurs orateurs, tels que le ministre de la justice Koen Geens, le Président honoraire de la Cour de Cassation Ivan Verougstraete et des praticiens dont notre associé Louis Verstraeten, ont expliqué les changements majeurs. Les nouveaux outils pour favoriser la sauvegarde des entreprises en difficulté étaient le fil rouge des exposés.

Louis Verstraeten expliquait l’accord amiable (extra)judiciaire dans le cadre du réorganisation judiciaire. Il a donné un aperçu des changements que la nouvelle loi entraîne et a illustré les possibilités de l’accord amiable avec quelques exemples de pratique.

Vous pouvez trouver plus d’information sur la séance d’information de la FEB ici.

Contacter?

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NEW EUROPEAN INSOLVENCY REGULATION WILL BE APPLICABLE SOON

23.6.2017

The recast European Insolvency Regulation replaces the current Regulation of 2000 and will be applicable on cross boarder insolvency procedures opened after June 26, 2017.

The new rules address the main shortcomings of the old Regulation and endeavor to contribute to a more efficient settlement of cross boarder insolvency procedures.

We highlight the main changes in this update.

  • The pre-insolvency procedure and hybrid procedure fall from now on (and more than before) within the material scope of the Regulation. These are the procedures aimed at safeguarding undertakings in financial difficulties through restructuring. For Belgium, this implies an expansion to all procedures of judicial reorganization including the amicable settlement.
  • The key concepts “centre of main interests” (COMI) and “establishment” that determine the competent court, are being clarified.
  • The Regulation entails an improved coordination between main and secondary insolvency proceedings. Secondary proceedings do not need to be a liquidation procedure anymore, which will facilitate the maintenance of the going-concern of a cross-border establishment.
  • Procedural simplification is introduced by the so-called “synthetic proceedings”, whereby the rights of foreign creditors will be protected in the main insolvency proceeding, as if a secondary proceeding were opened.
  • The member states are obliged to create an electronic register for insolvency proceedings in which the information concerning the insolvency procedure will be published. Afterwards, the different national registers will be linked via a central European e-justice portal, which gives the national judges and creditors from different member states the possibility to access all relevant information. In Belgium, the REGSOL is in the meantime up and running.
  • Lastly, this Regulation also lays down rules on the coordination of insolvency proceedings that are related to several members of the same group of companies. The aim of which is to make the efficient and combined settlement of insolvency procedures possible.

The new Insolvency Regulation works out and builds upon the experience Europe gained the past 15 years, especially with regard to the insolvency of subsidiaries of a group of companies. By creating a framework for coordination, the chances of a smooth settlement of a complex international insolvency proceeding are being increased. Contact?

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CORPORATE AND TECHNOLOGY PARTNER STEVEN DE SCHRIJVER MODERATES STARTUP LAW CLINIC WORKSHOP AT THE 2017 ITECHLAW WORLD TECHNOLOGY LAW CONFERENCE IN CHICAGO

20.6.2017

Partner Steven De Schrijver of Astrea, along with Principal Attorney Charles Lee Mudd Jr. of Chicago law firm Mudd Law, has moderated the interactive workshop “Startup Law Clinic” during the 2017 ITechLaw World Technology Law Conference which took place in Chicago from 3 to 5 May 2017. Panelists included the founders of 2 Chicago startups: Jimi Allen of Bureau Gravity (www.bureaugravity.com) (and Dr. Steven Lee of Opternative (www.opternative.com).

The workshop proactively discussed the specific needs of startup companies by combining both legal and entrepreneurial points of view on dealing with legal issues related to startups and structuring law firm engagements in a way that is mutually beneficially to lawyers and their entrepreneur clients. The attorneys on the panel described their experience of working with startups and provided an overview of a wide range of issues that tend to come up for startups, whereas the entrepreneurs on the panel described their respective startups and explained how they each dealt with law firms and legal issues as their respective businesses evolved.

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STEVEN DE SCHRIJVER RECEIVES WHO'S WHO LEGAL GLOBAL IT LAWYER OF THE YEAR AWARD AT AWARD CEREMONY IN LONDON

20.6.2017

Astrea Partner Steven De Schrijver was recognised by Who's Who Legal as the Global IT Lawyer of the Year at the 4th Annual Who’s Who Legal Awards ceremony.

Since 1996 Who's Who Legal has identified the foremost legal practitioners in multiple areas of business law. In total, this site features over 17,000 of the world's leading private practice lawyers from over 100 national jurisdictions. Who's Who Legal is published by Law Business Research Limited.

Every year Who’s Who Legal issues awards to the individuals and firms that have performed exceptionally well in their research. During this year’s ceremony, which took place at Plaisterers' Hall in London on Monday 15 May, the individual and firm winners from 34 practice areas were celebrated.

This is the third time Steven De Schrijver has received the Global IT Lawyer of the Year award, having also received the award in 2012 and 2014.

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STEVEN DE SCHRIJVER CONTRIBUTES ARTICLE ON "THE RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN: THE CURRENT AND FUTURE LEGAL FRAMEWORK” TO THE EXPERT GUIDES WEBSITE

26.4.2017

Astrea corporate and technology partner Steven De Schrijver has contributed an article entitled “The right to be forgotten: the current and future legal framework” to the Information Technology section of the Expert Guides website (www.expertguides.com).

Expert Guides has been researching the world's legal market for over 20 years and has become one of the most trusted resources for international buyers of legal services.

Its guides cover a broad — and growing — range of legal practice areas.

You can read the full article through the following link: The right to be forgotten - the current and future legal framework

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ASTREA RANKED AGAIN IN LEGAL 500 (EDITION 2017)

19.4.2017

Legal 500 yearly lists the leading law firms from around the world. This legal directory uses input from participating law firms, feedback from clients and peer reviews to select the most outstanding lawyers and law firms by specialty and by region.

Astrea is delighted to be listed again in Legal 500 (Edition 2017) with several honourable and some new rankings.

This recognition for the quality of our services stimulates us to continue further improving our services together with our clients.

The team of Dieter Veestraeten is ranked for the first time in its practice area Banking, Finance and Capital Markets in Band 4. Legal 500 writes: ‘diligent and responsive’ team mainly represents borrowers in their banking and finance needs, but also assists financial institutions. Practice head Dieter Veestraeten is recommended.

The teams of Louis Verstraeten and Marc Van Looveren are also ranked for the first time in their practice area Insolvency and Restructuring in Band 3. Legal 500 writes: Astrea’s team, which includes Louis Verstraeten and Marc Van Looveren, handles domestic judicial reorganisation proceedings for Belgian SME’s, and cross-border or group insolvencies for multinational companies. The firm also acts for creditors and foreign insolvency administrators. The team represented BHP Billiton in a landmark case concerning the effects of a foreign insolvency on assets which are attached in Belgium.

The teams of Frédéric Verspreeuwen and Steven De Schrijver maintained their ranking in their practice area Commercial, Corporate and M&A in Band 5. Legal 500 writes: ‘very accessible’ team of corporate attorneys routinely advise multinational companies, start-ups, venture capital investors and private equity firms. Recent work includes advising Belgian brewery Martens on a transaction with Unibra and Far Eastern Corporation. Frédéric Verspreeuwen and Steven De Schrijver are practice co-heads.

The teams of Steven De Schrijver and Pieter Paepe maintained their ranking in their practice area IT and Telecoms in Band 4. Legal 500 writes: Astrea’s lawyers are ‘responsive, sophisticated and strategic in their approach’. The team has specialist expertise in ICD and online gaming, handling technology transactions and advising on data privacy and outsourcing issues. Microsoft and Invenso are key clients. Steven De Schrijver ‘has been active in the IT industry for many years’. Pieter Paepe was appointed as junior partner.

Finally, the teams of Marc Van Looveren and Louis Verstraeten are ranked in their practice area Transport (which now assembles both Shipping and Aviation) in Band 2. Legal 500 writes: Astrea shows ‘permanent excellence’ in shipping and transport law, ‘especially in contentious matters’. Maritime transport and logistics mandates – including cargo claims litigation, cargo and marine insurance cases and charterparty disputes – make up the bulk of the work. The firm advised the Belgian federal government on the collision between two vessels: the Flinterstar and the LNG carrier, Al Oraiq. The ‘approachable’ Ruud De Houwer is ‘someone to watch’, and the ‘quick and efficient’ Marc Van Looveren ‘never gives up’. Louis Verstraeten is also recommended.

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MEMORANDUM – THE NEW INNOVATION DEDUCTION

31.3.2017

Ken Roelands of Astrea has written een memorandum with regard to the Act of 9 February 2017 introducing a tax deduction for innovation income, which was published in the Belgian Official Journal on 20 February 2017. This new tax incentive replaces the patent income deduction and is, unlike its predecessor, compliant with the international guidelines from the BEPS action plan drawn up by the OECD.

The new Innovation Deduction allows companies with research and development activities to exempt 85% of their net income from qualifying intellectual property rights from taxes. Thanks to, among others, the extended scope of application, this new regulation offers interesting opportunities.

You can find the PDF version of this memorandum through the following link: The new innovation deduction.

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