From our offices in Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Dubai, Johannesburg and Milan, we prepared this video, with lots of love and as one big family, to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a promising and cheerful New Year 2019!
December 5th, 2018 marks the golden jubilee of our founding partner, Me. Aziz Torbey’s first step towards the start of his successful career as a barrister. On this occasion, the Beirut Bar Association awarded him in recognition of his years of service during the BBA Golden Jubilee event at the Habtoor Hotel.
Through hard work, intellect and a lot of dedication, Me. Aziz Torbey has built a remarkable reputation and a law firm renowned in Lebanon and beyond.
Me. Torbey’s journey began in 1968 when he graduated from Sagesse University with a Master of Law. He directly set his goal to establish a law firm and exactly 5 years later, he founded Aziz Torbey Law Firm (ATLF).
Me. Aziz Torbey’s practice areas include dispute resolution, real estate, corporate restructuring and taxation. He is the consultant and the legal advisor of many notable local and international companies, and financial institutions.
“Me. Aziz is a wise man, his wisdom and in-depth insights on all matters are the reasons he overcomes all the difficulties. Aside from that, he is a positive person who always looks for a solution rather than diving into problem analysis,” said Houssam Mourtada, lawyer at ATLF for 20 years now.
“He is a lawyer with a strong and constant opinion that cannot be altered by any business pressure or interest,” he added. “When it comes to protecting and fighting for the rights of his clients, Me. Aziz does not spare any effort whatever the consequences may be.”
Since day one, Me. Aziz Torbey has found his passion for his profession which never left his side yet keeps on rising day after day. He is always working long hours to watch over the interests of his clients. For him, challenges are rewarding. He finds satisfaction in helping and assisting people in the legal field.
Additionally, his efforts are acknowledged by the community, he has been awarded with several accolades such as the International Who’s Who of Professionals in 2005, the International Legal Practice Mentor by the Center for International Legal Studies in 2006 and was recognized as a Notable lawyer by International Financial Law Review.
“As a young lawyer in his firm, I have always looked up to Me. Aziz for teaching me the importance of perseverance. It is thanks to him that I learned never to settle and to always aspire to meet my goals. It is also thanks to him that I found out that our profession has no endpoint. A lawyer is one who always reads, develops himself and evolves with the ongoing evolution of time,” said Josee Sakr, lawyer at ATLF.
Aziz Torbey leads by example that lawyers owe a duty not only to the community but also to the legal profession. Me. Aziz’s commitment to the adherence to the highest legal principles, traditions and work ethics motivates him into being an active member in the Beirut Bar Association Council.
50 years in practice and 45 years since the establishment of ATLF, the firm has been a second home to many. Rita Samia, a lawyer that has been working at ATLF for 30 years now said: “I think it’s important and meaningful that when I had a car accident, the first number I called was the firm’s unconsciously. I’ve always felt like the firm is my support-system because its doors are always open to give us all a hand of help.”
“Being there for us, whether it is during our best or worst times or whether he had to travel to attend our PhD thesis discussion outside Lebanon showcases Me. Torbey’s sincerity, supportive team-spirit and father-like character,” said Me. Mourtada.
Congratulations on fifty years in the practice of law, Me. Aziz Torbey. You bring honor to the legal profession and it is a privilege for all of us to know and work with you.
The ATLF Team
EPTALEX Offers a Seminar at the Istituto Marangoni in Milan
On Monday, November 26, our colleague Lorenzo Mulazzi from Eptalex JGlegal delivered a seminar at the Istituto Marangoni in Milan, during which he gave the students an overview on the practical aspects of the intellectual property (IP) protection in the fashion industry.
The Istituto Marangoni is a private Italian school of fashion and design founded by Giulio Marangoni in 1935 with a solid reputation that spans the fashion and academic worlds.
The school trains professionals and technicians specializing in the fields of fashion. From Milan where it is based, it reaches all the international capital cities of fashion, design and luxury with branches in Florence, London, Paris, Shanghai and Shenzhen, Mumbai, and Miami.
The Eptalex lawyers introduced IP law to the attendees and highlighted on the legal aspect of trademarks and industrial designs. They explained the importance of the registration of a collection and the IP rights. Additionally, they expounded on the classification of goods and services applied for the registration of marks pursuant to the International Nice Classification.
The seminar ended by an up-close case study which examined the unfairness of the competition in the fashion industry.
Eptalex is always eager to provide legal guidance in all various fields, it has been an honor to be trusted by Istituto Marangoni to help prepare students for what is next!
On September 13, 2018 the Governor of Banque du Liban, Mr. Riad Toufic Salamé, has issued the Decision No. 12872 in connection to the Basic Circular No. 146 and regarding European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The decision – which had immediate effect – is addressed to all banks, financial institutions and all other institutions regulated by the Banque du Liban, who are requested to take appropriate measures in compliance with the GDPR.
December 31, 2018 is the deadline for implementing the above-mentioned procedures and measures – and in particular for:
(i) assigning a Data Protection Officer from within the Compliance Unit and a Representative to the Union and
(ii) establishing a compliance service in accordance with the procedures that will be taken in this regard
This decision is crucial as it clearly shows the attention of non-European financial institutions to a landmark EU regulation.
Our compliance expert Lorenzo Mulazzi in Milan and the office in Beirut are ready to assist you in the process: contact us for further information at email@example.com
Eptalex- Aziz Torbey Law Firm (Eptalex – ATLF) proved its standing in the Lebanese legal market once again after getting ranked by the IFLR1000 of 2019 in the financial and corporate practice area.
The IFLR1000 is the guide to the world’s leading financial and corporate law firms and lawyers. It has been researching over 120 jurisdictions and legal markets for 29 years now. The ranking is based on three key criteria: transactional evidence, peer feedback and client feedback.
The lawyers at Eptalex – ATLF are appreciated by clients for being: “good relationship builders, knowledgeable, up-to-date and highly professional. Flexible and solutions oriented.”
Alongside the firm rankings, the IFLR also recognizes the work of leading lawyers and notable practitioners.
The IFLR “highly regarded” Ramy Torbey for possessing a strong transactional record and for earning his client’s trust due to his expertise in domestic and international business Law.
Click on the link to read more: https://www.iflr1000.com/Firm/Aziz-Torbey-Law-Firm-Lebanon/Profile/1778#review
Eptalex – Aziz Torbey Law Firm is gratified and extremely proud of this acknowledgement. The firm thanks its clients and colleagues and finds these results an encouragement to commit to its daily efforts, improve and provide the best service.
A Step Forward Towards Globalization
On October 19, 2018, Lebanon witnessed the passing of a contemporary Decree amending Decree No. 46 of June 24, 1983. The new Decree No. 85 allows the establishment of a “single-partner” offshore company. This advancement will help boost the Lebanese economic progress and put Lebanon on the investment map again.
Lebanon’s goal to achieve Today, is to become a financial hub in the Middle East. Despite all the ups and downs in the region, The Lebanese banking sector preserved its stability and proved to be reliable and firm. In addition, Lebanon earned the International Community’s trust again after it solidified its legal battle against financial crime. Notably, when it confirmed its commitment towards greater tax transparency by implementing the Automatic Exchange of Information and signing the CRS Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement.
Lebanon is aligning with the powerful business centers in the world by implementing this new law, it is also opening the door of opportunities and facilitating corporate operations.
What makes the new Decree appealing is that firstly, it gives any person, whether he/she is a Lebanese or a foreigner, an individual or a legal entity, the right to establish a “single-partner” offshore company. According to Article 10, this “single-partner” handles the company’s management and is responsible for all the duties and tasks of the company’s board. He/she can singularly sign on all the decisions and has the right to appoint directors with respect to the laws and regulations of the country.
Secondly, as provided in Article 3, the “single-partner” has the chance to open the company’s bank accounts wherever he/she wants in the world. The offshore company’s capital can either be in Lebanese Pounds or in any foreign currency as long as the yearly accounts are declared in one currency only. The company’s capital should also be divided equally and represented by nominal shares.
Another benefit that may attract foreign investors is that if the “single-partner” or the authorized partner for signature is a foreigner, he/she will be exempted from acquiring a Lebanese work permit and will face no restrictions for being a shareholder or a board member of any other company too. Any such company with a minimum balance of 1 Billion Lebanese Pounds annually can offer its employees an exemption from obtaining a work permit too, which smoothens the recruitment process.
This step pushes Lebanon forward into exposing its market to foreign investments and cross-border projects. It also unfolds another fresh track of doing Business in Lebanon by encouraging businessmen from all around the world to run their businesses abroad, invest in the Lebanese sectors or take part of this rising competitive market.
GBL ALLIANCE – Milan Autumn Conference
On October 11 and 12, 2018, Eptalex Milan had the pleasure of hosting GBL’s Alliance Autumn Conference with great success. It has been a great opportunity for all GBL Members and best friends to share different working experiences and approaches as well as to spend time together in order to discuss the developments of this young, but already efficient, network.
Our Milan office hosted an informative and dynamic event, coordinating more than 50 delegates getting together from all around the globe and organizing their stay in Milan, the working sessions and the social activities, reflecting the well-known Italian hospitality and savoir-faire.
The Conference opened with a keynote speech from Karin Wiig, of Double I International, Paris, who gave a sharp presentation on GBL’s growth since 2017, as well as on business and marketing strategies for the network’s future development.
Due to established long-standing relations with firms in India and Chile, Eptalex JGlegal offered the delegates insightful presentations delivered by Baljit Singh Kalha from Titus&Co., Advocates, of New Delhi, India and by Juan Enrique Allard from Guerrero Olivos, of Santiago, Chile, who not only presented us with an extremely interesting and promising overview of the legal market and the marketing and business strategies in their respective jurisdictions, but they both reminded us all of the importance of being our clients’ business partners.
The second day keynote speeches were characterised by a more ‘hands-on’ and client-oriented approach. Bruno Courtine, from Vaughan, Paris, France, presented a successful example of a case where different members successfully worked together. His presentation was followed by the keynote speeches from Andrea Citterio, of T4F S.r.l., Milan, Italy, and Patrizia Tomasicchio, HR & Legal Director Southern Europe for Pandora Italia S.r.l., who both stressed the importance, from a client point of view, of being supported by a legal team capable of being flexible and dynamic enough to understand and adapt to the ever-evolving needs and expectations of the clients and, again, of being business partners for our clients and not mere legal advisors.
The next Conference will be in Wroclaw, Poland from March 13 to 15, 2019. Save the date!!!
Copyright: Pictures by Rolf Trijber
From October 4th till October 7th, Eptalex – Aziz Torbey Law firm, represented by Me. Rania Merhej, participated in the IBLC (International Business Law Consortium) Annual General Meeting that was held in Lisbon and hosted by abpa Advogados. The meeting included a joint program with IECnet – International Association of Accountants, Auditors and Tax Consultants – and aimed at growing and enhancing the collaboration between the law firms, and between the latters and accountants, auditors and tax consultants. The joint professional program and sessions with IECnet covered the following main topics: IBLC and IECnet Team Up in Practice, Valuations in Practice, Experts, Tracing and Forensics with IECnet. As for the IBLC program, it tackled essentially trade and investment, and also included: presentations of new law firms that recently joined IBLC, election of new IBLC councilors, suggestions about future meetings, and other discussions… The IBLC meeting ended by a sightseeing trip to Cascais and Sintra, enjoying the beauty of Portugal!
Thanks to the international exposure of Francesca Ferrari, head of the IP department at Jgleal, and the synergy between our offices in Milan and Beirut, and Ramy Torbey joined the Advisory Board of the Association and Media and Entertainment Counsel based in California (USA), as the only Lebanese representative. The AMEC is a 12 year old organization comprised of more than 14,000 accomplished men and women working in a variety of executive roles including in-house counsel and business affairs attorneys at major entertainment and media companies and law firms.
Blockchain, as we know it, is “an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”
It is more effective, cheaper and faster than the human intermediates. It could be regarded as a huge database that regroups transactions between several users and as a secure system of data sharing while others. Some people perceive it as a valuable solution on many levels, while for others, it raises many legal issues as they tend to consider it a direct threat to our traditional legal system.
One might even ask if in twenty years we would still have recourse to the notary to register a real estate property sale if this kind of databases is officially adopted in Lebanon? ….. Even more, some government institutions might become “obsolete”, different registers might vanish if this system is adopted. The adepts of this data system claim that the Blockchain is “incorruptible” which is till now a fiction rather than a reality, they also promote that the same document is duplicated many times throughout the network as it is hosted by thousands if not by millions of computers around the world.
The decentralization minimizes the risk of data loss which is to a certain extent a great advantage. This could benefit the users as well as the institutions because the files, simultaneously synchronized become a hard task for the hackers to modify or to corrupt.
If by chance any user manages to modify any of these files, one might wonder about the consequences this instantaneous synchronization process might generate. One person at least holds the source code of the algorithms and can consequently modify the information and consequently the substance and the structure of the whole chain. On the other hand, we could easily raise the question of the legal value of the document once modified by any of the network users, as well as between the different parties or before the courts (the proof), while in the old archiving systems, besides the personal contact, a signed and certified copy of the documents is delivered to the depositary upon his request.
In the traditional system, the parties produce their id card before the official authority unlike the Blockchain system that doesn’t go behind the IP address, the computer ID, the Windows version or the browser details, which doesn’t give a clue about the person sitting behind the machine. This could eventually lead to the “mistaken identity – erreur sur la personne” that often constitutes the grounds for the annulment of the legal acts.
Theoretically, the “system” checks the truthfulness of the information through the confrontation of several databases before delivering the authentication certificate leaving no place for traditional errors. This network of nodes needs big computing resources to modify its data and it checks its own consistency every ten minutes, but the error margin still exists if, since the beginning, the inputted data is erroneous. The synchronization procedure might not take into account the newly inputted correct information especially when the wrong one has been circulating in the network for a long period of time.
What would be the responsibility of the different users in case of bad certification? Are the computer owners responsible for hosting wrong information? What is the true value of this newly adopted digital proof system?
Till this day, the Blockchain is mainly used to support cryptocurrencies like the Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, the Ethereum etc. but it also has other applications like the file sharing platforms we know today i.e. google cloud and it can also be used in the medical field to stock, decentralize and anonymize patient related information. Consequently, it needs to be properly codified to avoid practical and legal issues and keep our legal system and transactions safe, therefore, we suggest keeping the traditional registers as a valuable backup copy of this “virtual” revolutionary tool, within the rise of the machines’ era.
1. Tapscott Don & Tapscott Alex, “Blockchain Revolution: how the technology behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is changing the world”, digital edition, 2018.