Since the military coup earlier this year, devastating scenes of brutal violence and deep civil unrest have continued to emerge from Myanmar, along with allegations of human rights breaches and telecommunication blackouts.
Less than a decade after it came in from the cold, Myanmar is once more facing the freeze. Since the military forcefully seized power on Feb. 1 over unhappiness with the country’s elections, huge crowds of anti-coup protesters have taken to the streets daily. The crackdown seems to be intensifying, with police opening fire on protesters and threatening further violence.
With a view to firming up its informal economy, enhancing its business legitimacy and courting investment, Myanmar unveiled a new tax amnesty scheme through its Union Tax Law 2019, which was passed in September.
Kanbawza Bank Group (KBZ), one of Myanmar’s most lucrative private banks, has tapped U.S. litigation firm Williams & Connolly to represent it after a recent UN report suggested it was involved in the funding of a “genocidal” campaign against the Rohingya minority.
ZICO Law Myanmar, the Yangon-based member of the ZICO Law network, has entered into a collaboration with Korea’s Yulchon in order to serve Korean clients in Myanmar and vice-versa.
Duane Morris & Selvam has hired Tun Shin, a former attorney general of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, as senior mentor emeritus in the Yangon office. He is expected to guide the firm’s lawyers in a consultant role.
ASEAN Legal Alliance (ALA), a network of ten law firms in Southeast Asia, has opened a representative office called Lex Alliance Advisory Limited (LAA) in Yangon, Myanmar.
Singapore Big Four law firm Allen & Gledhill has represented Myanmar’s TMH Telecom on its initial public offering on the Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX).
Even as economic conditions improve in Myanmar, the Southeast Asian country remains a difficult place to open an office, given the poor infrastructure and paucity of qualified talent. Raj Gunashekar speaks to international law firms about the challenges they faced in launching a Myanmar branch.