Overview & Experience

Our Litigation & Arbitration department is broadly based and has acquired unrivalled expertise, being the first in the country to be organized along departmental lines. Disputes being an inevitable consequence of business activity in an increasingly regulated, high-speed environment, we aim to provide our clients with advice that is sound, realistic and forthright.

Our lawyers’ experience ranges from representation in the lower courts to the High Court of Cassation and Justice, as well as in the Constitutional Court and extends to national and international arbitration (ICSID, ICC and UNCITRAL procedures). Most of our instructions have involved highly complex cases, including voluminous documents and heavy research work. We work closely with our clients (most of which are multinational corporations and large local companies) to understand their needs, before recommending the right solution.

Our work in the contentious field has involved all types of disputes, including:

  • Commercial litigation, including with respect to acquisitions, mergers, joint venture disputes, emergency injunctive actions, shareholders rights, post-closing and material adverse event (MAE) disputes, corporate governance, and securities,
  • Administrative and Fiscal Litigation
  • Competition litigation, including with respect to claims arising under competition and unfair competition rules,
  • Public Procurement litigation, in all sectors, and in all phases of such procedures,
  • Intellectual Property litigation, including defense, enforcement and commercial exploitation of patents, trademarks and copyrights, as well as the defense of products and services facing a threat from others’ intellectual property assets,
  • Insolvency & Bankruptcy litigation
  • Other complex litigation, including breach of contract, fraud, professional malpractice, insurance and reinsurance matters, labour, real estate, maritime claims, family law, successions and additional claims raised during enforcements, court rulings and arbitral awards, etc.,
  • Arbitration, where we act as arbitrators and counsel in arbitral proceedings throughout the world, including the key arbitration centres of Paris, Geneva, Vienna or London.

GHEORGHE BUTA
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Of Counsel

Areas of practice: Litigation & Arbitration, Criminal Law (White-Collar Crime), Corporate & Commercial Law

Phone: +40 21 202 59 08

Fax: +40 21 223 04 95

E-mail: gheorghe.buta@musat.ro

Address: 43 Aviatorilor Boulevard, 1st District, Code 011853, Bucharest, Romania

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Practice Highlights. A selection of our deal highlights includes:

  • Representing the Romanian Government and the Ministry of Finance in a complex litigation case following a large reorganisation of the Ministry of Finance, in the context of the restructuring of the whole Governmental apparatus.
  • Representing BCR Banca Pentru Locuințe (a member of the Erste Bank group), in an EUR 300 million regulatory dispute with the Romanian Court of Accounts, before the High Court of Cassation and Justice, concerning the implementation of the Bauspar system in Romania. This mandate is a land mark case for the banking industry its resolution having an impact on more than half a million Bauspar customers.
  • Representing Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding B.V. (the military shipbuilding division of Damen Group) before the Romanian Courts in a public procurement dispute aimed at cancelling an EUR 1.26 billion military public procurement contract for the acquisition of corvettes.
  • Successfully representing the consortium Rheinmetall Man Military Vehicles GmbH (an international technological group specialized in security and mobility) and MHS Truck & Bus S.R.L. (sole importer of the Rheinmetall products in Romania), in an EUR 800 million public procurement dispute aimed at cancelling the award of a military public procurement contract for the acquisition of military trucks for breaches of law.  Our role included both legal advice on the venture of the two bidders, as well as litigation and representation in successfully challenging the legality of the tender.
  • Representing Damen Shipyards Mangalia S.A., a joint venture between the Damen Shipyards group (a global group involved in ship construction) and the Romanian State, in its dealings with the Romanian State. DSMa’s structure is unprecedented. This is the single venture locally where the Romanian state is a majority owner, and the management of the company lies with the minority shareholder. This structure sometimes results in conflicts between legal provisions applicable to state own companies in general, and legal provisions applicable specifically to such venture structure. Our role is to assist Damen in successfully navigating such matters in line with the agreed commercial terms of the venture.
  • Representing Enel (one of the largest energy providers in Europe), as lead legal counsel, in highly complex ICC arbitration proceedings (seat of arbitration: Paris) involving multiple claims in excess of USD 1,200,000,000. The dispute raised challenging issues related to the corporate, commercial, taxation, environmental and energy sectors.
  • Representing ZTE Corporation and local affiliate ZTE Romania, in a highly complex litigation, part of a global dispute with NPE Vringo Infrastructure, covering the jurisdictions of Romania, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom, the United States, referring to allegations of infringement of a Standard Essential Patent for 4G/LTE technology.
  • Advising and representing Electrica Furnizare S.A., one of the key players in the electricity supply industry, in connection with several administrative and fiscal litigations derived from the audit reports conducted by the Romanian Court of Auditors, as well as in the insolvency proceedings against Oltchim S.A. whose total table of receivables exceeds EUR 750,000,000.
  • Successfully representing the Romanian Government against Noble Ventures (U.S.), in a complex ICSID arbitration, with aggregate claims exceeding USD 350,000,000. The claim, successfully settled in favor of the Romanian State, has been initiated by an US investor alleging Government’s failure to comply with the provisions of the Bilateral Investment treaty between Romania and the U.S.A.
  • Successfully acting for ThyssenKrupp, in relation to one of the most complex international litigation cases, pending in Romania for over 27 years, having a claim value of USD 50,000,000 and arising from the sale and purchase of steel concluded during the Communist political regime.
  • Representing Rompetrol Group N.V., one of the largest gas and refining businesses in the country, in three major litigations in Romania, in the context of the repayment by Rompetrol of a historical debt in total value of EUR 570,000,000 to the Romanian State. Further acting for Rompetrol in one of the highest-profile disputes, initiated against CNVM (the National Securities Commission), involving claims of USD 50,000,000 (the biggest damage ever claimed by a private investor from a public authority in Romania) and challenging several administrative deeds issued by CNVM.
  • Representing Enel in highly complex ICC arbitration proceedings (seat of arbitration: Paris) regarding the Put Option exercised by the Romanian State, acting through the State Participations Agency under a sale purchase agreement, involving claims in excess of EUR 520,000,000.
  • Successfully representing the President of Romania, in relation to the annulment of the Report issued by the National Integrity Agency (ANI) accusing Mr. Iohannis of the violation of the legal provision regarding compatibility, as well as in relation to the annulment of the Report by which the National Integrity Agency (ANI) determined that Mr. Iohannis violated the laws regarding the avoidance of the conflict of interests. Both files were successfully managed by our legal team, and the courts of law determined on a final basis the inexistence of the conflict of interests, as well as of the incompatibility held by ANI.
  • Representing Leoni A.G. (a member of Leoni Group) and its Romanian affiliate, the leading global supplier of wires, cables and wiring systems, as well as a provider of related development services, in various court cases related to the investigation of a transnational informatics fraud, which lead to a series of fraudulent transfers in amount of EUR 39,552,000.
  • Representing CAF – Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles S.A. Bilbao (a global leader in the manufacture and supply of high-tech rolling stock), in a criminal file investigated by the National Anticorruption Directorate – Central Structure in relation to the public procurement procedure carried out by the Bucharest Underground Company Metrorex S.A. for a framework agreement of a total of EUR 300,000,000.
  • Acting for Romprest, a leading local service provider, in a litigation concerning an agreement for public procurement of services, with a total value of EUR 450,000,000.
  • Representing Enel Investment Holding B.V. and Enel Distribuzione S.p.A. in a complex ICC arbitration case deriving from the privatization of major state owned branches, involving claims in excess of USD 59,000,000.
  • Representing Colas, a world leader in construction and maintenance of infrastructure for transport, urban development and facilities, in three complex ICC arbitration cases (seat of arbitration: Geneva, Bucharest) arising from international construction contracts (infrastructure projects) with the aggregate amount in dispute exceeding USD 95,000,000.
  • Successfully represented Panalpina, one of the world’s leading providers of supply chain solutions, in litigation for the recovery of the cargo aboard the “A Ladybug”, one of the largest ships in the world, carrying goods valued at more than EUR 70,000,000. We have also assisted the client on specific liability issues raised from the seizure, by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, of 3 military MIG-21 BIS aircrafts belonging to the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Mozambique.
  • Advising Roche Romania (an affiliate of the Swiss global healthcare company), in various pharmaceutical litigations dealing with claims worth over EUR 100,000,000.

Other representative mandates in the area of Litigation and Arbitration include

  • Representing Teamnet International S.A., in connection with various disputes (administrative, civil, criminal, fiscal, insolvency, etc.) derived from the contractual agreements concluded with Romanian State Authorities, enforcement proceedings initiated for recovering of alleged debts (amounting over EUR 85 million), insolvency proceedings, etc.
  • Advising UTI Grup S.A., one of the most important holding of companies in Romania, in various legal cases (with claims up to EUR 40 million), in relation to complex public-procurement contracts comprising objectives related to the infrastructure of Cluj-Napoca Airport and IT software for public authorities (IT platform for public procurement contract acquisitions) and other legal matters related to contractual disputes.
  • Assisting the Romanian Academy in the first litigation on copyright protection that analyses the critical edition of a classic text, after the ECJ laid down the harmonized conditions of protection in “Football Data Co”.
  • Kaufland Romania, the Romanian division of German retailer Schwarz-Gruppe, in the file regarding the investigation of alleged criminal offenses committed by the former mayor of Bucharest District 6, Cristian Poteras, and members of the Subcommittee on Local Land Fund, in connection with the issuance of land titles.
  • Representing SIF Transilvania, one of the largest financial investment funds in Romania, listed on the Bucharest Stock Exchange, in relation to various complex disputes with a total value of EUR 127,000,000.
  • Representing Antena TV Group, second largest Romanian Television & Media group, in complex litigation files on Competition law and Intellectual Property involving claims in excess of EUR 100,000,000.
  • Assisting and representing Piraeus Bank, a leading Greek bank, (now First Bank) in multiple files having as object the evidence regarding the legitimacy of the enforcement procedures initiated against various debtors and/or the abusive character of the contractual clauses in agreements concluded with the clients of the bank.
  • Representing Copisa Constructora Pirenaica (part of the Copisa Group, one of the major Spanish construction companies), in relation to several civil disputes in public procurement matters, as well as in respect with domestic litigations regarding public procurement proceedings in connection with works and services of public interest. The value of the deals exceeds EUR 90,000,000.
  • Representing Delta A.C.M. 93’, an important local construction and engineering company, in a complex arbitration in front of the Court of International Commercial Arbitration attached to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania, in relation to various claims deriving from a FIDIC contract regarding a major project for the extension of water and sewage systems.
  • Representing Orange Romania, before Romanian administrative authorities and competent courts of law, in connection with the annulment of a public procurement procedure for services in an aggregate amount of EUR 17,000,000, as well as regarding the annulment of development permits for various mobile telephony websites.
  • Successfully representing several leading pharmaceuticals entities (Novo Nordisk – a Denmark-based pharmaceutical company and world leader in the production of insulin and diabetes treatments, Servier Pharma – a leading international pharmaceutical company, Farmexim – leading national pharmaceutical distribution company, Octapharma – world-wide provider of human proteins) in a series of administrative disputes regarding the payment of the claw-back contribution for financing the Romanian public health system.
  • Representing Leumi Bank in various complex litigation cases covering a wide array of disputes, ranging from corporate and commercial disputes, labor, insolvency and white collar crime investigations, with a total value of more than EUR 30,000,000.
  • Representing a leading foreign investor in Romania and his group of companies in an ICSID arbitrage against the Romanian State, with a total value of claims of more than EUR 300,000,000.
  • Assisting the Romanian National Railway Company “CFR” S.A., in a high-stake international commercial arbitration under the ICC Rules entailing multiple claims and counterclaims regarding a multitude of complex contractual, jurisdictional, and legal matters, in connection with one of the largest infrastructure project in Romania estimated at EUR 828,000,000 and financed by the European Investment Bank and the European Union regarding the rehabilitation of a major railway border line.
  • Representing the Authority for State Assets Recovery (AVAS), as civil liable party, in the criminal case initiated further to the bankruptcy of the National Investment Fund (NIF) which was compelled to pay awarded damages of EUR 100,000,000 to various individuals and legal entities, members of the NIF (this case involving particularly significant financial and social issues entailed by cashing down certain investment funds).
  • Representing the Government of Romania and the Ministry of Education and Research before the Romanian courts, in disputes regarding public procurement agreements, with claims exceeding EUR 70,000,000.
  • Successfully representing one of the largest property developers in Europe, in an ICC arbitration concerning the construction and development of a major retail real estate project, with claims exceeding EUR 60,000,000.
  • Acting as lead counsel for Mytilineos Holding (Greece), in defending claims amounting to EUR 32,000,000 in UNCITRAL arbitration proceedings, stemming from the privatization contract of a major metallurgical Romanian company.
  • Representing a major German project development company, in relation to a EUR 30,000,000 arbitration case before the International Court of Arbitration of the Romanian Chamber of Commerce.
  • Representing United Shipping Agency, the largest provider of stevedoring services in the Constanta seaport, in a complex dispute among shareholders, with total claims valued at EUR 30,000,000.
  • Representing the Romanian Authority for Privatization (APAPS) in a USD 24,800,000 litigation file against Shapiro Bancorp LLC – Nevada, following the latter’s failure to meet the investment obligations undertaken in accordance with the privatization agreement of Biofarm S.A.
  • Representing Romatsa (the Romanian Air Traffic Authority), in the criminal file investigated by the Prosecutors’ Office with the High Court of Justice, in relation to an aviation accident which took place in Romania.
  • Successfully representing the Municipality of Sinaia regarding a dispute with the leasing company Dunărea IFN S.A., the financing entity for the Sinaia Gondola Lift.
  • Assisting Banca Transilvania, one of the largest banks in Romania, in different corporative disputes with the most significant minority shareholder, as well as in connection with the claim over a property amounting to EUR 5,000,000.
  • Acting as counsel for a major Romanian construction company, before the Court of International Commercial Arbitration attached to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania, in defending claims deriving from infrastructure development agreements.
  • Successful representation of a leading Romanian politician, during the procedures for challenging the validity of his nomination for the position of Member of the European Parliament, as well as in the case file which had as object the challenge by the National Integrity Agency of the validation of his Member of the European Parliament mandate.
  • Legal assistance and successful representation of a leading Romanian public figure, in relation to the annulment of the evaluation report by means of which the National Integrity Agency held the violation by the client of the legal treatment of incompatibilities.
  • Assisting a leading Italian manufacturer, active in the fields of construction and management of environmental and industrial engineering works, in a complex ICC arbitration case arising from the termination of a FIDIC Contract.
  • Representing Adesgo S.A., a leading company acting in the field of light industry, before various courts of law in connection with a post-privatization litigation with claims exceeding EUR 15,000,000.
  • Assisting and representing A&S International 2000, a major local player in the research of veterinary science and biotechnological production, in relation to a dispute arising from a concession agreement of 9,000 ha of land, with an approximate value of EUR 15,000,000.
  • Representing Indian England N.V., in relation to a commercial litigation commenced against one of the largest Romanian soda ash manufacturers, in view of recovering outstanding payables of approximately EUR 12,000,000.
  • Representing Dytras (Spain), a highly specialized drinking water treatment and wastewater purification company, in a complex commercial dispute arising from the enactment of the contractor agreement signed with local subcontractors.
  • Representing Groupama, one of the major European mutual insurance, banking and financial services groups, with regard to several litigations arising from agricultural insurance indemnities, with a total value of EUR 6,100,000.
  • Representing Aecom Inocsa S.L., a major Spanish engineering company, part of a world renowned American group publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange, in relation to an arbitration under the rules of the Court of International Commercial Arbitration attached to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania (seat of arbitration: Bucharest), regarding claims deriving from a Joint Venture Agreement, with an amount in dispute in excess of EUR 2,350,000.
  • Representing Generali Fond de Pensii, in relation to the challenge of a decision rendered by the Romanian Competition Council.
  • Retained by BNP Paribas, the European leader in global banking and financial services, with regard to a dispute generated by the enforcement of certain guarantee agreements on stocks of crude oil in Romania.
  • Representing NBGI Private Equity, a leading European private equity fund, affiliated to the National Bank of Greece.
  • Representing a group of private investors in an administrative dispute with the Romanian National Securities Commission (CNVM), on allegations of unlawful concerted actions in specially regulated entities.
  • Representing Prointec, a Spanish provider of advisory services for infrastructure development, in a complex FIDIC litigation before the Romanian courts, claims in excess of EUR 3,000,000.
  • Representing Eli Lilly before Romanian courts, in relation to a complex litigation against the Competition Council, regarding the cancellation of a decision whereby the client was sanctioned for alleged anti-competitive actions.
  • Representing Institutul Pasteur S.A., the oldest and most important scientific research institute for veterinary medicine in Romania, in a special procedure challenging a judgment passed by the High Court of Cassation and Justice in relation to a multimillion real estate dispute.
  • Representing Electrolux before various courts of law, in connection with a post-privatization litigation.
  • Representation of one of the most important distributors of healthcare products in Romania, in a tax litigation against the National Agency for Fiscal Administration (NAFA), in connection with VAT, corporate tax, as well as other liabilities to the State budget.
  • Retained by the Romanian Government, represented by the Romanian Ministry of Finance, in a UNCITRAL arbitration case, before the Permanent Arbitration Court in The Hague, initiated by an investor under the Bilateral Investment Treaty signed by Romania and Poland.
  • Representing Eureko, a leading insurance company, in a complex commercial litigation initiated against the company, in relation to alleged insurance claims amounting to over EUR 7,000,000.
  • Representing Elgeka Ferfelis, a leading distributor of various FMCG goods in Romania, in a complex commercial litigation with claims exceeding EUR 5,000,000 arising from the infringement of an exclusive distribution agreement in Romania.
  • Representing the Romanian subsidiary of Remco, a Dutch construction company, in a domestic arbitration case before the International Court of Commercial Arbitration attached to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania.
  •  Representing Generali Holding Vienna, in a complex arbitral litigation file before ICC.
  • Representing Orange Romania S.A., in a complex administrative litigation against several measures enacted by the National Communications Regulatory Authority.
  • Successfully acted for Credit Europe Bank (Romania) S.A. before the courts of law, in connection with an Euro multi-million commercial litigation against one of the major Romanian insurance companies, as well as in relation to the conclusion of a settlement agreement on behalf of the client.
  • Representing Societatea Romana de Televiziune (Romanian Television Broadcasting Network), in a complex arbitration administered under the Independent Film Television Alliance Arbitration Rules (seat of arbitration: California) arising out of a film license agreement, involving claims of approximately EUR 5,000,000. The dispute entailed the analysis of complex aspects of international arbitration procedure, the application of international private law and European Union law, as well as various issues of substantive law pertaining to the film and media industry.
  • Representation of Nokia Romania before the courts of law, in a case file having as object the annulment of the tax and administrative documents issued by the National Agency for Fiscal Administration.
  • Successful representation of Financial Supervisory Authority, in a litigation against Fondul Proprietatea S.A., in connection with the legitimate refusal of the authority to approve the amendment of some of the clauses of the company management contract.
  • Representing the Romanian National Air Transportation Company, Tarom, in several employment litigations.
  • Representation of Omniasig Vienna Insurance Group S.A., insurance company, in numerous litigation against the Policyholders Guarantee Fund, aiming at compensations related to the debits taken over from Astra Asigurări.
  • Representation of Generali Asigurări, in a litigation where former collaborators of the company requested the payment of various damages and compensations amounting to approx. EUR 750,000.
  • Representation of the Builders’ Social Fund, a social service parity organization in the field of constructions in Romania, in a series of litigation with local public authorities, regarding the statutory rate of 0.5% related to the construction works, due to C.S.C.
  • Representing the Romanian National Railway Company “CFR” S.A., in a complex ICC arbitration concerning the performance of a FIDIC agreement for the modernisation of Timisoara rail station, one of the oldest and major rail hubs in Romania. The aggregate amounts claimed by the parties in arbitration round up to EUR 3,500,000. The legal work included drafting several rounds of submissions on merits, providing assistance during the process of taking evidence, including witness and evidentiary hearings. The firm has also been successful in obtaining favourable awards against a partial award request and against interim measures request.
  • Assisting a major energy trading and investment group, regarding potential ICSID claims arising in connection with the termination of energy supply agreements.
  • Assisting Strabag, a major Austrian constructor, regarding all legal ways available to enforce several dispute adjudication decisions issued under FIDIC auspices.
  • Successfully representing Delta Antrepriză de Construcții și Montaj 93 S.A., an important local construction and engineering company, in a high-stake preliminary ruling procedure in front of the Court of Justice of the European Union regarding the interpretation of article 57 (4) letter g) of the Directive 2014/24/EU on public procurement and repealing Directive 2004/18/EC. The preliminary ruling arose in connection with the interpretation of “significant or persistent deficiencies”, as grounds for exclusion.

Accolades 


"The legal team offers a well-rounded and very dynamic dispute resolution practice, with regional and multinational coverage. A firm with international standards and an important local player. " Source: The Legal 500

"Highly respected team with excellent knowledge of the field, they offer good solutions and they are able to understand the most complex legal cases. Their firm provides exceptional quality of work with a great team of lawyers displaying depth of knowledge." Source: Legal 500

Clients say: "The seasoned team of partners and associates can meet the entire range of legal needs of the client, from corporate to highly specialised areas, and always delivers outstanding service and results." Source: Chambers Europe

Clients values the lawyer's "experience and responsiveness." Source: Chambers Europe

"Gheorghe Buta leads Muşat & Asociaţii’s team; he is assisting the Romanian Academy with a dispute pertaining to copyright matters regarding the translation of a critical edition of a classic text." Source: Legal 500

One clients praises the team's "excellent technical knowledge and capability to quickly adapt the strategy if needed in very complex legal cases." Source: Chambers Europe

Muşat & Asociaţii has "an excellent, experienced team". Source: Legal 500

"These lawyers are innovative, creative and dedicated to finding the best solutions, no matter the complexity of the problem." Source: Chambers Europe

"Mușat & Asociaţii acts for individuals and businesses in high-value commercial disputes and white-collar crime matters." Source: Legal 500

“Quality and timely advice” is the hallmark of this national practice. The team is praised by clients for its “experienced and skilful litigators who are extremely client-focused”. Source: Chambers Europe

Highly recommended in Dispute Resolution by Chambers Global.

Muşat & Asociaţii has a strong dispute resolution team, that has been appreciated by Legal 500 Europe as “very dynamic”, with “strong knowledge and experience” and is noted for its expertise in arbitration and all areas of litigation. Source: Legal 500

Sources say “it was able to provide specialized lawyers in no time - the firm is outstandingly reactive”. Source: Chambers & Partners

Ranked as “Leading” law firm in Dispute Resolution by the highly regarded British publication Legal 500 Europe, Middle East & Africa.

“Muşat & Asociaţii’s full involvement in cases is really appreciated”. Moreover, “Muşat combines deep technical knowledge and a high level of business awareness”. Source: Chambers Europe, 2013

“Adept in fiscal litigation, the firm has worked on complex bankruptcy litigations.” Source: Chambers & Partners

“Muşat & Asociaţii retains significant capability in the disputes field.” Source: Legal 500

“The team is very experienced and responsive. We really appreciate the lawyers' vast industry knowledge and excellent services.” Source: Chambers & Partners

“This firm offers a well-rounded and comprehensive dispute resolution practice, with regional and multinational coverage.” Source: Chambers & Partners

“The broad-based practice covers arbitrations for international clients, as well as large commercial disputes on the domestic front.” Source: Legal 500

“Muşat & Asociaţii's strong practice has a proven track acting for both public-sector bodies and private companies defending and pursuing litigation claims.” Source: Legal 500

The team is praised by clients as being “able to reconcile parties and resolve disputes before recourse to the courts, a great and important skill for companies, saving time and money”.

Highly recommended in Dispute Resolution by Chambers Global.

“The broad-based practice covers arbitrations for international clients, as well as large commercial disputes on the domestic front.” Source: Legal 500
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