The firm specializes in European Union law, with special focus on competition law (antitrust) advice and representation, State aid, electronic communications and technology law, industrial regulation, and European commercial/corporate law support to its clients.
In addition, through its Belgian partners and office in Paris, Oswell & Vahida assists its clients in Belgian law and French law, including administrative, commercial, corporate, competition, litigation and labour law matters.
On 17 April 2013, Oswell & Vahida joined officially the global network of Yingke, thus establishing Yingke’s Brussels Office.
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
Oswell & Vahida has three main areas of practice: (1) EU law, (2) Belgian law and (3) French law.
We advise on all aspects of EU antitrust/competition law as well as other complementary fields of EU law and generally ensure that clients’ business operations and agreements (joint venture, distribution, supply, agency, licenses, franchising, cooperation agreements, etc.) comply with and are not unduly hampered by the applicable legal requirements throughout Europe.
Antitrust and Competition: Advice and representation of clients in merger notifications on a European Union or national level; general advice on antitrust compliance, complaints against anti-competitive or abusive conduct; advice to merger arbitrage clients on the likely outcome of pending M&A regulatory review.
State Aid: Extensive experience in State aid complaints, all stages of administrative investigation by the European Commission and experience in appeal procedures before European Courts (both the General Court and the European Court of Justice) and national courts in matters involving State aid.
Electronic Communications and Technology: Advice and representation of public sector (e.g. regulators) and private clients across the whole spectrum or regulatory issues arising in the broadly defined electronic communications field, with multi-jurisdictional experience in Europe, Asia and Africa.
Litigation: Extensive litigation experience, especially in our areas of core expertise, before European and national courts, as well as in arbitration proceedings.
Through our Belgian partners, we advise on a broad range of Belgian domestic law matters:
Belgian Practice: Full legal support for doing business in Belgium, covering corporate law, M&A and finance law, commercial law, real-estate law, labour and social security law, environmental law, tax law and litigation.
Through our French partners, we advise on a broad range of French domestic law matters:
French Practice: Legal support addressing business transactions, corporate presence and litigation needs in France, with focus on administrative, commercial, corporate, competition, litigation and labour law.
EU merger notification and clearance, by the European Commission, of a joint venture between Sinopec and Mercuria (2013). This was the first time a Chinese SOE acquired a stake in European oil depots.
Two successive victories in litigation before the General Court (2011) and the subsequent appeal before the European Court of Justice (2013), in a case concerning the European Commission’s failure to investigate properly State aid granted to Alitalia, the Italian national airline.
Oswell & Vahida’s partners were extensively involved in the preparation of Ryanair’s defence arguments in the landmark Charleroi case (2008), in which the Commission’s finding of the grant of State aid to Ryanair was annulled.
Because of legal challenges led by our partners, the French government abolished the use of differentiation charges at French airports (2011).
Examples of clients our partners have advised or are advising on EU antitrust law matters:
·Japan Tobacco International
·Arysta Life Science
DENNIS OSWELL (MR.)
Prior to founding Oswell & Vahida, Dennis was a senior member of the European and German Competition Law practice in both the Brussels and Frankfurt offices of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.
Dennis advises on EU competition and regulatory law. He has represented clients before the various administrative agencies of the European Commission in obtaining antitrust clearance for mergers, joint ventures and other commercial agreements and has often assisted companies in complying with national merger control regimes worldwide.
Dennis counsels and represents companies in inquiries regarding their distribution and licensing agreements, the implementation of antitrust compliance programs, issues arising from potential abuse of dominance, defending clients in European Commission "dawn raid" investigations, and regulatory complaints against problematic practices or transactions by suppliers, customers, or competitors. In addition, Dennis has significant experience in the field of State aid (illegal subsidies).
Dennis has worked for a range of clients including those active in manufacturing, financial services, chemicals, life sciences, technology, the automotive sector and airlines, and he has regularly advised on the application of merger control rules to complex transactions involving private equity funds.
Dennis is a member of the New York Bar and the Brussels Bar (List “B”). His educational background includes an LL.M in European Law from the University of Brussels, which followed a B.A. at the University of Southern California and a J.D. at the Fordham School of Law. He speaks English, German and French.
ESFANDIAR FRANÇOIS VAHIDA (MR.)
Esfandiar François Vahida studied and practiced law in Paris before relocating to Belgium in 1998. Prior to co-founding Oswell & Vahida, Esfandiar was part of the regulatory/competition teams of Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Shearman & Sterling.
Esfandiar’s practice focuses on competition law (particularly State aid litigation), telecommunications/media law, and industrial regulation. Esfandiar has represented telecommunications operators in their dealings with national regulatory agencies. He has also represented clients before the Court of First Instance of the European Communities and French courts in a number of cases.
Esfandiar’s experience in contracts law focuses on negotiating and drafting contractual documents for a broad range of matters, including licensing, distribution, and network interconnection. Esfandiar is also familiar with corporate law and has been involved in the setting up and restructuring of a number of corporate entities.
Esfandiar is a member of the New York Bar, the Paris Bar and the Brussels Bar (List “E”). He studied law in Paris (Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris, D.E.A. at the University of Paris Sorbonne), followed by an LL.M. at the Harvard Law School. He speaks English, French, German and Persian.
GEORGE METAXAS (MR.)
George Metaxas is an experienced competition and electronic communications lawyer who has been practicing in Brussels since 1989. Prior to joining Oswell & Vahida in January 2008, George was a partner in the Brussels office of Hogan & Hartson.
His competition practice includes EU and international clearance of major transactions as lead outside counsel, complaints to the European Commission, general advice on competition issues, as well as state aid and cartel work.
He is widely recognized as a leading EU telecoms lawyer, advising new entrants, incumbents and regulators on a wide range of regulatory issues associated with market entry, access negotiations and disputes, "Article 7" procedures, the combined application of sector regulation and competition law, and the evolving European regulatory regime for electronic communications.
George's experience in intellectual property goes back to his work at the European Patent Office prior to his arrival in Brussels, and includes regular advice on European intellectual property matters.
His Brussels-based experience of more than 20 years also includes other categories of EU regulatory work, such as data protection, anti-dumping and regulatory advocacy.
George has co-chaired the International Bar Association (IBA) working group on the new antitrust legislation of China and has been actively involved in various related training programs and exchanges with the Chinese authorities.
He obtained his law degree at the University of Athens, and is a member of the Athens Bar and the Brussels Bar (List “E”). He speaks English, French, German and Greek.