Koutalidis and Karatzas & Partners Advise on JP Morgan’s Investment in Viva Wallet

The Koutalidis law firm, working with Davis Polk & Wardwell, has advised Viva Wallet’s shareholders on the sale of a 49% stake in the company to JP Morgan. Karatzas & Partners and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised the buyer.

The transaction remains contingent on regulatory approval.”This milestone transaction sets the stage for JPM’s payments business to develop future international products and services across European small and midsize businesses,” Karatzas & Partners informed. “It also signifies confidence in the potential of the Greek fintech industry and is expected to support the growth of Viva through payments innovation.”

JP Morgan is a US-based financial services provider with operations worldwide. The company specializes in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management.

Viva Wallet is an Athens-headquartered cloud-based neobank with offices in 23 European countries. The company provides card acceptance services through its POS application, add-on Google Play devices, and payment systems in online stores.

“Viva Wallet’s mission is to change the way businesses pay and get paid in Europe with cutting edge technology, unprecedented agility, and in-depth knowledge of the European payments landscape,” Viva Wallet CEO Haris Karonis commented. “This strategic investment from JP Morgan’s payments business will enable us to complete the build-out of our vision to deliver fully localized payments and transactions services to SMBs across Europe.”

The Karatzas & Partners team was led by Partner Catherine Karatzas and included Partner Georgios Minoudis, Senior Counsels Nikos Askotiris and Aggeliki Tsatsi, Senior Associates Vassilis Goulielmos, Sonia Saranti, and Alexandros Anagnostopoulos, Associates Olga Vinieri, Stavroula Simitzi, Aris-Nikolaos Papadopoulos, Regina Keramida, Georgia Perivolioti, Mara Skiada, and Angela Boletsi, and Trainees Mariana Gravani, Pinelopi Anyfanti, and Katerina Stathakarou.

The Davis Polk & Wardwell team included London-based Partners Will Pearce and Jonathan Cooklin, Counsels Joseph Scrace, Nicholas Spearing, Matthew Yeowart, and William Tong, and Associates Sophie Bessisso, Freddie Schwier, Mark Chalmers, and Aaron Zacharias.

Dealing with the New Corporate Transparency Act

The Corporate Transparency Act (the “CTA”) was adopted on January 1, 2021, to combat the laundering of illicit funds through anonymous “shell” companies.

The CTA will require certain corporations and limited liability companies to file reports with the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), identifying all of the reporting entity’s “beneficial owners.”

Time for Compliance

Although the CTA already is in effect, companies still have time to learn and understand the reporting requirements — they begin only after final implementing regulations are promulgated by the Secretary of the Treasury.  These rules are supposed to be in effect no later than January 1, 2022, and maybe effective sooner given overwhelming bipartisan support for the CTA. Existing companies will have two years to file initial reports, while newly formed companies (or those newly registered to do business in the US) will be required to file an initial report upon formation or registration. In both cases, changes in company beneficial owners must be reported within one year.

Beneficial Owner

Subject to certain exceptions, a “beneficial owner” is defined in the CTA as “any individual who, directly or indirectly, through any contract, arrangement, understanding, relationship, or otherwise, (i) exercises substantial control over the entity; or (ii) owns or controls not less than 25 percent of the ownership interests of the entity.” Although the CTA does not define “substantial control,” FinCEN probably will clarify that phrase with implementing regulations or other guidance.

Note that “applicants” who file an application to form an entity covered by the CTA (or register a covered foreign company to do business in the U.S.) must report the same information as beneficial owners.­

Reporting Requirements

Information Required:  The information to be reported for each beneficial owner is simple:

  • full legal name;
  • birth date;
  • residential or business street address; and
  • a unique identifying number from an acceptable identification document;
    • U.S. passport;
    • state driver’s license;
    • another state-issued identification document; or
    • a current non-U.S. passport for individuals who do not hold any U.S.-issued identification documents.

Exclusions:  As the CTA is primarily targeted at shall companies, it excludes broad categories of publicly traded, regulated, nonprofit and government entities. It also excludes any company that:

  • employs more than 20 full-time employees in the United States;
  • annually reports more than $5 million in gross receipts or sales to the IRS; and
  • has an operating presence at a physical office within the U.S.


No information FinCEN collects is to be made publicly available. The CTA even imposes penalties for unlawful disclosure of reported information. In keeping with its purpose, however, the CTA allows FinCEN to disclose beneficial ownership information, upon request, to:

  • federal law enforcement agencies, including those requesting information on behalf of a non-U.S. law enforcement agency;
  • with the consent of the reporting company, to certain financial institutions; and
  • state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies pursuant to court order.


Willful failure to report, or the submission of a report containing false or fraudulent information, is subject to a penalty of $500 per day, and/or a maximum penalty of $10,000 and up to 2 years imprisonment. Even if incorrect information is reported, however, no penalty will be imposed if such information is “voluntarily and promptly” corrected within 90 days.

Further Information

If you have questions regarding whether your company will be required to comply with the CTA, the time to act is now.


Michael E. Kohagen
Ward and Smith, P.A.

Legal Do’s And Don’ts After A Car Accident

We all hope that we’ll never end up in a car accident, but the sad fact is that there are approximately six million car accidents in the US each year. So, there’s always a probability of you or someone you know being involved.

Careful driving can massively reduce the risk of ending up in an accident, but expecting the worst and preparing for every eventuality can also be a wise move.

Depending on the situation, you might have to seek out the services of a car accident lawyer, and the moves you make right after the accident could have a massive influence on how your case pans out.

Naturally, when you find yourself in an accident, you tend to panic, and it can be hard to keep your head and think clearly, especially if you or someone you know has suffered an injury. Still, to give yourself the best chance of a positive outcome, be sure to follow these simple Dos and Don’ts.

Do: Seek Medical Attention Immediately

When the accident occurs, any injuries should be treated as quickly as possible, and this is both for your own physical benefit, as well as to help support any potential legal cases that might arise if you contact a lawyer later on.

You can develop a wide range of injuries in the wake of an accident, ranging in seriousness and risk. Recovering from a neck injury could take years for example, while other issues might not be quite as serious but still demand prompt treatment.

If you plan to use a lawyer for a claim, medical reports and records will be vital in the case, so this really is essential. It’s also wise to photograph injuries and document exactly what happened too.

Don’t: Ignore Medical Advice

After seeking medical help for any injuries sustained during an accident, you might find that your doctor recommends strict bed rest or instructs you to follow certain safety protocols to minimize the risk of any further issues or injury.

Even if you feel these instructions are exaggerated or feel like your injury isn’t as bad as it seems, it’s vital to follow this advice.

If you try to make an insurance claim later on and evidence arises to show that you were still going out, attending sporting events, playing with your kids and taking on other risks against medical instructions, your chances of success could take a big hit.

Do: Seek Legal Aid Promptly

As well as looking for medical care in a timely fashion, it’s also wise to contact a lawyer as quickly as possible too. A lot of people take too long to contact a car accident lawyer. They might, instead, spend time contacting their insurance company first or posting details about the accident online with their friends and families.

All of these actions could harm your case in the long run, as any statements you provide might be used against you, and you could accidentally or inadvertently say things that will reduce your chances of a positive settlement with your insurance company.

Before you say anything or speak with any insurance agents, get in touch with a lawyer. They’ll be able to advise you through the whole process, providing some much-needed peace of mind and helping you negotiate towards a positive outcome.

Don’t: Hide Past Injuries Or Accidents

If you’ve had any past accidents or injuries, you need to let the lawyer know about them. Opposition lawyers and insurance agents could use these accidents against you, suggesting that your current injury is simply due to a prior accident, thus negating your claim.

They might even be able to view your entire medical history upon demand in order to build a case against you, so it’s important that you let your lawyer know all they need to know in order to build a solid case, without any holes that might be exploited.

A lot of people might feel that they need to hide this kind of information, and some may try to exaggerate their injuries or lie about what they can or cannot do in order to try and strengthen their case. In reality, lying will only weaken your chances of success.


Car accidents are always scary situations, and it’s normal to panic at first, but if you take your time, think clearly, and try to make rational, responsible decisions, you’ll have a much stronger chance of getting a settlement from your insurance company, rather than having to deal with more stress and problems.


Susan Melony

Legal Do’s And Don’ts For Car Accident Victims

Each and every year, around 6 million car accidents occur in the United States, leading to over 90 deaths per day and countless injuries too. The statistics make for terrifying reading, and the causes of these accidents can range from drunk-drivers to distracted driving, excessive speeding, and general negligence.

The pain and suffering caused by car accidents can be life-altering, with many people losing loved ones or dealing with serious physical and mental issues after being involved in a collision. This whole situation can be made even more stressful and traumatic when legal cases start to unfold and car accident victims worry about how they’re going to cover all of the associated costs.

Fortunately, attorneys are there to help, and there are plenty of lawyers and legal teams who have extensive experience in dealing with car accident claims, helping to provide at least some measure of justice to innocent victims of these incidents, as well as compensating them for the damages and distress they’ve endured. If you want your case to go smoothly after an accident, be sure to follow these key do’s and don’ts.

Do: Seek Medical Attention Immediately

One of the first things to do after an accident is to seek medical care. If you or anyone else in the vehicle feel that you’ve been injured, you need to get help immediately. Even if you’re only suffering from mild pain, like a slight ache in your neck or head, it could be a sign of something quite serious like whiplash, or it might get much worse if left untreated.

Head to a hospital and get yourself and any passengers checked over for injuries. This isn’t just sensible for your health and well-being, but also for any future legal cases that may occur, as opposing legal teams may try to argue against your case if you claim to have been injured in an accident but didn’t seek medical attention in the aftermath of the crash.

Don’t: Stress Out Or Wait Too Long

In the wake of an accident, it’s perfectly normal and natural for your mind to be a bit of a mess. Many people get stressed, scared, and anxious after an accident. They lose focus and don’t quite know what to do or say. As hard as it may be, try to keep your emotions under control.

Don’t panic or get angry in the wake of an accident, and try to focus on doing the important things like calling for help, contacting the cops, and getting medical care. Stay at the site of the accident until help arrives, don’t get into any kind of fights or arguments with the other driver, and don’t waste any time. Report, document, and contact an attorney right away, as every second that passes without legal aid could

Do: Document And Report Everything

As well as seeking medical attention in the wake of an accident, you should also make sure to document and report absolutely everything. It’s highly likely that you or someone else in the vehicle will have a cell phone, so use it to take some photos of the vehicle, the surrounding area of the incident, and any signs of injuries on your body too.

Report the accident to your insurance agent as soon as you can too, as well as contacting the police and sharing the full details of what happened. This is so important, as opposing legal teams may try to argue that the incident wasn’t too serious if you failed to report it to the police, or they may simply turn it into a case of your word against the other driver if you don’t have proper evidence and police reports to back up what you’re saying.

Don’t: Talk Too Much

You should absolutely report what happened after an accident to the police and your insurance provider, but you shouldn’t talk too much or answer too many questions before contacting an attorney. Once you’ve got an attorney on your side, you’ll be able to check with them and get advice on what you should or shouldn’t do.

You definitely shouldn’t sign anything or make any recorded statements in the wake of an accident, nor should you accept blame or admit to any kind of fault right away. Even if you feel that the accident was partly your fault, you may not be aware that the other driver was texting or under the influence at the time, so admitting guilt could harm your case.


Being in an accident can be quite a terrifying and life-altering experience, but you don’t have to suffer through it alone. Lawyers can help to advise you on the right course of action to take, as well as helping you file a successful case, so be sure to follow these do’s and don’ts if you ever find yourself involved in a collision.


Susan Melony