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Bolivia - TDH500

  1. 1
    • Jaime Araújo - Araujo & Forgues
    • Luis Moreno - Moreno Baldivieso Estudio De Abogados
    • Elbio Pérez - Benítez Rivas, Pérez & Asociados
    • Mauricio Torricio - Quintanilla, Soria & Nishizawa Soc. Civ.
    • Álvaro Villegas - Tufiño y Villegas

Tax is the central pillar of Araujo & Forgues and its team, led by Jannine Forgues and Jaime Araújo (based in La Paz and Santa Cruz respectively), is considered one of the strongest in the country. Noted for its strong contentious capabilities, the department frequently acts for clients in the energy and transportation sectors and counts Empresa Minera Paitití, Minera San Cristóbal, YPFB Transporte and Yanbal among its clients.

The ‘reliable’ and ‘experienced’ lawyers at La Paz-based tax boutique Benítez Rivas, Pérez & Asociados are praised for their ‘appropriate advice’; practice head Elbio Pérez is singled out for his ‘familiarity with Bolivian laws’, ‘holistic viewpoint’ and ‘timely service’. The other key contact is Roberto Barragnán, and Gabriela del Barco is also active on tax matters. The team has several high-profile clients, and advises them on securitisations as well as tax efficiency and tax planning.

Alvaro Villegas leads Tufiño y Villegas’ ‘very strong’ team, which is praised for its ‘excellent knowledge of international tax’; Villegas and Jose Luis Tufiño are commended for their ‘extensive experience’. Gabriel Villegas is also praised for his ‘clarity’ and keeping clients ‘continually updated’, and Carolina Bustillos for ‘always following up’. The team defended Archer Daniels Midland against a tax assessment that sought $38m-worth of back taxes; after challenging the first assessment, the sum was reduced to $21m. Millicom Bolivia, which instructed the practice on a similar case, saw its tax debt reduced from $2.3m to $3,000. Other clients include Granja Avícola Integral Sofia, Sony Chile, Newrest Bolivia Soporte and Petrobras Bolivia.

The ‘excellent’, ‘responsive’ team at Ferrere is led by the ‘analytical’, ‘highly responsible’ and ‘committed’ Gerardo Villagómez, who joined the firm in April 2015 having formerly been in-house counsel at COTAS. He is supported by Carlos Pinto and associates Delma Paz and María Belen Mendívil. The developing practice counts JP Morgan Chase, Diamond Films and EasyTaxi among its recent client wins, and in recent matters assisted Ericsson obtain the reversal of an order from the tax authority that would have impaired the company’s ability to continue its commercial operations. Shell instructed the department on all tax aspects of the Bolivian leg of the energy giant’s acquisition of BG Group. Other clients of the practice include Dufry, AXS, Maersk and Grupo ACP Inversiones & Desarrollo.

Luis Moreno and senior associate Delfor Zapata head up the team at Moreno Baldivieso Estudio De Abogados and recently advised Samsung Engineering on the tax-related aspects of the construction of the $1bn Bulo Bulo ammonia and urea plant in Cochabamba. The practice also advised AON Corporation on the sale of its client portfolio and brokerage business to Estrategica (a transaction that entailed various complexities relating to VAT obligations), and Pan American Silver Corporation instructed the department on tax-related aspects of a $250m Canadian investment in Bolivia’s second-largest silver project. Other clients include Amaury Sport Organisation, AJE Group, Red Nacional Bolivisión and Constructora Ormachea.

Mauricio Torricio is the partner to contact at Quintanilla, Soria & Nishizawa Soc. Civ.. The firm’s tax practice is active in litigation as well as in tax planning and conventional regulatory matters.

Indacochea & Asociados’ ‘high-quality’ practice is led by Vivian Nieme, with support from Mariana Pereira and Alonso Indacochea. Commended for its ‘excellent advice, clear answers and short response times’, the team advised Louis Dreyfus Commodities on transfer pricing regulation matters; assisted ABL Pharma Bolivia with tax audit procedures following the company’s takeover by Grunenthal; and also acted for Scanbiotek on the tax matters relating to its merger with Protena Bolivia. The practice also handles real estate tax issues, and advised Algarrobal and Quebrachal on the lifting of a legal mortgage erroneously imposed by the Bolivian Internal Revenue Service on $12m-worth of recently purchased agricultural properties.

Bufete Aguirre Soc. Civ.’s department is led by Milenka Saavedra, with support from Fernando Aguirre and Ignacio Aguirre. Recent work saw it act for Sky Airlines on the discharging of $70,000-worth of fines imposed by the Customs Agency, and the team also advised several energy sector clients on similar matters. Clients include Empresa Minera Manquiri, Hidroélectrica Boliviana and Minera San Cristóbal; and Childfund International, PROCOSI, Tetra Pak and EMBOL also instructed the practice in 2015-16.

Mauricio Dalman leads Guevara & Gutiérrez S.C’s La Paz-based team, with support from Rodrigo Rivera. The practice has particular expertise in handling the tax aspect of large, frequently cross-border transactions, and is well-integrated with the other departments of what is a full-service firm. Recent matters include advising Alta Estética on the annulment of a $1.4m tax debt assessment, and assisting the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints with renewing the tax exemption applicable to its real estate holdings. Ferroviaria Oriental, Trafigura, Cervecería Boliviana Nacional and Praxair Bolivia are all active clients.

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