Vasiliou & Co LLC (Vasiliou Law) is a multidisciplinary law firm, headquartered in Larnaca, Cyprus. Vasiliou Law is one of the fastest-growing Cypriot law firms, with extensive and expanding clientele, ranging from private individuals to global organisations.
We met the founder and managing director of Y.Vasiliou & Co LLC. Yiannos Vasiliou and spoke with him about the services of the law firm, current situation with pandemic and its affect on the different markets.
Yiannos Vasiliou is a holder of an LLB (Hons) and LLM (Master of Laws) from the University of Central Lancashire, and is a member of the Cyprus Bar Association. He started his career in one of the divisions of the Cyprus Ministry of Justice and Public Order, which has provided him with the exposure to the legal system and prosecution, as a result of which Yiannos developed the unique skill to determine the most diligent approach in court proceedings. Thereafter he has led the legal department of an FX Brokerage Firm, whilst also participating in the development and enforcement of the Company’s mission and budgetary scheme.
Yiannos Vasiliou has excelled in the academic area, completing his dissertation in the subject of EU Citizenship by Investment: A Right of EU Member State or a violation of EU Law, which resulted as a consequence of extensive research into the subject and a high level of expertise.
He is one of the top contributors on U-Global Immigration for Cyprus, a website about citizenship and residency by investment programs worldwide https://www.uglobal.com/en/profile/yiannos-vasiliou/.
Please tell us about your law office in general.
My office is based in Larnaca, although I do have a strong presence in the Middle East and Russia, as I travel there frequently. As well as that, I am currently planning to open a representative office in the Middle East, so constant expansion is always on the cards. Primarily, Vasiliou Law is comprised of four departments: corporate, immigration, litigation and real estate, but we do have various projects outside of these areas, such as licensing in various fields, compliance setup and many more. My primary objective is to provide a tailored one-stop approach to each client, I aim to find out the end goal of the client and propose a strategy on how to achieve the said goal, followed by execution and implementation. We are a client-oriented firm.
You provide a very wide spectrum of services to your clients. What is the main vector of your law practice?
It’s hard to say. Each of the departments in my office is continuously growing. The vector changes according to the market needs and general global evolvement. Therefore, I try to adapt to the market and supply the demand.
How did the pandemic affect the law market in Cyprus?
The expectations at the start of the pandemic, along with the first lockdown were very gloomy for all of us in general, I believe. It was something that we hadn’t experienced before so it was very difficult to make projections. Once our new reality had settled in, the business resumed. I will speak for my law firm and my observations; the pandemic undoubtedly shook the whole world, for many people it was sort of a wakeup call to move forward with a business plan or personal matter, which actually generated very high volumes of work for us, even though everyone worldwide was working remotely. Luckily, we live in a time where we have such advanced technology available to us, giving us the chance to liaise and solve all queries and issues directly with the client immediately. Our firm has the privilege of having all online channels available for our clientele, which is a great advantage, enabling us to provide services to our clients.
How is the situation with real estate market in Larnaca, and what do you think about its future?
I think Larnaca is at a great stage at the moment, there are a lot of very interesting projects going on which offer very good margins and returns, whilst having lower price ranges in comparison to other cities in Cyprus. Strategically speaking, Larnaca is very favourably located; it has the sea, the port and the airport, whilst being just a short drive from Limassol, Nicosia and Ammochostos. In a few words, I think the future is bright for Larnaca.
What services do you provide for the real estate business?
We generally handle all transactions relating to real estate, from point A to Z. It may be the whole process of finding suitable projects for the client up to receipt of title deeds and relevant immigration permits, or a particular task required by the client such as legal due diligence and assistance with technical due diligence on a specific project, sale and purchase, management of a project.
Nowadays we are witnessing the big movement of foreign IT companies to Cyprus, especially to Limassol. Do you also provide your services for IT companies?
Indeed, we have various clients involved in the IT sphere both in Cyprus and abroad. For these clients we provide corporate services, assistance with IP Box Regime, registration of trademarks, licensing, as well as immigration services for the employees and their families. A very high percentage of our clientele is located in Limassol.
As you are dealing with permits and visas as well? What are your thoughts about the immigration situation in Cyprus?
Yes, we offer full range of immigration services. Immigration is usually a very sensitive topic for clients as it is very personal to each one, therefore we aim to gather all information from the client and then propose a number of available options. Thereafter, we begin the collection of all necessary documents for the selected option. All are carefully reviewed by our team from the immigration department and, once all is finalised, we proceed with the submission of documents. We fully undertake the whole procedure on immigration up until the final issuance of the relevant document.
Generally speaking, about immigration in Cyprus, I do believe that in recent years the situation has improved and overall we are on the right path. The immigration department faces large volumes of work which often causes delays, resulting in, quite reasonably, great frustration for the clients. Our aim is to provide the client with correct information and expected timeframes, instead of empty promises, and in this context, we receive many client referrals due to the service that we offer.
What are the steps, in your opinion, that should be taken to resolve the difficult situation facing immigration now?
The most difficult situation concerning immigration is the delay of applicants obtaining nationality based on years of stay. In order to resolve this matter, all professionals involved in the industry – lawyers, accountants, immigration officers – should collectively try to offer solutions through their regulating bodies instead of each one trying to help their clients individually. Other than the above, I believe that the government is continuously amending the existing immigration programmes and introducing new ones to attract foreign companies and individuals in an effort to recover from the loss of the Cyprus investment programme. I personally believe we are moving in the right direction.
I know you travel often to Moscow. Is the number of your Russian clients increasing in recent times?
Yes, I just got back from Moscow last week. The Russian market is extremely big, so it has always been one of my focus points. For this reason, I made sure to also hire Russian speakers in my firm, to overcome any possible language barrier. I believe that Cypriots and Russians share similar values and ethics which contributes to a smooth cooperation. So our Russian clientele is growing at a very stable and solid pace. In my opinion, today’s Russian clients are sound businesses with a presence in Cyprus usually having a number of serious requests – having such businesses interested in our small island is definitely a big plus. I like Moscow a lot! It is a megalopolis full of opportunities and potential. A city which is very business orientated and, as such, very close to my mind set. Apart from business, I also enjoy vacationing there, great Borsch and Shashlik!
What do you like to do when you have free time?
Free time is a luxury for me at this stage of my life, but I always try to make time for my family. I have a young daughter so, as you can imagine, all free time is devoted to her wishes and needs, so a lot of playgrounds on the weekends.
What do you wish to our readers for the new year?
We are at the end of this challenging year and, most importantly, I wish for everyone and their loved ones to be in good health. On the road to success, the rule is always to look ahead. May you reach your destination, and may your journey be incredible. Happy New Year!