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Panel Presentation on investing in Bulgaria Via Cyprus

Held on April 10th 2008 at the New York Harvard Club

On Thursday April 10 The Cyprus Trade Center hosted the event “Investing Through Cyprus – A panel presentation on investing in Bulgaria Via Cyprus”.

The event was organized in co-operation with the Bulgarian Trade and economic Relations Office, companies Bingham & McCutchen LLP, Ernst & Young, MM Consult Ltd, Seward Management Ltd, The Repton Group LLC and The Rafael Group, one of the leading Cypriot owned investment groups in Bulgaria.

The well attended event was held at the Harvard Club in Mid Town Manhattan and drew some of the top investment firms, hedge funds and members of the US Financial and Investment industry. The Opening address was given by Mr. Aristos Constantine, Trade Commissioner of The Republic of Cyprus and was followed by a welcome address by Mr. Valentin Stoev, Head of the Bulgarian Trade and Economic Relations Office.

There followed a detailed and insightful presentation regarding the benefits and methods of doing business through Cyprus for foreign investors. The panel discussion focused on the benefits of investments in Bulgaria, the use of Cyprus as a location for financial holding companies vis-à-vis Bulgaria, and touched on legal, economic and tax developments of importance. The specific topics elaborated on included: Cyprus tax treaty developments, Investment opportunities in Bulgaria, Investing in Bulgaria via Cyprus, formation and administration of investment funds in Cyprus and Bulgaria

Mr. Constantine described Cyprus as “the gateway for American corporations conducting business in the Balkans, Russia and the Middle East,” He further pointed out the many benefits of Cyprus that make it a center for business and investment such as its geographic position at the hub of three continents, linking Europe with the Middle East and Asia, state of the art technological, financial and legal infrastructure and a significant investment in intellectual property. The fact that 78% of the Cyprus economy is comprised of the services sector with one of the most highly educated workforces in Europe with a uniquely global perspective, combined with a liberal and attractive tax structure provides unique benefits to American companies establishing operations there.

Mr. Stoev stated about Bulgaria that “As one of the newest member states of the European Union, since its accession to the European Union, International and in particular U.S. investments in Bulgaria have increased at a soaring rate.”

He further emphasized that “Bulgaria is the largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) per capita in the Balkans region, with a dramatic increase in the last couple of years, a large percentage of which has come through Cyprus.”

Mr. Pedro Fugas of Ernst & Young described Cyprus as one of Europe's leading corporate holding jurisdictions due to its advantageous corporate tax system which includes a flat 10% corporate tax rate and no withholding tax and extensive and favorable double tax treaties with other countries.

Outlining its strategic location and membership to the European Union, Mr. Pelaghias of Seaward Management spoke of the ability for American and other companies to penetrate new markets such as Bulgaria and other non EU countries by utilizing a Cyprus model for foreign investment.

Rafael Group, one of the largest Cypriot owned investment Groups in the region with a network of agents and representatives throughout Bulgaria and Cyprus described their own model utilizing Cyprus Special Investment Vehicles (SIVs) for investment into the Balkans. Rafael gave a detailed analysis of its methodology and benefits for its international investors utilizing a Cyprus model to carry out direct investment in Bulgaria through Cyprus.