Areas of Practice
Securities and Stock
Auditing and Administrative-Financial
Bank, Finance and
Non-Governmental Organizations and Religious Entities
Real Estate and
Litigation, Arbitration and
Sectorial and Financial Regulation
Oil and Gas
Public Concessions and Privatizations
Criales & Urcullo provides legal advice to national and multinational corporations regarding incorporation, mergers, acquisitions, restructuring, transformations and dissolutions.
We are constantly advising industrial and commercial ventures in different fields, at executive and decision-making levels.
The Law Firm has provided legal services in connection with the purchase of corporations, controlling interests acquisition, foreign investments and negotiations in various areas.
We also provide legal, financial and accuonting due dilligence services regarding stock and substantial assets buying transactions.
We are effectively providing legal services to the oil and gas industry since 1990. We have been active players in three complete legislation and legal environment changes in this sector in Bolivia.
Members of our Law Firm assessed on the capitalization and privatization processes of business units of Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB), the State-owned oil and gas company in Bolivia.
We have detailed knowledge of the exports gas system to Brazil, the main oil and gas business of Bolivia. We provided a significant amount of services for over a six-year period in relation with gas sales negotiations and gas transport negotiations by the Bolivia-Brazil pipeline, on behalf of our clients YPFB and gas producers located in Bolivia.
The regulatory agencies for oil and gas in Bolivia (Superintendencia de Hidrocarburos and Superintendencia General del SIRESE) hired our services on a case-by-case basis in regard to complex regulatory hydrocarbons and energy matters, including gas prices, gas pipeline transportation, electricity generation and oil and gas commercialization.
In many occasions we provided services to the Bolivian Administration drafting regulations on this industry.
Our services include selection, structuring, negotiation, documentation, creation and administration of business entities for oil and gas and energy ventures, including joint ventures, partnerships, and other joint-ownership or joint-participation arrangements.
Recently, we performed a detailed assessment of the effects of the Hydrocarbons Law No. 3058 and the nationalization process conducted by the Bolivian Administration, including constitutional matters and international arbitration under bilateral investments treaties ratified by the Republic of Bolivia.
We constantly prepare legal opinions for our clients in diverse matters such as exploration and production contracts, taxes, joint operational agreements, regulations risks and effects and others.
Without prejudice of this intense activity, we are very careful to avoid any conflict of interest. To this effect, we perform a very careful case selection process.
Our client list in this sector included Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB), Petrobras S.A. (Brasil), Petrobras Bolivia S.A., Total Exploration & Production Bolivie, Repsol YPF, Empresa Petrolera Andina S.A., British Gas Bolivia, Panamerican Energy, Empresa Petrolera Chaco S.A., Transierra S.A., Occidental Petroleum, BJ Services – BJ Boliviana S.A., Grupo Apolo – Bolser. This client list includes the most important exploration and production companies, one of the main gas transportation for export companies and some of the main service providers of the industry in Bolivia.
Parallel to our practice in the Oil and Gas industry, we constantly provide legal services to energy companies in Bolivia and other Latin American countries.
Some members of our Law Firm provided legal counsel to the capitalization process of business units of Empresa Nacional de Electricidad (ENDE), the State-owned company for energy. Likewise, our lawyers took part of the privatization processes of Transportadora de Electricidad S.A. (TDE S.A.) and ELFEC S.A.
Our client list in this sector included Empresa Valle Hermoso S.A. and Empresa de Luz y Fuerza de Cochabamba S.A. (ELFEC), and actually include Transportadora de Electricidad S.A., The Ingelec Group LLC and affiliates in Chile and Brazil, Ingelec S.A. in Bolivia, San Cristóbal Transportadora de Electricidad S.A., Isofotón S.A. (Spain), Isofotón S.A. (Branch in Bolivia), PPL Global, Areva T&D S.A.
Our experience in this sector goes back to be members of the drafting team of the current Electricity Law (Law No. 1604 dated December 21st, 1994) and its regulations.
We have detailed knowledge of this sector in Bolivia, including the National Interconnected System (SIN) and the main isolated systems.
The regulatory agencies for electricity in Bolivia (Superintendencia de Electricidad and Superintendencia General del SIRESE) hired our services on a case-by-case basis in regard to complex regulatory energy matters.
We constantly assess the Bolivian Administration policies in regard to the energy sector, including tariffs, eventual nationalizations or expropriator attempts and related emerging litigations, covering administrative, constitutional and bilateral investments treaties matters.
We obtained various licenses and concessions under the Electricity Superintendence for diverse clients.
We constantly provide legal advice to our clients on regulatory matters, including, if necessary, litigating administrative, judicial and constitutional matters.
Without prejudice of this intense activity, we are very careful to avoid any conflict of interest. To this effect, we perform a very careful case selection process.
We are in counsel to the Bolivian Stock Exchange (Bolsa Boliviana de Valores S.A.), continuously since 1990. We are very proud to be part of the development of the securities market in Bolivia for such a long time, including, in particular, drafting the current Securities Market Law in Bolivia (Law No. 1834) and its regulations.
We recently concluded our involvement on the new electronic systems for transactions at the Bolivian Stock Exchange, including drafting regulations, agreements and legal advice.
Since 1990, we provided legal advice to all relevant transactions of the securities market in Bolivia, sometimes as lawyers to the Bolivian Stock Exchange, or in counsel to issuers, investors (such as pension funds, insurance companies, investment funds and others), investment banks, brokers and other players.
We are involved in the creation, development and services provision of the Central Depository of Bolivia (Entidad de Depósito de Valores de Bolivia S.A. – EDV), including drafting all its regulations, agreements and legal advice.
We have excellent relations with regulatory agencies of the Bolivian Government related to the securities market, including the securities, pensions and insurance regulators.
We frequently work with foreign investors and we are fully aware about certain legal environments such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Sarvanes Oxley Act of the United States of America.
We provide legal counsel in specialized matters from this sector such us underwriting agreements, securitization, and investment funds.
We provided legal services to the Bolivian Administration regarding risk capital investment mechanisms for exports and production sectors in general.
Our Law Firm engages in extensive representation in debt and equity financing transactions aggregating millions of dollars on an annual basis.
We represent sponsors of venture capital funds in their capital-raising and investing activities as well as emerging growth companies seeking venture capital financing.
We have practiced actively in the venture capital area for over 25 years and were one of the early entrants in this field. Our model agreements formed the basis of many of the agreements used in today's securities market. Accordingly, we bring a vast wealth of experience to these assignments.
We provide advice on the structuring of domestic and offshore entities; prepare placement prospectus and subscription documentation; negotiate with investors; and structure investment arrangements. We represent sophisticated institutional investors and our lawyers are knowledgeable about market terms and trends.
Additionally, we provide advice in connection with transfers of shareholders interests; capital distributions; management changes; dissolution and liquidation mechanisms.
Our practice in the financial and securities market is many times related to other strong practices we have such as Oil and Gas, Energy and Banking and Finance Law.
We are lawyers to the main players of the securities market in Bolivia, including, among others, Bisa S.A. Agencia de Bolsa, Bisa S.A. Administradora de Fondos de Inversión, Panamerican Securities S.A., Compañía Americana de Inversiones S.A. (CAISA), Starcorp Asset Management SAFI S.A., Bolivian Investments Management Ltd. (LOCFUND and Carlson Fund investment corporations), Bolivian Fund Management S.A., Carlson Dividend Facility, Carlson Long Term Growth Facility S.A., Carlson Venture Capital Facility S.A. and we were lawyers to NAFIBO Sociedad de Titularización S.A.
We constantly negotiate turnkey contracts and EPC agreements for oil and gas, electricity and telecommunications facilities on behalf of various clients hiring services or being hired under these conditions.
Our Law Firm has represented a diverse group of construction-related businesses, including owners and lenders; architects and design teams; engineers; general contractors and subcontractors; construction companies; developers and suppliers.
Our lawyers were members of the legal team in charge of the capitalization and privatization processes between 1993-1997, including the capitalization of Empresa Nacional de Electricidad (ENDE) (electricity); Empresa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (ENTEL) (telecommunications); Empresa Nacional de Ferrocarriles (ENFE) (railways); Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano (LAB) (airlines); Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) (oil and gas); and Empresa Metalúrgica Vinto (EMV) (smelting plant).
In the privatizations area we provided legal counsel in the processes of ELFEC S.A.M.and Transportadora de Electricidad S.A.M. We also advised the Bolivian Administration in privatizations such as sale of shares of the Fábrica Nacional de Cemento S.A. (FANCESA) cement factory, in the process of privatization of the transport, storage, LPG bottling and distribution, natural gas networks and airport service stations, all of those belonging to YPFB business units. We provided legal services in the privatization process of the Mutún Iron Project; the Registry of Commerce concession process; and in the concession process of the Customs Warehouses.
We constantly provide legal counsel in these areas to foreign investment banks and to business and consulting companies in Bolivia.
Some members of our Law Firm provided legal counsel to the capitalization process of ENTEL SAM, the State-owned company for telecommunications.
We have been an active part drafting the Telecommunications Law No. 1632 dated July 5th, 1995.
We provided external legal counsel to the regulatory agency for telecommunications in Bolivia (Superintendence of Telecommunications) at the beginning of its operations.
We were external legal counsel to ENTEL S.A. for more than 10 years, upon its nationalization by the Bolivian Administration. Our services included corporate and regulatory matters. ENTEL S.A. is the largest telecommunications company operating in Bolivia, providing all major services.
Our legal services to ENTEL S.A. included contract negotiations with telecommunications service suppliers abroad, including complex commercial issues in the telecommunications field, such as INTELSAT initial public offering (IPO) and creation of Nautilus Latin America Telecommunications Company.
We permanently provide legal advice to foreign investors interested in the telecommunications sector.
We constantly provide legal advice to our clients on regulatory telecommunications matters, including, if necessary, litigating administrative, judicial and constitutional matters.
Our Law Firm regularly advises large and medium-sized enterprises on loan and credit transactions, and represents lender banks and borrowers. We are involved in all phases of the process, from the preparation or review of offers up to the drafting and negotiation of the final agreements.
Moreover, our expertise covers financing for acquisitions. We advise on the design of security interest and guarantee structures and arrangements and on the drafting and negotiation of agreements, as well as rendering legal opinions.
We advise on the design and documentation of a broad spectrum of financial products. We act for clients in the area of business banking and in complex transactions such as factoring, asset finance and commodities financing, among others.
We are also an active service provider in other areas such as retail banking, including consumer finance, mortgages, and in private banking, where we provide a mix of corporate, commercial and tax advice, drawing on our experience in both areas.
We work with our clients to set up and obtain authorization for all kinds of financial institutions. Our expertise extends to a whole host of regulatory issues and compliance with financial services legislation. We also advise on enforcement proceedings against institutions, directors and senior executives, in both the administrative and judicial phases.
Our lawyers specialize in advising major industrial corporations on the negotiation of insurance contracts and policies to cover large risks, and have experience in the drafting, reviewing and legal interpretation of such documents.
We provided legal counsel to the Development Fund for the Financial System and Support to the Productive Sector (FONDESIF) whose principal activities are to obtain and channel external funds for the development of micro-credit activities and to manage financial support for assistance to banks and financial entities.
Our Law Firm has been very active in the creation and development of the Financial Group BISA, especially regarding incorporation and starting business of the insurance, securities brokerage, leasing, factoring and investment funds operations. We also act as external counsel for Bank BISA and BISA Insurance and Reinsurance S.A., the leading insurance company in Bolivia.
Our legal services included incorporation of AON Bolivia S.A. and AON RE Bolivia S.A., branches of the AON RISK CORPORATION Group, doing business on insurance brokerage and reinsurance.
Our services on this area cover the following matters:
Criales & Urcullo provides legal advice regarding the appliance of local and international tax regulations, helping its clients to establish the tax consequences of their business and spot potential risks.
Criales & Urcullo counts with a team of lawyers and financial auditors that analyze every single case from a legal, accounting and financial point of view, and that takes advantage of our law firm’s solid practice in corporate, civil, banking, capital markets and oil and gas matters, among other areas.
We have broad experience in structuring international transactions and deep knowledge of tax treaties, foreign tax regulations and Transfer Pricing. Our law firm has also worked with clients in estate planning matters, helping them to create tax efficient structures in order to transfer their family businesses to the next generations, analyzing their families’ members residence or citizenships and their assets location.
We advice our clients during tax audits and penalty processes, helping them to file documentation and present legal arguments, in order to obtain a fair assessment of the tax debts and do not require to challenge the authorities’ decisions. Nevertheless, we have broad experience filing appeals against administrative acts issued by Tax Administrations (The Bolivian Internal Revenue Service, National Customs and Local Governments), having a deep knowledge of the courts’ interpretation of the tax regulations.
Our law firm also provides legal council on customs law; we have broad experience on customs valuation, tariff classification of goods, rules of origin and customs especial procedures.
We advise our clients to attempt to avoid litigation, while also seeking to strengthen their position if they finally go to court in the future.
We search for pragmatic solutions to disputes, based on our insight into our clients’ business problems.
Our extensive litigation experience allows us to be imaginative when defining strategy and managing cases.
We advise and represent clients on alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods other than arbitration, such as mediation, conciliation and third-party reports.
Having regard to the nature of the dispute, we also advise and defend clients in combined ADR initiatives and, only if it later becomes necessary, in arbitration or court litigation, striving in each case to find the most effective way to swiftly satisfy our clients’ interests.
Our Firm has a wealth of experience in the negotiation of arbitration clauses.
Our lawyers participate as arbitrators in arbitration proceedings before the Conciliation and Arbitration Center of the Bolivian National Chamber of Commerce.
Two of our partners are international arbitrators appointed by the Bolivian National Chamber of Commerce.
Jointly with Crowell & Moring L.L.P. a law firm in Washington, D.C., we were in charge of the defense of the Republic of Bolivia in the international arbitration process requested by Aguas del Tunari S.A. before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
We provided litigation services in an arbitration process regarding construction of one of the main gas pipelines in Bolivia, under arbitration rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).
We provided litigation services to owners of one of the main communications groups in Bolivia, in an arbitration process under arbitration rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).
Our General Practice includes legal services in a wide variety of areas such as Civil Law, Corporate Law, Administrative Law, Litigation and Constitutional Law.
At our Law Firm, we fully understand that our clients have a great amount of time and money invested in the development of their products and services, including high budgets for research and publicity, which must be guaranteed through the registration of intellectual property rights.
Criales & Urcullo has an Intellectual Property Department in charge of protecting client's intellectual property, including trademarks, patents and copyrights.
In keeping with the framework of the philosophy of Criales & Urcullo focusing on personalized client service, our Intellectual Property Department comprises:
We provided legal advice to the Bolivian Administration in drafting regulations for SIRESE and the institutional development of this Regulatory System, particularly Supreme Decree Nº 24504 (institutional organization of the SIRESE) and Supreme Decree Nº 24505 (administrative procedures before SIRESE).
Our main contribution in the area regards to development of Regulation as an Administrative Law concept and in professional guidance on regulatory tasks, inspection and control of regulated activities by the Sectorial Agencies (Superintendencias).
We provided legal advice to the Superintendencia General del SIRESE to better develop its regulatory activities, including internal rules, accountability and procurement.
Our experience includes drafting chapters of the Hydrocarbons Law (Law Nº 1689) regarding regulation before the Superintendence of Hydrocarbons.
We are hired on a case-by-case basis by the Superintendence of Pensions, Securities and Insurance, as part of the Financial Regulation System (SIREFI), particularly on issues related to regulations, inspection and control of Pension Funds Administrators (AFPs) and insurance and reinsurance activities.
Just as important are our legal services to regulated companies in the Energy, Hydrocarbons and Telecommunications sectors, including appeal procedures against regulatory agencies decisions, and proceedings before the Supreme Court of Justice and the Constitutional Tribunal.
We also provide litigation services to regulated companies before SIREFI, the financial regulatory body, including appeal procedures and proceedings before the Supreme Court of Justice and the Constitutional Tribunal.
We bring a wide range of skills and experience to bear on regulatory matters, including administrative law issues, rulemaking proceedings, permitting, administrative and judicial litigation, the structuring and documentation of transactions affected by governmental regulations, mergers and acquisitions of regulated entities.
As a result, we have developed strong working relationships with the SIRESE staff, administrative authorities, and other members of the regulatory bar. Our lawyers also work closely with consultants and expert witnesses on rate and economic analyses, engineering reports and market studies.
We help our clients to identify strategic, financial, administrative and operational risks, and provide solutions based on our knowledge on best practices and the economic environment of our country.
Our services are mainly aimed to the help the senior management in the decision making-process. This kind of involvement gives us a clear view and comprehension of the corporate business core.
Corporate groups dealing with complex businesses have required our firm’s practice, due to our knowledge of financial strategies and taxation of specific industries. At the same time, this kind of work has helped us to form new skills that allow us to provide a highly specialized service.
Criales & Urcullo offers the following services on this area:
We provide legal advice to national and international companies regarding software and licenses transactions and acquisitions in Bolivia.
Our legal advice includes both negotiation and drafting of highly complex software license and transfer contracts.
Our services have been specially required for the acquisition of both licenses and software designed for highly specialized sectors such as Banking and the Stock Market.
We provide general legal advice to both national and international Non Governamental Organizations and Religious Entities.
Our services in this area of practice include advice on the preparation of documents for the creation, formation and adaptation of Statutes of Non-Governmental Organizations and Religious Entities.
Also, we provide the accompaniment in the negotiation and celebration of all kinds of contracts necessary for the development of activities of this type of organizations in Bolivia and abroad.
Our services have been specially requested in the matter of advice for statutory adjustments to the norms applicable in Bolivia.
Our clients include institutions with a significant national presence such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Fundación Para Alternativas de Desarrollo (FADES), the main shareholder of Banco Pyme Ecofuturo, la Fundación Solidaridad y Desarrollo Productivo Sostenible (SOLYDES) and NGO Centro de Fomento a Iniciativas Económicas (FIE), the main share holder of Banco FIE.