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Linklaters is set to launch a series of virtual offices based in London as it axes its real offices in Bratislava, Bucharest, Budapest and Prague.
The firm will install country desks in London for Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
The initiative comes under the remit of the new Emerging Europe, Middle East and North Africa group, which is headed by former capital markets chief Nick Eastwell.
London-based capital markets partner Francis Kucera will lead the Ukraine desk after advising the Ukraine government on its bond issues.
The four Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) offices will split from Linklaters in November, forming a new firm led by CEE head Jason Mogg. The practice will work in partnership with the magic circle firm.
Mogg has big ambitions for the breakaway firm. “I didn’t do this to be part of a four-office project,” he said. “All the people involved want to see it expand and grow.”