Ilona Zekely
Partner, Head of European Desk
Ilona Zekely

21, 1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya Str., Moscow, 125047, Russia
Tel.: +7 (495) 935 8010; Fax: +7 (495) 935 8011

17/52 Bohdana Khmelnytskoho Str., Leonardo Business Centre, Kyiv, 01030, Ukraine
Tel.: +380 (44) 498 8282


  • Best Lawyers (2021)
  • (2023)

« Very responsive and very business-oriented »

Chambers Global

Ilona Zekely is a Partner and Head of the European Desk at EPAM and focuses on advising international companies in their activities across the CIS as well as CIS-based blue chips in their activities in Europe. She practices in the areas of corporate and M&A, Banking & Finance, commercial, energy, oil & gas and real estate law. Among her clients are international banks and financial institutions, insurance companies, energy, high-tech and other multinational clients.

She has over 25 years of legal experience in Europe and the CIS. Since joining the Firm in 2010, she has advised a number of major international banks and financial institutions, insurance companies, energy and high technology and other multinational clients.

Through the years of her practice, Ilona has become a visible and a well-known figure among the international legal community. Law firms - members of the IBA and other legal communities customarily turn to her experience as a cultural broker on behalf of their clients regarding a wide range of issues they have in Russia and the CIS: cross-border transactions, investment structuring, M&A and corporate law issues, real estate and land projects, insurance, oil & gas, renewable energy projects, etc.

Ilona’s projects include:

  • Advising TA Associates on its acquisition of Netwrix Corporation, an international information security solutions company, including obtaining a successful and timely approval of the transaction with the FAS Russia, conducting due diligence and devising recommendations for transaction documents from a local law perspective.
  • Providing comprehensive legal support to A4 AGRI and S.A. CHRISTENSEN&CO within a project of divestment of its international business, which was structured as a combination of asset and share deal and included transfer of shares in the Russian subsidiary of SAC to the buyer - BouMatic.
  • Advising Burt Intelligence – a Software-as-a-Service platform providing Revenue Intelligence for the Advertising Industry – on the acquisition of shares in Russian intelligent yield management platform Inventale providing software for advertising analytics;
  • Advising HTS tentiQ GmbH, an international manufacturer of marquees, tents and temporary structures for organising events, on commercial law and currency control matters. Advice included drafting contractual documents in accordance with Russian currency control legislation and defending the client's interests in relations with its counterparty.
  • Representing French Groupe BRIAND in its acquisition of the Russian subsidiary Astron from Swedish Lindab Group.
  • Advising Commercial Metals Company, a US steel and metals manufacturer, in its acquisition of Tensar, a global leader in soil reinforcement and mechanical stabilisation. The deal was valued at USD 550m and covered several jurisdictions in the USA, the EU, China and Russia.
  • Assisting Vivira, a German medtech company specialising in the development of software for digital healthcare, in concluding an agreement with Russian developers.
  • Providing comprehensive legal support on a cross-border M&A transaction between TAQA, the National Energy Company of Abu Dhabi (UAE), and Tendeka, the leading British engineering company present in the US, the UK, China, Australia, Canada, the UAE, Malaysia and the EU.
  • Obtaining approval for the merger in the IT sector between IFS (Sweden) and Axios Systems (Scotland).
  • Supporting the joint acquisition of Lummus Technology from McDermott International in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Under the terms of the share and asset purchase agreement, Chatterjee and Rhône committed to acquiring Lummus from subsidiaries of McDermott as part of McDermott’s restructuring process.
  • Supporting the client by conducting complex legal due diligence and obtaining merger control clearance for one of the largest deals worth almost EUR 1bn on the packaging market in Europe.

Prior to coming to the CIS in 2007, Ilona worked for Baker & McKenzie and other prominent law firms in Vienna, and served as the Managing Partner of Schoenherr in Ukraine for three years before joining the Firm.

Ilona is deeply engaged in international business community: she is a member of the Board of Association of European Businesses (AEB), an active member of other professional associations (AHK, IPBA and other international chambers), where she is a frequent guest and speaker. She is the Council member for Russia and officer at the IBA European Regional Forum, Member of the IBA’s Corporate and M&A Committee, Technology Committee and Law Firm Management Committee and Advisory Board Member of the IBA ERF Mental Wellbeing Working Party.

Ilona was highly recognized by Chambers, The Legal 500, IFLR1000, Best Lawyers other legal guides for her work.

Ilona is an author of several publications on numerous Austrian, European and CIS legal issues. She obtained her Master of law degree from Law Faculty at the University of Vienna.

Being a native German speaker, Ilona is also fluent in French, English and has a working knowledge of Russian language.

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