Author Archive: Brian Sanchez

Biglaw + = Modern Cybersecurity Solution

When a Biglaw firm builds and promotes a cross-disciplinary, globalized approach to cybersecurity, I take note. And when one of my colleagues is helping lead that charge, I feel compelled to write about it (and if I have learned anything from this election cycle, it’s that there is simply no such thing as an inappropriate time for a product plug).

So what is this new business model? They are calling it a “one-stop shop” for cybersecurity risk assessments and compliance. It was the brainchild of my colleague Christy Weisner (a UVA Law grad and former Mayer Brown associate) and the co-chair of Pillsbury’s Cybersecurity Task Force, Brian Finch. The alliance combines the legal support heft of my company, Thomson Reuters Legal Managed Services (f/k/a legal outsourcing company Pangea3) with the superior legal know-how of Biglaw powerhouse Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw & Pitman LLP. Last, but certainly not least, is a very cool company called FireEye, a cybersecurity consulting firm and an essential piece of the puzzle.

It’s not every day you see a Biglaw firm like Pillsbury (a white-shoe firm dating back to the 1800s) announcing a partnership with an company – even though many quietly rely on such arrangements to win new business and keep clients happy (we see you lurking in the closet there).

Christy was, coincidentally, my very first recruit to the community, so I was proud to see her working alongside innovators in Biglaw to craft new solutions for new problems. So, this week I chatted with Christy and Brian about the origin of the alliance, as well as Christy’s experience on the alt side of the law. Enjoy.

Joe Borstein: What exactly are Pillsbury, Thomson Reuters, and FireEye doing together?

Christy Weisner: A number of things, including risk assessments in response to regulatory requirements and in support of general cybersecurity programs, and M&A due diligence with a focus on cybersecurity risk.

It’s not rocket science: companies need to understand their risks and address them. But they can easily forget major areas of risk. So we banded together our legal, process, and technical expertise to provide a holistic approach to assessing and addressing cyber risk within a cost-effective delivery model.

Brian Finch: While Biglaw firms have a lot to offer, the reality is that we cannot be everything to everyone. That’s particularly true when it comes to cybersecurity – law firms can and do employ a number of people who are very sophisticated when it comes to cybersecurity matters, but the reality is that they will never replicate the resources and technical skills of other service providers.

Bringing a combination of skills together, however, like the ones offered by Thomson Reuters and FireEye, gives us the chance to present a more robust and well-rounded offering to a potential client. There is clearly significant value in presenting a more complete set of cybersecurity skills in one presentation along with the message that “we know each other and have thought about ways to work together to help you.”

JB: How did this collaboration come about?

CW: Brian is an innovative and client-focused lawyer. When we met we quickly realized that our legal support services and their legal expertise were complementary (not competitive). Since Pillsbury already had a great relationship with FireEye, he brought them into the discussion and we figured out that there’s a really great fit to all of our services.

JB: Is this collaboration a model of things to come?

CW: I think so. There is great opportunity for firms who are getting cut out of the delivery of legal services, because they can’t price their work rationally, the client has increased their in-house capabilities, the client comes directly to companies like ours, or some combination of the above.

It’s a shame, because while we can do wonderful legal process work, we can’t offer legal opinions and advice.

JB: If there is so much potential, why do you think more firms are not creating partnerships like this?

BF: It’s hard to speak for every firm, but in my experience there are certainly a lot of lawyers who think they can handle it all themselves, or just do not want to invest the effort in finding suitable collaborations. Some firms also like to stick with what they feel they are best at – providing legal counsel. That’s their decision, and I certainly wouldn’t question that. We are doing what we are doing because we think clients and potential clients like the idea of multiple skill sets coming together to offer a coordinated package of services.

CW: To me, it’s shortsighted, but understandable. Biglaw firms need all the business and billable hours they can bring in. But at the end of the day, you’ll bring in more work if you are able to scale seamlessly, and price work rationally and competitively. Junior partners often get this and are coming to us with ideas. Senior partners, in their defense, are often too rich to care!

That’s why it was so refreshing to meet Brian and actually put pen to paper and come up with something that clients need and can afford.

Why cybersecurity?

BF: To me, Cybersecurity is a fascinating issue that impacts every sector of the global economy. It’s transforming every part of the world. As technology advances, people are finding ways to exploit that progress to make economic and other gains using illegal or unauthorized means. And that is presenting incredibly unique challenges to everyone from law firms to Fortune 1000 companies. The law is having trouble catching up with the problem of cyber threats, and so all sides – from regulators and plaintiffs’ lawyers to general counsel and solo practitioners – are scrambling to figure out how to deal with these issues.

It’s fascinating and overwhelming at the same time, and also presents a rare opportunity for lawyers; we can get in on the front end of a whole new practice area and shape it. That’s really exciting as well as humbling. From my perspective, lawyers cannot go it alone either. They need the help of other companies like FireEye and TR to understand what is going on and how to manage their legal obligations.

JB: Last question, Christy — for all those Biglaw associates and partners thinking of taking the plunge, tell me about your experience on the side

CW: Frankly, it was scary at first.

You were pretty convincing to get me to join you, despite my own parents telling me I was nuts for leaving the safety blanket that the associate track provided – one that I had worked so hard to get during the financial collapse!

But as soon as I left, my personality (and literal color in my face) returned. I hadn’t realized how much of myself I had lost in the few short years I was there until I joined this company. (Remind me again how much this therapy session costs?)

On the complete opposite side, you have to find your own voice and style to succeed in a business like this. Every day you have to ask yourself how you can help your clients in ways they have never tried before (and enjoy trying to convince lawyers to try something new!).

At the end of the day, the alternative side of the legal business has been so much fun. I highly recommend associates finding something in the business of law they consider fun, and exploring it. It’s out there, I know it.

Joe Borstein is a Global Director with Thomson Reuters Legal Managed Services, delivering Pangea3 award-winning legal outsourcing services and employing over 1800 full-time legal, compliance, and technology professionals across the globe. He and his co-author Ed Sohn each spent over half a decade as associates in BigLaw and were classmates at Penn Law. (The views expressed in their columns are their own.)

Joe manages a global team dedicated to counseling law firm and corporate clients on how to best leverage Thomson Reuters legal professionals to improve legal results, cut costs, raise profits, and have a social life. He is a frequent speaker on global trends in the legal industry and, specifically, how law firms are leveraging those trends to become more profitable. If you are interested in entrepreneurship and the delivery of legal services, please reach out to Joe directly at

(c) 2016 Breaking Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (, source Middle East & North African Newspapers

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U.S. Inc. cheers ruling striking down Obama overtime rules but many firms had already upped pay

Businesses around the country on Wednesday cheered a court decision blocking the Obama administration’s sweeping new overtime rules, but many had already raised salaries or ordered managers to stick to a strict 40-hour workweek to avoid costs they expected to incur starting next week.

An injunction issued Tuesday by the federal court in the Eastern District of Texas prevents the Department of Labor from mandating overtime pay for salaried employees who make less than about $47,500 a year — a dramatic jump from the old threshold of $23,660.

More than 4 million workers would have been newly eligible for time-and-a-half pay under the rule, which now faces far more uncertainty from Donald Trump’s incoming administration.

The ruling giving businesses a reprieve “is a little late for a lot of people’s taste,” said Tom Gimbel of Chicago-based LaSalle Network, a staffing firm that advised companies on how to prepare for the new rule. “A lot of companies had already rolled it out.”

Wal-Mart, for example, raised entry-level managers’ starting salaries by $3,500 in September to stay above the threshold. But there were also raises among clerical workers for Opportunity Village in Las Vegas, a nonprofit that teaches vocational skills to people with disabilities and raises its money through private donations and running a thrift store.

Opportunity President Bob Brown said he couldn’t bear to backtrack on the decision.

“It’s put us in a difficult situation — you’re spending money you wouldn’t have been spending,” he said.

In Colorado, some restaurant owners operating on thin margins shifted salaried managers to hourly pay so they could better track their hours and cap them at 40.

“That was demoralizing for managers who felt they were being demoted,” said Sonia Riggs, CEO of the Colorado Restaurant Association.

The Department of Labor last May ordered the changes to give overtime to many more American workers, saying they would “go a long way toward realizing President Obama’s commitment to ensuring every worker is compensated fairly for their hard work.”

Inflation had weakened the U.S. overtime law passed decades ago. Overtime provisions applied to 62 percent of U.S. full-time salaried workers in 1975 but just 7 percent today.

That means some low-level retail and restaurant managers are making $25,000 a year but aren’t eligible for overtime, even when they’re working 60 hours a week.

The court agreed with the rule’s opponents that the labor department overstepped the authority it has from Congress and that the rule could cause irreparable harm if it took effect Dec. 1 as scheduled. The department is now considering its legal options, but Trump will be in charge of the department after taking office on Jan. 20.

Trump told the news website Circa in August that he hoped small businesses would get an exception from the overtime rule, although the issue was not a prominent presidential campaign theme.

The rule’s supporters are now grappling with implications for workers who were expecting more overtime pay just as the holiday shopping rush gets underway.

“This is about the worst news they could get heading into Thanksgiving and the holiday season,” said Vicki Shabo, vice president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, a Washington, D.C.-based group that promotes workplace fairness.

Workers who want to make a good impression on their employers, feel compelled to cover for absent co-workers or are passionate about their jobs often put in far more than 40 hours a week and end up making a sub-minimum wage. Advocacy groups say employees who work for free are giving up time they could be spending with their families or advancing their education to get better paying jobs.

But businesses said the rules would have created an overly restrictive environment that would have penalized younger and slower workers.

“We were going to have to send them home at times,” said Jose Villa, president of the Los Angeles-based ad agency Sensis. “Say, ‘You’re done for the day, you have to go,’ even though we’re working on some important stuff that’s going to be very educational for them.”

With the overtime pay order suspended, Trump’s administration could choose to make its own rule changes through a lengthy administrative process.

The Republican-controlled Congress could change the country’s labor laws, although House Speaker Paul Ryan had decried the overtime plan “an absolute disaster” that Obama rushed through to boost his political legacy.

If the labor department lawyers appeal Tuesday’s ruling, they could end up facing a Supreme Court that includes some Trump appointees.

The injunction takes political pressure off Trump at a good time, said labor law professor Ruben Garcia of the University Nevada Las Vegas’ Boyd School of Law.

With no new overtime changes kicking in next week, Trump can accept the status quo and does not risk angering workers by revoking the new overtime benefits shortly after employees start receiving them, Garcia said.

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To get rid of old notes, firms in Gujarat pay salaries up to 6 months

Written by Aditi Raja
| Vadodara |
Published:November 24, 2016 2:42 am

demonetisation, rs 500 ban, rs 1000 ban, ahmedabad demonetisation, firm pay salary, old currency, old notes, GIDC, indian express news, india news, latest news The fact is that our country is a country of cash transactions more than plastic money. (Representational image)

In the wake of demonetisation, several firms and establishments in the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) estate of the city have paid advance salaries to their employees in cash to get rid of now-defunct Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. Some companies have paid advance salaries up to six months in cash.

Nagin Baria, who works as office peon at a private firm in the industrial estate for a monthly salary of Rs 4,000, said his employer paid him Rs 24,000 as advance salary until April 2017. The salary was paid in 500 and 1000 currency denominations, which Baria was asked to deposit in his bank account for use.

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Baria, 42, who has a family of six, said: “My employers called me — and many others working with me — asking me to collect my salary until April next year and deposit the same in my account. They even excused me for a day to be able to queue up at a bank for the same.

Most of us willingly accepted the advance salaries in cash, but we also know we have to be very cautious about using this money as nothing else will be paid for the next six months.” He said it was the first time that he deposited “such a huge sum in my account”.

“When they asked me to accept the advance salary in old notes, I was a bit sceptical, but my employer said that it would all be accounted for and clear in the records. When I went to the bank, they did not ask me any question about the deposit. I was at ease. I have even withdrawn some money from my account for daily use,” he added.

Like Baria, Rajesh Parmar, works as office assistant at a firm in the the city, was asked to accept advance salary until March 31 in cash, amounting to Rs 45,000.

Parmar said, “Our employers told us very clearly that they are trying to dispose of the cash advances that they have received through recorded transactions. So, I do not think that I helped my employers in siphoning off any black money. They will have to account for my salary too and I have deposited the same in my account for anyone to check. I do not think there is anything to worry about or feel bad about this.”

Parmar, who has been working in the same firm for nine years, said it was a matter of trust.

“The employer is in fact taking a risk by giving me advance salary for all these months. He trusts me, as he knows that I won’t easily abandon his company and move on with another job and the money. When they have trusted me, I also trust them to be doing the right thing,” he said.

Owners of the firms do not see the step as a malpractice. The owner of a firm in GIDC industrial estate, who has paid 10 employees cash advances, said, “I paid my employees their salaries in advance to ensure that I put the demonetised notes to use in the most transparent manner. What is wrong in paying off salaries to my employees, which are being audited and will reflect in my yearly accounts. I have not done anything wrong by doing that. The government must go after those who have hoarded crores of black money by evading taxes and are continuing to find ways to put their money away from the eyes of law.”

Nilesh Shukla, president of Vadodara Chamber of Commerce and Industries (VCCI), said, “The advance payments to workers are not related to black money manipulation. It is a human psychology. Paying people salaries in advance does not make it black money. It may have been done by smaller firms to dispose of small amounts of cash. There is definitely an issue that someone who has accounted or unaccounted cash has been put under the scanner. The fact is that our country is a country of cash transactions more than plastic money.

The target should be those who have large sums of black money and are involved in tax evasions.”

Reacting to such a move by some companies at the GIDC, Vadodara Commissioner of Police Manoj Sashidhar said, “So far, we have not received any complaint related to cheating in the wake of demonetisation. The issue of employees being paid salaries in advance in old currency is a matter of the law under Income Tax, and so long as the employee and the employer are able to justify this in their book of records, it should not be a problem. If any case falls under the jurisdiction of police, or if anyone makes a complaint, we will promptly investigate the matter.”

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SHAREHOLDER ALERT: Pomerantz Law Firm Investigates Claims On Behalf of Investors of StoneMor Partners L.P. – STON

NEW YORK, Nov. 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Pomerantz LLP is investigating claims on behalf of investors of StoneMor Partners L.P. (“StoneMor” or the “Company”)

STON, +0.49%

Such investors are advised to contact Robert S. Willoughby at or 888-476-6529, ext. 237.

The investigation concerns whether StoneMor and certain of its officers and/or directors have violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. 

[Click here to join a class action]

On September 2, 2016, StoneMor announced that it would restate its financials to correct various errors. Then, on October 27, 2016, StoneMor cut its distribution by half. On this news, StoneMor’s share price fell $11.08, or 44.64%, to close at $13.74 on October 28, 2016. On November 9, 2016, StoneMor announced the need to “amend its Form 10-K for [the] fiscal year ended December 31, 2015, and its Forms 10-Q for the quarterly periods ended June 30, 2016 and March 31, 2016.” 

On this news, StoneMor’s share price fell $0.46, or 5.09%, to close at $8.57 on November 9, 2016.

The Pomerantz Firm, with offices in New York, Chicago, Florida, and Los Angeles, is acknowledged as one of the premier firms in the areas of corporate, securities, and antitrust class litigation. Founded by the late Abraham L. Pomerantz, known as the dean of the class action bar, the Pomerantz Firm pioneered the field of securities class actions. Today, more than 80 years later, the Pomerantz Firm continues in the tradition he established, fighting for the rights of the victims of securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, and corporate misconduct. The Firm has recovered numerous multimillion-dollar damages awards on behalf of class members. See

CONTACT:Robert S. Willoughby
Pomerantz LLP

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:–ston-300368128.html

SOURCE Pomerantz LLP

Copyright (C) 2016 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

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SHAREHOLDER ALERT: Pomerantz Law Firm Investigates Claims On Behalf of Investors of ProNAi Therapeutics, Inc. – DNAI

NEW YORK, Nov. 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Pomerantz LLP is investigating claims on behalf of investors of ProNAi Therapeutics, Inc. (“ProNAi” or the “Company”)

DNAI, -3.47%

  Such investors are advised to contact Robert S. Willoughby at or 888-476-6529, ext. 9980.

The investigation concerns whether ProNAi and certain of its officers and/or directors have violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. 

[Click here to join a class action]

On June 6, 2016, ProNAi released its interim results from the Wolverine Phase 2 trial of PNT2258 for the treatment of relapsed or refractory (r/r) diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).  Nick Glover, the Company’s President and CEO, stated that “[a]lthough [PNT2258] observed modest efficacy … in [the] interim analysis of Wolverine,” the Company has “decided to suspend the development of PNT2258” because the results were not “robust enough to justify continued development of the drug in DLBCL.”  

On this news, ProNAi’s share price fell $4.31, or 67.55%, to close at $2.07 on June 6, 2016.

The Pomerantz Firm, with offices in New York, Chicago, Florida, and Los Angeles, is acknowledged as one of the premier firms in the areas of corporate, securities, and antitrust class litigation. Founded by the late Abraham L. Pomerantz, known as the dean of the class action bar, the Pomerantz Firm pioneered the field of securities class actions. Today, more than 80 years later, the Pomerantz Firm continues in the tradition he established, fighting for the rights of the victims of securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, and corporate misconduct. The Firm has recovered numerous multimillion-dollar damages awards on behalf of class members. See

CONTACT:Robert S. Willoughby
Pomerantz LLP

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:—dnai-300368124.html

SOURCE Pomerantz LLP

Copyright (C) 2016 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

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Many firms lack enough disaster insurance

New York • A fire at the gun shop next door never reached Kathy Laurienti’s sausage and specialty food store, but the water and smoke damage was enough to shut her business down.

Because Laurienti didn’t have enough insurance, it’s still closed — more than a year later.

Laurienti still doesn’t know how much her total losses will be, but estimates she’ll have to pay $30,000 to $40,000 from her own pocket. While she had $10,000 in coverage for lost income, she’ll likely have lost $100,000 in business by the time she can reopen.

“You don’t think about what the insurance might not handle,” says Laurienti, whose store, Paisano, is located in a shopping center in Denver.

It’s a lesson learned all too often, including by business owners hit by natural disasters like this summer’s flooding in Louisiana that caused an estimated $2 billion in damage to companies. Some businesses in the Southeast are still assessing their losses from Hurricane Matthew, which caused an estimated $10 billion in commercial and residential losses.

The government estimates that 40 percent of companies that haven’t prepared themselves to be able to operate after a disaster are forced to shut down. And 25 percent of businesses fail within two years because of inadequate post-disaster revenue or cash flow. Adequate insurance would help them survive.

Small companies frequently either don’t buy insurance at all or don’t have enough to cover their losses when disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes and power outages strike.

Many owners who do buy insurance opt for a standard business policy that covers fire, rain, wind and vandalism. These policies may also include business interruption insurance, which covers lost income when a company cannot operate. But they don’t cover damage from floods or earthquakes, which can be serious threats in many parts of the country.

“Most (owners) are buying it as if it’s a commodity product instead of understanding it needs to be customized to their particular situation,” says Robert Borghese, who teaches law and entrepreneurship at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Many rely too much on insurance brokers who may not have a thorough understanding of the coverage they’re selling, Borghese says. Brokers may not know what a particular company’s needs are.

Owners may also trying to keep their costs down, and don’t think about the “what ifs,” says Belen Tokarski, a senior vice president at Insureon, an online insurance broker aimed at small businesses. It can cost thousands of dollars to insure a building and its contents in moderate-to-high risk areas.

“They’re price-focused, so they’re purchasing just what they think they need,” she says.

Walter Coker considered buying flood insurance for his property that included a barn filled with furniture imported from Indonesia and a bait shop. But his broker said the cost of insuring the barn, located on the Matanzas River in St. Augustine, Florida, would be more than Coker could afford. The building is old and in disrepair.

“He didn’t give me any numbers, but said it would be exorbitant to try to insure a barn like that,” Coker says.

When Hurricane Matthew hit, the barn and bait shop had four feet of water from the river. Coker’s furniture inventory was heavily damaged. He was able to sell it at a discount and recover the price he paid, but estimates he had $6,000 to $7,000 in losses.

Coker knows he was gambling, but given the cost of insurance, says he’s comfortable doing so. But for some owners, denial is a factor.

“Their eyes glaze over. They’re busy running the day-to-day operations. They don’t want to think about something bad happening,” says Brian Van Hook, associate director at the Small Business Development Center at Florida International University.

Van Hook recommends resources like checklists posted by the trade group Insurance Information Institute on its website that help companies understand their risks. SBDCs like Van Hook’s are located around the country and can be found at .

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Bulgarian Firms To File Tax Declarations Online

Tax declarations under the Excise Duties and Tax Warehouses Act will be submitted online by businesses. The decision was adopted at second reading by Parliament. It is part of the amendments to the excise law.

Firms, however, unlike natural persons, will not be able to have a discount on the annual corporate tax owed. Natural persons have a 5% discount when submitting their annual tax declarations.

Deputies also voted that the annual tax declaration of natural persons must be submitted by April 30 of the year following the year when the income was accrued.

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Cyber Attacks on Irish Law Firms Rise 50 Percent

According to a recently published study, cyber attacks against Irish law firms have risen dramatically over the past year. There has been nearly a 50 percent increase. According to the study, three out of every ten firms have suffered a cyber attack in the past 12 months. The problem may be even more severe, as many attacks may be happening without them being reported.

Amárach Research conducted the survey, drawing data from 107 law firms during September and October.

The data shows that more than half of the attacks were caused by malware, while 35 percent involved ransomware, a program that blocks access to computer systems until a sum of money (ransom) is paid.

Cybercrime is clearly a threat to Irish legal practices.

Read more here.

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Kigali mayor accuses firms of breach of billboards law, cartel practices

Some of the billboards that were pulled down in line with new regulations along the Airport road by the City of Kigali. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA 

The City of Kigali has accused advertising firms of non-compliance with the new billboards rules and cartel-like behaviour.

The Mayor of Kigali Monique Mukaruliza said that the city moved in to pull down billboards after advertisers failed to comply with the agreed terms.

She said the guidelines had been in place since 2012 and the firms had had enough time to sort out their issues.

“We gave them enough time. The last deadline given to them was for six months from December 2015. Even after that they still asked for more time. It reached a point and we realised that there was an issue of non-compliance,” Ms Mukaruliza said.

While crying foul at the City’s move, the advertisers lobby, Rwanda Outdoor Advertising Association (ROAA) on Tuesday called for an 18-month moratorium, saying they risk going bankrupt.

“This step taken by the City authorities to remove all billboards, fly in the face of efforts undertaken by ROAA to reduce billboard clutter in the city.

“Presently, 503 billboards have been removed by ROAA in cooperation with the City of Kigali technical team,” the lobby said in a statement.

But Ms Mukaruliza accused ROAA of cartel practices by only pulling down billboards belonging to non-members.

“We found out that seven of the committee members in the association were driving the industry. They indeed removed some billboards, but not their own.

“They only removed billboards of non-members of the association and left theirs. When the city found out, it moved to issue updated directives in October and we again asked them to comply, which they didn’t,” she said.

She said in October, the city tendered for outdoor advertising in accordance to the new procedures and urged the seven to submit their bids, but they did not.

The firms instead lodged a case against the City of Kigali seeking an injunction to block the tender process.

The court however ruled in favour of the city, to the chagrin of the affected companies, Ms Mukaruliza said.

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