Holland & Knight Provides Tax Companion, Affiliate in Bogotá

Holland & Knight has hired a renowned tax attorney in Colombia, as the Florida-headquartered firm continues to build out its presence in Latin America and wealthy Colombians pour cash into the U.S.

Gustavo Pardo Ardila joins the firm’s Bogotá office as a partner in the tax practice, along with associate José Alejandro Vivas Velásquez.

Pardo’s 31 years in the field include work at consulting firms such as KPMG, Arthur Andersen, Andersen Legal and Ernst & Young.

Since 2013, he has worked at his own firm, Gustavo Pardo y Asociados, advising clients on matters related to tax, corporate, foreign exchange, tax litigation and social security contributions.

Enrique Gómez-Pinzón, executive partner of Holland & Knight’s Colombia office, said the services that Pardo provides complement the firm’s current tax law offerings.

“Our goal is to continue strengthening our group of local lawyers with the best professionals available, and the entry of Gustavo and José Alejandro is just the latest example of this strategy,” Gómez-Pinzón said in a statement.

Holland & Knight employs 40 lawyers in Bogotá, where it has maintained an office for a decade.

“It was very important for us to join a firm with a solid international platform like the one built by Holland & Knight,” said Pardo.

In addition to Pardo, Holland & Knight employs two other tax partners in Colombia: Juan Carlos Valencia Márquez and Rafael Lafont Castillo.

Valencia said that having a team of three partners in the Colombian tax practice will ensure superior client service, given that each partner will remain focused on his own customers and accounts but will have extra support when necessary.

“With this team, Holland & Knight has established itself as a leading firm in the local market for tax litigation, tax planning and investment structuring between Colombia and the United States,” Valencia said.

Investments have been pouring into South Florida from Colombia in the lead-up to the country’s presidential election, which could usher in Colombia’s first-ever leftist president.

Gustavo Petro, a former guerrilla turned politician, is favored to win the presidency in a June 19 runoff vote. Petro talks of raising taxes on the rich and printing money to pay for anti-poverty programs.

He is running against Rodolfo Hernández, a populist self-made millionaire who got rich in real estate. Hernández vows to upend the political establishment and is seen as a wild card with authoritarian tendencies.