Holland & Knight adds tax partner, associated with Bogotá

Holland & Knight has hired a renowned tax lawyer in Colombia as the Florida-based company continues to build its presence in Latin America and wealthy Colombians pour money into the United States.

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

During his 31 years of experience in the field, Pardo has worked in consulting firms such as KPMG, Arthur Andersen, Andersen Legal and Ernst & Young.

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

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

“Our goal is to continue to strengthen 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 had an office for a decade.

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

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

Valencia said having a team of three associates in the Colombian tax practice will ensure superior client service, as each associate will remain focused on their own clients and accounts, but receive additional support as needed.

“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,” said Valencia.

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

Gustavo Petro, a former guerrilla-turned-politician, is favorite to win the presidency in a June 19 runoff. Petro talks about raising taxes on the rich and printing money to fund anti-poverty programs.

He is running against Rodolfo Hernández, a populist self-made millionaire who got rich in real estate. Hernández swears to overthrow the political establishment and is considered a joker with authoritarian tendencies.