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Russia & the CIS

Steptoe has been advising Russian and CIS clients for several years and we have native Russian speaking lawyers within our teams. Below details the practice areas we offer for those doing business in Russia & the CIS.

Litigation

The firm has a long history of resolving international disputes and conducting arbitrations for international clients.  The firm has over 200 lawyers currently representing clients engaged in a wide variety of commercial disputes, many of them involving matters crossing various national borders.  The firm’s extensive international capabilities, enable its lawyers to analyse, plan, execute and manage cross-border as well as domestic commercial disputes so as to achieve successful results for its clients.

With 13 English-qualified lawyers and one Russian qualified lawyer, the London team is one of the largest litigation and dispute resolution teams in a US-based law firm in London. Four of the Group’s partners are English High Court Advocates, who can and do provide “front-line” advocacy capabilities in the English Courts, beyond those normally found in London law firms, in UK domestic as well as international litigation.

The London office is recommended in the 2011 edition of the UK Legal 500 for Arbitration, Commercial Litigation and Fraud.

Arbitration

The firm’s experience in international arbitration comes into play both in arbitration proceedings and in national court litigation where parties may seek or resist arbitration.  Advice is also provided on a full range of dispute resolution issues that arise in contractual and investment transactions, from negotiating and drafting arbitration clauses to enforcing or challenging arbitral awards in different countries. The firm has recently advised and represented clients from a broad range of countries, whose interests are implicated in disputes before the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the American Arbitration Association (AAA), the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, the Swiss Chambers of Commerce, the Court of Arbitration of the Russian Federation, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).  Several arbitrations have also recently been conducted under the rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and under Chapters 19 and 20 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Fraud and Corrupt Practices

Steptoe’s London team has provided guidance to many companies and individuals on the interpretation and application of the UK statutory and common law dealing with fraud and corruption, along with the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA") and related international treaties and conventions. The team, which includes UK and US-qualified lawyers, is well placed to advise on the implications of the 2010 UK Bribery Act and has extensive experience dealing with fraud and corruption both within Europe and its major trading partners, and in emerging markets including in Russia & the CIS, South East Asia and the Middle East.

Corporate, Securities & Finance

We deal with UK and cross-border mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures, shareholder agreements, public flotations including AIM issues, venture capital finance, EU law and international corporate structures, tax advice, agency, distribution and franchising.  Strong employment capabilities are offered covering employee/employer relations, employment agreements and documentation, redundancy, executive and other termination packages, maternity, discrimination and TUPE issues and advocacy at courts and tribunals.

Steptoe represent clients in many kinds of business transactions, ranging from routine financings to complex ventures. We work with clients at every stage - arranging funding; negotiating mergers, joint ventures, and acquisitions; and arranging alliances. We advise in all areas of corporate/securities transactions, litigation, and counseling, representing issuers, underwriters and investors.

Energy

We have leading  practices in the areas of electric power and pipelines. We have long-established relationships with leading energy producers, transporters, and marketers which have led to an extensive practice involving counseling, litigation, and representation of companies. We assist a broad base of clients within the energy sector, including electric power companies; oil pipelines; natural gas producers; hydroelectric and nuclear power plants; energy buyers, sellers, and marketers; and foreign governments.

International Trade

We have one of the largest and most experienced international trade practices advising on a broad range of areas including international trade litigation, public international law, EU law, WTO and other trade policy analysis and advocacy.

We have earned our reputation as a leading firm for assisting companies to develop and execute strategies to improve market access and minimize risk arising from international trade developments. Many of our attorneys bring insight gained from senior government service. We deliver substantive knowledge on a wide range of trade issues and policy disciplines in a cost-effective manner. We have in-depth knowledge of numerous industries with recurring trade policy concerns, and are skilled in many cutting-edge industries that are increasingly confronted with trade policy issues. Several of our attorneys have strong backgrounds in economics, which is often essential in successful trade policy advocacy.

Our ability to design strategies to solve trade problems is reflected in the broad range of trade policy matters we have handled: antidumping and subsidies rules and regulations, tariff and non-tariff barriers, trade with non-market economies, agricultural trade, government procurement standards and telecommunications.

Property

Lawyers in the Real Estate team have years of experience guiding clients through the subtleties of commercial property law and effectively negotiating the best deals possible.  The practice prides itself on the close collaboration it has with its clients and has a reputation for providing pro-active and commercial transaction advice in the real estate arena on a full range of areas including: The firm has represented clients in numerous sales, acquisitions, financings, and leases from the perspective of buyers, sellers, lenders, borrowers, landlords and tenants. 

Technology & Telecoms

Steptoe’s lawyers have gained an understanding of rapidly changing technologies, and of the often rapidly changing law associated with those technologies through working with numerous clients, from start-ups to the largest industry players, including suppliers of equipment, software, and services.

Steptoe’s telecommunications practice is in the forefront of the rapid evolution of new technologies, services, and investment strategies in the telecommunications industry. We regularly represent clients developing and implementing personal wireless communications networks, innovative satellite systems, direct broadcast satellite services, and international fiber-optic cables. Steptoe also advises clients on complicated legal and policy issues associated with spectrum allocations and government auctions.

Rankings

Many of Steptoe’s Russian & the CIS team them are based in the London office, which is recommended in the latest 2011 edition of the UK Legal 500 in the following categories:

  • Arbitration;
  • Commercial Property;
  • Commercial Property - Development;
  • Commercial Property - Investment;
  • Commercial Litigation;
  • Construction;
  • Fraud: commercial and regulatory investigations;
  • Fraud: corporate crime;
  • Insurance and reinsurance litigation;
  • Insurance: corporate and regulatory;
  • Mergers & Acquisitions;
  • Public International Law; and
  • Trade, WTO, anti-dumping, customs.

The following practices are also recommended by the latest 2012 edition of the UK Chambers.

  • Insurance: General Claims;
  • Reinsurance; and
  • Real Estate.

A number of our lawyers within our Russia & the CIS team also have individual accolades including:

UK Chambers, 2012 edition - Leading Individuals:

  • Jonathan Raynes - Construction
  • Angus Rodger - Insurance

UK Legal Experts, 2011 edition:

  • Andrew Bloom - Corporate, Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Jonathan Raynes - Construction
  • Angus Rodger - Insurance
  • Michael Thompson - Corporate, Mergers & Acquisitions

Representative Matters

  • Advising a large Russian investment company on its possible investment in a Canadian company listed on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchange.
  • Advising on the establishment of a technology fund to invest in internet and related mobile opportunities in Russia and the CIS.
  • Advising Raven Mount Group on their £57 million takeover by AIM-listed Raven Russia Limited, the leading developer of warehouse and logistics parks in Russia.
  • Advising on investments in a Cypriot joint venture holding company with a Russian trading subsidiary involved in the development of a network of Russian family entertainment centres and a hotel development in Kaliningrad.
  • Advising an international mining client on the termination of joint venture arrangements relating to a mineral project in Russia and the acquisition by our client of the joint venture partner’s interest in the project.
  • Acting for a large Russian automobile manufacturer in a LCIA arbitration dispute against a major European investment bank involving a guarantee. Value - US$90 million.
  • Acting in a LCIA arbitration against a leading European bank regarding claims arising from a bank guarantee. Value in excess of $90 million.
  • Co-counsel for a large Russian metals producer in a multi-billion dollar LCIA arbitration arising out of a shareholders’ dispute.
  • Co-counsel for a high-net-worth Russian individual in complex High Court proceedings relating to ownership in a major Russian company. Value - US$5 billion.
  • Advising a number of Russian parties in Bermuda court proceedings against a Bermuda based investment fund in a dispute involving alleged breach of contract, fraud and tort arising out of the parties’ co-operation in Russia. Value - US$84 million.
  • Acting for a leading Russian investment company in mediation proceedings involving a shareholders’ dispute relating to a large Russian textile producer. Value in excess of US$100 million.
  • Acting in a LCIA arbitration for a large Russian cement producer in dispute with a bank in respect of failed acquisition of a cement group. Value in excess of $75 million.
  • Three related LCIA arbitrations on behalf of three investor companies against a Bermuda based affiliate of a large Russian investment bank - the first example of an arbitration involving a Russian investment bank being sued as a direct result of the recent economic crisis. following the market crisis of 2008. (Value in excess of $4 million).
  • Privy Council proceedings on behalf of a Kyrgyz telecom holding company on appeal from the Isle of Man concerning a shareholder dispute over a Kyrgyz mobile operator. Value $600 million.
  • SCC arbitration on behalf of a Swiss trading company arising from a shareholder dispute and consequent fraud under frame and tolling agreements associated with the Russian aluminium industry. Value $380 million.
  • Fraud and conspiracy proceedings on behalf of French, Cypriot and Dubai based investors in Tajik aluminium plant. Proceedings involving claims under 6 separate governing laws. Value $75 million.
  • Several SCC arbitrations on behalf of a Russian uranium supplier against its US counterparty. Value $75 million.
  • Advising a Swiss investor in an LCIA arbitration and High Court proceedings relating to a Georgian property complex. Value $60 million.
  • Freezing order proceedings on behalf of a Russian trading company in British Virgin Islands arising from shareholders dispute and related fraud. Issues as to underlying validity of foreign arbitral award, risk of dissipation of assets and veil piercing. Value $50 million.
  • Bankruptcy proceedings involving a large Russian steel plant in Western Siberia on behalf of several Russian and offshore creditor companies. Value $45 million.
  • Advising a Russian state owned telecom company in an UNCITRAL arbitration with its US counterparty concerning supply of telecom equipment.
  • Advising a large Russian commodities trader on a number of FOSFA contracts with its EU counterparties.
  • Advising two investors and a corporate vehicle on a number of claims for conspiracy and other tort claims against 12 defendants in relation to a Central Asia aluminium plant. Value £70 million.
  • Representing a Cypriot subsidiary of a large Russian cement manufacturer in High Court and Court of Appeal proceedings. Case involved important interpretations of EU regulations.

Publications

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