Representing Russia against ExxonMobil and helping a Russian investor sue Belarus
|People in Who’s Who Legal||3|
|Pending cases as counsel||29|
|Value of pending counsel work||US$3.9 billion|
|Current arbitrator appointments||
48 (of which 1 is
as sole or chair)
|Lawyers sitting as arbitrator||3|
Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners was founded in Moscow in 1993 and has emerged as one of the leading corporate law brands in Russia. Its chairman, Dimitry Afanasiev, is on the board of aluminium producer Rusal and has strong connections with the Russian state, and various home-grown corporations and their foreign entities.
The firm expanded into the CIS in 2011 by taking over Ukraine’s Magisters, a GAR 100 firm with several offices in the region. With more than 30 arbitration attorneys, the firm now says it has the largest arbitration practice in the CIS region.
The international arbitration and litigation practice is headed by Moscow partner Evgeny Raschevsky. Names to know include Dmitry Dyakin in Moscow, who co-heads the litigation practice, and Ilya Nikiforov in St Petersburg, the first arbitrator from Russia selected for a SIAC panel and vice chair of the Russian Arbitration Association. Nikiforov is also the first Russian or CIS practitioner to secure a place on the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR (as vice chair).
Serhii Sviriba, formerly the head of Ukraine’s arbitration commission and of Ukraine’s national committee for the ICC International Court of Arbitration, led the team that translated the 2012 ICC rules into Ukrainian. There’s also a cohort of English law practitioners to reflect the dominance of English and US law in Russian commercial contracts.
Most of the arbitration team is in Moscow with others in St Petersburg, Kiev and Minsk. The firm has an office in Washington, DC, and a best-friend arrangement with Kazakh firm Aequitas in Almaty.
Who uses it?
Egorov Puginsky has worked for the governments of Russia and Ukraine, Russian Railways, Nestlé, A1 Group, Irish Bank Resolution, Neocorp, Hochtief, Pacific Inter-Link, BP, Rusal, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Total, Sibirskiy Cement and Moldova’s Agroindbank. Ukrainian-born oligarch Konstantin Grigorishin and his company Energy Standard are also recent clients.
The firm’s lawyers also represent Russian interests in the International Court of Justice in The Hague and the European Court of Human Rights.
Together with Sidley Austin, the firm helped a Rusal subsidiary win US$70 million in an ICC case against an affiliate of Tajikistan’s state aluminium company, and defeat a parallel claim brought at the SCC.
In 2012, a team led by Markiyan Kliuchkovskyi in Kiev helped Ukraine defeat an ICSID claim brought by a US construction company over a contract to develop a university site in Kiev. The firm acted as co-counsel with White & Case. While at Magisters, Kliuchkovskyi also helped Ukraine to defeat a US$35 million claim by US poultry exporters in 2010 – the first successful use of ICSID’s summary dismissal procedure.
The St Petersburg office assisted European shareholders in Agroindbank, Moldova’s largest bank, to challenge an ad hoc award in favour of a Seychelles entity that would have served as a legal basis to write off shares in the bank held by the firm’s clients. A Russian appeal court confirmed the set-aside in 2011.
The firm represented Konstantin Grigorishin and Energy Standard in a JAMS arbitration valued at US$300 million. The firm obtained a pre-hearing dismissal of all claims, and an award of US$5.7 million in fees and costs.
Together with WilmerHale, the firm is advising Grand Service Express – the Russian operator of a luxury railway service – in one of the first known investment treaty claims against Belarus. The case was registered at ICSID in early 2018.
Ivan Smirnov in the St Petersburg provided Russian law advice to a Total subsidiary, Elf Neftegaz, as respondent in a US$22 billion UNCITRAL claim lodged by two Russian provincial governments. Linklaters, Mannheimer Swartling and Vinge led the co-counsel team for Total on the case. which ended in the complete dismissal of the claims.
Egorov Puginsky continues to act for the Russian government in a US$500 million tax dispute with ExxonMobil, which is playing out in arbitration proceedings.
A client that has used Egorov Puginsky recently for treaty-based and commercial matters says the firm is “capable of resolving complex arbitration cases of the highest magnitude”. Dmitry Dyakin is “the leading professional in this area” while Vladimir Pestrikov is “a mature, bright and creative lawyer”.
A US satellite company used the firm for help with Russian law matters in an LCIA arbitration and says it found the Egorov Puginsky team “responsive and efficient”. Dyakin “proved to be an excellent attorney, both in terms of his knowledge of the relevant law [and] as a practical-minded negotiator.”