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GAR 100 - 12th Edition

Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners

05 April 2019

Helped Russia settle a tax dispute with ExxonMobil

People in Who's Who Legal 2
People in Future Leaders 1
Pending cases as counsel 30
Value of pending counsel work US$2.4 billion
Treaty cases 3
Third-party funded cases 0
Current arbitrator appointments 6 (1 as chair or sole)
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 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).

There’s also a cohort of English law practitioners to reflect the dominance of English and US law in Russian commercial contracts.

The firm expanded into the CIS in 2011 by taking over Ukraine’s Magisters, a GAR 100 firm with several offices in the region. However in 2018 that practice, led by Serhii Sviriba and Markiyan Kliuchkovskyi, split away from the firm to join Ukraine’s Asters.

Network

Most of the arbitration team is in Moscow with others in St Petersburg 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 Russian government, 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.

Track record

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.

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.

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.

Recent events

Acting as co-counsel with Curtis Mallet-Prevost & Mosle the firm helped settle a US$500 million tax dispute with ExxonMobil. Exxon brought the claim, which was heard under UNCITRAL rules and seated in Stockholm, alleging that it had overpaid tax on an offshore oil and gas project.

The firm continues to act as co-counsel with WilmerHale to Grand Service Express – the Russian operator of a luxury railway service – in one of the first known investment treaty claims against Belarus.

Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska is using the firm alongside Boies Schiller & Flexner to bring an UNCITRAL treaty claim against Montenegro over an insolvent aluminium smelting plant.

Client comment

One client says he used the firm in connection with the Russian aspects of a complex set of related arbitration and litigation proceedings and that the firm was “outstanding” in all of the “technical legal aspects of their involvement.” He singles out Dimitri Dyakin for particular praise.

Another says that the firm stepped in to help their company in “an extremely difficult situation” when it was in arbitration with a large Russian telecommunications company. They say Dyakin arranged “an extremely favourable settlement” and that he and his team “demonstrated not only an excellent command of the relevant legal precepts but also provided practical and solution-driven advice.”

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