In the past 10 years, Russia has put itself firmly back on the world stage. Under President Vladimir Putin’s leadership, Moscow has engaged in a proactive and aggressive foreign policy. Russia’s increasingly belligerent activity comes at a time when it is continuing to recover from the 2008 global financial crisis, prior to which it was a magnet for foreign investment. Following economic destabilisation, it remains a potentially lucrative but challenging jurisdiction for foreign investors, with any flow of capital also having significant ramifications for the economic wellbeing of its neighbours.
Moscow is undoubtedly the kingpin amongst the former Soviet States and the reverberations of its actions are keenly felt across the region and beyond. As EU and US sanctions continue to bite and questions are asked about President Trump’s Russia links, Russia & CIS continues to be an unpredictable and fluid political and commercial environment.
We are passionate about the region and are dedicated to providing up-to-date analysis of the issues facing Russia and the wider region, keeping abreast of the latest developments and current affairs to ensure our analysis remains pertinent in the wake of a fast-moving and unpredictable political and business environment.
Cyber Response – Russia
A multinational client called on us to assist at every stage of the incident response process after they were affected by the global malware attack known as ‘NotPetya’ in June 2017. NotPetya was a major cyberattack, reportedly of Russian origin, that appeared to target Ukrainian companies before spreading more widely.
We worked with the client to coordinate their initial response, providing expert advisory to help secure their systems and prevent further infection. Our forensic experts then determined the point-of-entry and spreading methods of the malware. Armed with this knowledge, we formed a communications and remediation strategy following the successful containment of the incident. This included reporting to authorities, investors and clients regarding the incident, and advising on the choice and implementation of cutting-edge technologies and controls to ensure that an incident of the same kind could never reoccur.
Security Risk Management – Kazakhstan
In Kazakhstan, we managed a long-term project providing corporate risk support to an oil and gas services company operating in the west of the country. This involved provided on-site training and security assistance, liaising with local Kazakh employees in Russian, and conducting detailed security assessments of the premises in order to ascertain any potential weaknesses and concerns. The project was high-profile in nature, involving working with major domestic Kazakh operators in one of the country’s principal oil and gas fields.
Pre-transactional Due Diligence – Kazakhstan
A Western European company wanted to initiate a joint venture in Kazakhstan. Over the course of the 18 months prior to investment, we were engaged to provide a number of reports in support of the deal to help our client better understand the operating environment and to provide further detail concerning their potential Kazakh joint venture partners. This included providing information relating to the partners’ international asset position to protect against any future contractual disputes.
This resulted in us conducting a wide-ranging study of Kazakhstan, which involved thorough analysis of the market entry risks associated with the country, including an assessment of the regulatory environment, risks of corruption, political interference, and financial crime. In addition to this, we conducted detailed investigations into the client’s prospective partner, which involved mapping ownership structures in order to establish evidence of any potential hidden beneficiaries linked to the Kazakh political elite, as well as conducting enquiries with contacts in Kazakhstan concerning their track record and reputation.
Enhanced Due Diligence – Ukraine
We conducted a detailed enhanced due diligence investigation in early 2017 on behalf of a London-based client looking to engage in a business arrangement with a prominent Ukrainian businessman. This involved conducting detailed public record research, focusing on Ukrainian and Russian-language sources, with a particular focus on a number of issues that the client had asked us to investigate in some detail, namely the individual in question’s political security and some historical allegations of criminal wrongdoing.
As a litigious individual with a complex and far-reaching profile, we supported our research with face-to-face enquiries in Ukraine with a number of our well-placed contacts which included investigative journalists, business figures and local commentators with a keen understanding of the political and commercial environment in the country. Information from these contacts refined and developed our analysis and knowledge of the subject, allowing us to provide our client with a comprehensive report which tackled the key issues in the subject’s profile and give them the information required to make an informed assessment of the level of risk associated with transacting with him.