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“The team was recently visible advising on a number of pharmaceutical cases. Sources agree that the team is “moving in the right direction” and are particularly impressed by its work in the pharmaceutical sector”.

 

Social Benefit

21.09.2015

Source: The Yurydychna Praktyka

Roman Marchenko, Senior Partner at Ilyashev & Partners Law Firm about the situation in the legal services market, benefits and risks of rise to power of lawyers and participation in the upcoming local elections

– What is the condition of legal business in our country?

– There is no Crimea, no a part of the Donbass industrial production dipped considerably and legal business can not but feels it. However, e.g. there is a lot of new work in the banking sector, including through the Deposit Insurance Fund. Our firm traditionally has plenty of new litigation and arbitration cases. In general, summer was very active, much work, which changes in quality, but remains the same in volumes.

– Speaking of changing quality do you mean bias towards “controversial” practices?

– Particularly, but not exclusively. We understand that there is no and can not be a large new development in the country, no M&A, no IPO – these topics are closed (hopefully only temporarily). There is no foreign investment: money of the IMF is all that Ukraine receives. Our interesting projects in this field include participation in a working group under the auspices of the Ministry of Finance in relation to the risks associated with the possible default of Ukraine. In view of our extensive practice of work with assets abroad, we analyzed what property of our country can be arrested in case of default.

– As Ukraine managed to negotiate the restructuring were these projects scrapped?

– Meanwhile Ukraine obtained only consent of the creditors, and we expect the restructuring terms to be finalized. In addition, e.g. the Russian Federation has already declared that it will not participate in the restructuring with respect to its 3 bln. Thus, the government does the right things preparing for the worst. For us, it is a pro bono work, we helping our country to be prepared for such eventualities.

– What work are your new offices busy with in the Crimea and the Russian Federation?

– All of our five offices are loaded with work. We opened offices in Simferopol and Moscow with a view to protect the Ukrainian interests in the peninsula and Russia. It was justified, because a large number of our clients who have their business interests there are interested in obtaining legal aid, in which they can be assured, including as regards confidentiality of information. We justified our forecast that such a large market as Russia will show interest of the Ukrainian business to the services of a well-known law firm with headquarters in Kyiv. With regard to practice in the Crimea, it has its own specifics. There it is usually a question of protection of interests of our clients, both legal entities and individuals, violated in connection with the annexation. Generally speaking, it is assistance in the “outcome” of business from the Crimea. We counseled the closure of Metro shops, advised a major telecom operator, work much on sanctions.

– What are the current projects of the company?

– The most resonant project, probably, is the case of Mukhtar Ablyazov. It is a unique and unprecedented case, which is extremely interesting in Ukraine in view of turbulence in our banking sector. Ablyazov “withdrew” from its bank, registered for on nominees, huge amounts of money to finance personal projects worldwide. The list of offshore companies, we have found and taken under control, through which the funds were withdrew, numbers 1,300 (!). When the crisis broke, Ablyazov preferred to escape from Kazakhstan, declaring that he was persecuted for political reasons. This myth was quickly debunked by the British justice. There are five orders, which are effective and passed all the authorities in London, obliging Ablyazov to return $ 4.3 bln to the Kazakh bank. The fail banker was declared a fraudster and was sentenced in England to 22 months in prison, but he again disappeared. He committed crimes not only in Kazakhstan but also in Ukraine, the Russian Federation and some other states. In July 2013, he was arrested in France and since then has been retained in the pretrial detention facility. His extradition is sought by three countries, and the French courts have already permitted his extradition to Russia and Ukraine. The final extradition order will be passed by the French government. In view of the international situation, the chances that Ablyazov will be extradited to Ukraine are quite high.

– And why does Ukraine need it?

– This case is a perfect example that a banker can not plunder the bank’s money and escape to enjoy life in the Bahamas. The Ablyazov case shows evidently that no one (even with a pot of money) can escape from justice, if the creditors are actively engaged in the case. Pursuing justice for Ablyazov and members of his organized criminal group, Ukraine gives absolutely clear message to our bankers, and not only to them, but also to the whole business.

There is also an “ancillary” purpose. The offence Ablyazov is charged with provides for the confiscation. If his guilt is proven, Ukraine will be able to enter the struggle for the stolen 12 billion dollars: everything it finds, may be confiscated to the state budget.

– Are there any messages from the state that can improve the situation in the market of legal services?

– It is impossible in principle. The legal services market is secondary to the economic situation. The government must think about business development, improving of investment attractiveness of the country and regions. Lawyers do not need help – do not interfere with the business as a whole. But until the maximum breathing spell in the Donbas, we can forget about a strategic development of the country. When we put things in order in terms of the current hostilities, we can expect at least the increase in domestic investment if not the immediate arrival of foreign investors.

– And can the lawyers, including those doing the civil service, themselves influence the processes in the state?

– Accession of lawyers to power has both positive and negative sides. Unconditionally positive is that these people are very well-trained. For example, my fellow-students Oleksiy Filatov, Yuriy Terentyev, Sergiy Shklyar, Valeriy Tarasyuk and others are engaged in important areas of state-building. They are very professional people who have achieved success outside the bureaucratic sphere and now help the state. I do not support all their steps, but the fact that such people are motivated to serve the state is a huge success of the society.

On the other hand, it is essential for the lawyers, who are accustomed to solve the clients’ problems using any, including unconventional ways, finding creative ways out of any situation, often artificially “interpreting the law alternatively”, not to do the same when going to the civil service. The state is not a limited liability company, it can not be governed similar to business. Recall the first mass arrival of attorneys to power during the presidency of Viktor Yushchenko. The Kyiv District Administrative Court passed the decision unfavorable to the President. There is a civilized way: to go to appellate instance and set aside the decision, and there are options offered by the attorney who came into power: let us dissolve the court and create two new ones in its place. Or cancel a decree appointing the judges. Such actions create legal chaos. Such attorney’s experience is not necessary in public administration. There are certain, if you like, in a good sense bureaucratic foundations, which should not be destroyed. Otherwise, you can rock the boat to complete loss of control.

– In view of the upcoming local elections how much are legal practitioners interested in social activity on the level of separate communities?

– First of all, I would note that the local elections will be held according to a new law for the first time. The law is revolutionary and not only for Ukraine. Local elections in such form are not held anywhere else in the world. Gender quota is also interesting. So we will have a very interesting campaign.

I would tell about the interest of lawyers in local self-government based on my own experience. Recently, I was offered several high bureaucratic posts, but I can not leave the firm, which I have been running for 18 years, and I am not ready to violate the law by combining these things. However, I am willing to share my knowledge in work of local councils. I received an invitation from “Samopomich” to take part in the elections to the Kyiv City Council. It is a team of decent people, whose motivation is very close to mine. On the one hand, the quality of my life, if elected as a member of council, would be much worse: I will have less free time, and the number of assignments will increase. But I was born in Kyiv, here my parents, wife and two daughters live. Thus, my “selfish” goal is to improve the city so that my children would want to live and raise my future grandchildren here and not somewhere in Europe or the United States. I think we, the successful residents of Kyiv, are fully able to apply our successful experience in the beloved city.

   

 
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