Debevoise & Plimpton has advised the Ant Group on its agreements with Mail.ru Group, USM, Russian Direct Investment Fund, and MegaFon to create payments and financial services joint ventures.
2020 was quite a year and one all of us will not forget. For employment and labor law developments, 2020 was unlike any other. We saw rapid change and common themes emerge across the globe. One of the major themes was the introduction of government subsidies to support employers and maintain employment across many countries. We also saw an acceleration of remote and flexible working, and which posed both opportunities and challenges for employers and employees alike. There was also an increase in regulations that govern remote working.
Cash pooling is a convenient tool for optimizing cash management within a group of companies, but its popularity in Russia is limited. One of the reasons for this is the lack of unified legislation on cash pooling. In fact, it is subject to a complex regulatory landscape of civil, tax, banking, currency control, and insolvency law. One resulting difficulty is qualifying the very nature of the cash pooling arrangements. At first glance this may appear a purely academic problem, but in practice it has far-reaching practical implications.
As of June 19, 2020, Russian arbitrazh (commercial) courts have exclusive jurisdiction to hear certain cases related to “anti-Russian” sanctions. Affected legal entities and individuals may also apply for anti-suit injunctions in an attempt to prevent counterparties from pursuing claims abroad. Recent cases show that these new entitlements are not as favorable as once thought.
Since the Russian Federation’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, the peninsula in the Black Sea has been a minefield of conflicting international claims and interests, putting lawyers trying to work there, boxed in by the threat of sanctions from the West and counterveiling pressure from Moscow, in an untenable position.
Several important trends have appeared on the Russian legal market since 2014, the first year of EU/US sanctions and Russian countersanctions: 1) the growth in the market share of domestic law firms; 2) the in-sourcing of a large amount of legal work inside corporate legal departments; 3) the entrance of nonconventional players (such as banks and mobile operators) into the legal services market; and 4) the increased focus of lawyers on IT solutions and efficiency.