A Blessing and a Curse: Sanctions a Mixed Bag for Foreign and Domestic Law Firms in Russia
Russia has been going through a volatile period the past few years, as the country continues to suffer from depressed oil prices and the effect of Western sanctions imposed following Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea that prohibit European and American companies from doing business with numerous wealthy Russian individuals (or companies owned by them), and prohibit specified Russian companies in the financial, energy, and defense sectors from accessing US and EU markets. While the international law firms are struggling to stay afloat, domestic Russian law firms have been doing just fine. Pepeliaev Group Managing Partner Sergey Pepeliaev says his firm is doing “brisk” business as well and increased in size in both 2017 and in 2018.
Russian regulator planning to launch parallel imports abuse of dominance cases “shortly”
In February 2018, Russia’s Constitutional Court ruled that trademark owners’ claims against parallel importers may themselves be “abusive” if they unjustifiably limit importers into Russia or if the owners’ branded goods are overpriced. The Court also ruled parallel imported goods may only be confiscated and destroyed if they fail to meet required standards of quality, safety, health, environment or culture. The court effectively ruled that IP rights should not be used to limit competition, even where rules offer the opportunity to seek compensation from the parallel importer, said Elena Sokolovskaya, head of the antitrust practice at Pepeliaev Group.
Bilateral flow between HK and Russia tipped to soar
Bilateral trade and investment flows between Hong Kong and Russia are expected to expand over the next couple of years as Russia shifts its economic focus to Asia, and the conclusion of the comprehensive double taxation agreement (CDTA) between the two parties.
Russia to Raise Max Base to Calculate Social Insurance Payments
The Russian government has proposed an increase in the maximum value of the tax base for social insurance and pension payments by 8 percent beginning Jan. 1. All companies in Russia, including foreign and multinational enterprises, are liable for compulsory insurance contributions for their employees to fund social welfare programs. The payments include social insurance in case of employee's temporary incapacity to work or maternity leave, medical insurance to fund the free public health care system, and pension contributions for retirement.
The European Tax Awards Names Pepeliaev Group Best European Firm in Tax Policy
Law firm Pepeliaev Group has topped the ‘Best European firm of the year in tax policy’ category of the European Tax Awards 2017 international legal ratings. In this category, awards go to law firms that implement projects in the field of reforming tax legislation. Pepeliaev Group has been representing FIFA for several years in its negotiations with the Russian government in relation to the raft of sports-related legislation and subordinate legislation to be developed in the context of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Pepeliaev Group Expands China Practice
The Pepeliaev Group has launched a Chinese Desk to provide legal assistance for Chinese investors in Russia and has announced that the firm is opening associated offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. The Pepeliaev Group’s representative offices will operate in association with the Chinese law firm China Window.