Russia Legal News Blast, May 4, 2011

As Russian companies aspiring to go public and raise funds on major Western exchanges, the lawyers drafting their IPOs often offer fascinating glimpses of what Western consultants really think about Russian investment climate and Russian legal system. Vedomosti offers some gems from the prospectus of the Yandex IPO, a major Russian internet search engine. According to the prospectus, the company may be a target of a hostile takeover of “politically connected” Russian financial groups, and possibilities of the company to offer resistance “are limited.” As a remedy, the company established an off-shore corporate structure that will make the raiding more difficult. Another confirmation of the fact that, in order to make an independent business successful in Russia, one needs to keep both the corporate governance and major assets outside of Russia.

In other news, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled in favor of Igor Sutyagin in a case of Sutyagin v. Russia. The judicial procedure by which the Russian scholar was condemned for 10 years of imprisonment for alleged spying was declared essentially a mockery of justice.Russian Gazette has published an article of a coming radical reform of the Russian legal profession. Legal consultants, while not admitted to be automatically members of the bar during a grace period of 6 months as originally proposed, would be governed by the same set of the ethical and professional rules as members of the bar (advokats), and form with advokats a single corporation.