Prominent Russian lawyer sanctioned by UK

The UK Law Society Gazette reports

An individual named by the UK government in its latest round of Ukraine-related sanctions is the co-founding partner of leading Russian law firm Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners, the Gazette can reveal.

Nikolai Egorov was among those named in a package of measures announced to coincide with President Volodymyr Zelensky’s state visit this month. He was sanctioned for his former role as deputy chairman of Russia’s largest privately owned oil refinery, Antipinsky, which is the subject of ongoing litigation in the High Court.

Egorov also owns another Russian energy company, Energetika, which, like Antipinsky, was seen by the UK authorities as supporting the Moscow government. Egorov was a university contemporary of President Vladimir Putin and was honoured for his work by the Russian state in 2008.

The UK government said Egorov was part of an opaque financial network connected to Putin, claiming that he, and others sanctioned, enjoyed personal riches and oversight of state-owned industries in return for their allegiance.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: ‘These new sanctions accelerate the economic pressure on Putin – undermining his war machine to help Ukraine prevail. I am determined, consistent with our laws, that Russia will have no access to the assets we have frozen until it ends, once and for all, its threats to Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty and integrity.’

In addition to co-founding EPAM, one of Russia’s largest commercial law firms, Egorov is also a professor at St. Petersburg University. Although no longer a partner, according to UK government records, Egorov maintains a correspondence address at the firm, to which notice of the sanctions was sent. EPAM closed its London office in May last year.

The Antipinsky oil refinery, meanwhile, remains the subject of ongoing litigation in the England and Wales courts, as the defendant in litigation against Russian bank, VTB, which is also sanctioned. At a hearing in November, Mr. Justice Foxton, the head of the Commercial Court, stayed litigation against Antipinsky, in giving guidance on case management in London litigation where parties are subject to sanctions and unable to pay either its lawyers or court fees.

Antipinsky, in part due to those proceedings, has been in receivership since 2019, following a freezing order issued in related litigation arising from long-running arbitration proceedings brought by a London trading house.