Date: Tue, 3 Mar 2009
Subject: Backer on Liakhov on Backer and Backer about Backer on Backer
From: Paul Backer <email@example.com>
Having received four emails as to Mr. Liakhov's [JRL #42] comments on my comments, I am compelled to respond. Truth must be served. In an immortal phrase attributed to Rev. Al Sharpton, "I don't just deny the allegation! I deny the allegator!"
With profound professional deference to my colleague who made broad denunciatory replies to my sweeping generalizations, I would like to respectfully point out that I as: 1. a holder of several law degrees awarded through studies at University of London Law School and the Georgetown University Law Center, 2. having 15 years of regional experience, 3. author of 4 published law books and 4. ... Just kidding. Really.
Some quick points:
1. Writing takes a lot of time and effort. It is deeply flattering to have feedback.
2. Andrei's response in my opinion is in the best tradition of this list. We are grown-ups, traditionally most readers are decisionmakers. There is a tradition among grown-ups of not accepting anyone's opinion as gospel. He is a well known attorney with a decade of experience with major UK law firm, certainly entitled to his opinion.
3. It has been mildly shocking as to who is doing the reading. Emails from correspondents, and... (crazy world) from EC and US government officials.
That's it for the reply. As to professional points:
1. The news that filing bizzare lawsuits by virtually non-existent shareholders in distant places is over, must come as distinct relief to Norwegian Telenor which lost $1.7 billion judgment in Omsk to a "0.002 percent share owner of Vimpelcom" less than two weeks ago. In fairness, I have been to Omsk and it's very nice.
2. Yes, you CAN take money through court order out of a loser's bank account, generally after he has been sued, lost, served notice, responded to bailiffs, etc. I dimly recall recommending arresting the bank accounts FIRST in an article last year, but that's not the point. The point is that it is very unlikely that anyone with a lawyer is going to be, umm... let's use "disorganized" enough to leave millions in their bank account to be taken. As a matter of fact, asset reorganization is one of the few remaining active practice areas for Western majors in Moscow. I am in the process of finishing a grueling (tough going) article on Real Estate, and then maybe a piece on "asset reorganization".
3. There is a world of difference between writing in 0.3% or 1% or whatever penalties per day into a contract and having a court actually award them and (key part here) collect them. Write in the penalties by all means, I do. Doesn't mean that you will get them.
As to the points made by Andrei about the efficacy of Western law firms in Moscow, not a lot that I can add.