Clifford Chance to wind down Moscow offices amid scrutiny over law firm’s links to oligarchs
Magic Circle law firm Clifford Chance has set out plans to close its Moscow offices, as City of London law firms face mounting pressure to sever all ties to Russia.
Clifford Chance’s decision to “wind down” its Moscow offices comes just an hour after Magic Circle law firm Allen & Overy said it would be closing its offices in the Russian capital.
In a statement a spokesperson for Clifford Chance said the firm has “decided to progress our steps for an orderly wind down of our operations in Moscow.”
The decision comes after Clifford Chance first started working in Russia in 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Clifford Chances’ exit comes after significant pressure was placed on the Magic Circle law firm to sever its links.
Clifford Chance has previously carried out work on behalf of various entities with strong ties to Russia’s oligarchs, including mining company Norilsk Nickel.
Notably, Norlisk Nickel’s two major shareholders, Oleg Deripaska and Vladimir Potanin, both have strong ties to Vladimir Putin, having built their fortunes by buying up state-owned companies, after Boris Yeltsin set out to privatise the Russian economy in the 1990s.
Clifford Chance has in the past also acted on behalf of sanctioned Russian banks, Sberbank and Sovcombank.