Law giant CMS closes Moscow offices after coming under fire for links to oligarchs
European law giant CMS has said it will close its Moscow offices and withdraw from the Russian market, after Conservative MP Bob Seely named CMS partner Geraldine Proudler as one of four “amoral” lawyers working for oligarchs to silence the press.
In a post on Linkedin today, the law firm said it had decided that “it is no longer appropriate to have a CMS office in Russia” as it said it would be “making an orderly transition” out of Russia.
The decision comes after CMS last week vowed not to take on any more Russian clients, as it said it had put its Russian operations under “critical review”.
CMS’ move to exit Russia comes as the world’s major law firms continue to pile out of the country, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
CMS first opened its Moscow offices in 2008, and has represented a number of high-profile Russian clients, including Russia’s state-controlled gas giant Gazprom.
In the past, CMS has also worked for major Russian clients including the country’s Sberbank and VTB banks alongside state-owned oil producer Rosneft.
The move comes after Conservative MP Bob Seely named CMS partner Geraldine Proudler as one of four City of London lawyers working on behalf of oligarchs to silence the British press.
A spokesperson for CMS said: ““We strongly reject the recent allegations of impropriety that have been made against CMS, and in particular Geraldine Proudler.”
“We have reviewed the steps taken in our Media Litigation practice and are confident that these were compliant with all professional regulations as well as our wider responsibilities at the time.”
“Since the brutal and unlawful invasion of Ukraine, CMS, like many businesses, has been reassessing its work for Russian clients and as we have already said, we will no longer be accepting new instructions from Russian based entities or from any individuals with connections to the Russian government and we will be withdrawing from Moscow.”