Khodorkovsky, ten years on

M.B.KhodorkovskyHere is my latest piece published on the IBA Global Insight newsfeed:

The Russian judicial system has been thrust into the spotlight countless times in recent months by the high level of international media attention surrounding trials involving the Arctic 30, the Bolotnaya Square protesters, Pussy Riot and Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

However, arguably 25 October this year marks one of the most significant junctures in recent Russian legal history: it is ten years to the day since Russian businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky was arrested at gunpoint in Siberia after his plane was stormed by special forces officers and he was detained by the Russian authorities.

Ten years behind bars and the former head of the now bankrupt oil company Yukos has undergone a rollercoaster ride of trials and appeals within Russia and further afield. Both he and his former Yukos business partner Platon Lebedev – who was arrested in July 2003 and has been represented by a separate legal team – first went on trial in June 2004 charged with tax evasion and fraud.

Published on 25-10-13. Read on here

BP seeks to bring Russian adventure with TNK to an end

Here is my latest piece published in the IBA Global Insight newsfeed:

When the news came last month that BP was looking to end its Russian tie-up with TNK, few people were surprised.

BP has long been wracked by disputes between its Russian shareholders and this was no clearer than during the Rosneft debacle last year. In January 2011, BP and state-owned Russian energy company Rosneft shocked the world by signing a US$16bn share swap deal to jointly exploit oil and gas reserves in Russia’s Arctic shelf. The deal would have made Rosneft the largest single shareholder in BP, but it was not to be.

Alfa-Access-Renova (AAR), which owns 50 per cent of TNK-BP, claimed that the terms of the share swap deal were in violation of its shareholder agreement, which clearly stipulates that BP must carry out all projects in Russia and the Ukraine through TNK-BP. AAR filed a lawsuit and after retaining Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, went on to obtain an injunction on the deal in London’s High Court in April last year.

Published on 12-07-12. Read on here

Russian elections: Putin again despite the protests

Here is my latest piece published in the IBA Global Insight newsfeed:

Scenes of protests wracked the streets of Moscow in December 2011 following widespread public outcry over alleged voting fraud in Russia’s parliamentary elections.

More protests followed in the run-up to the elections in March this year but Vladimir Putin finally emerged triumphant with an estimated 64 per cent of the vote.

While the West may remain sceptical of Putin’s intentions during his third term as president, a number of Russians believe his tenure will see a continuing focus on boosting the country’s economy, particularly in relation to the oil and gas sector.

Published on 29-03-12. Read on here

Rosneft embraces new western partner after abortive BP deal

Here is my latest piece published in the IBA Global Insight newsfeed:

The news this week that ExxonMobil has signed a deal with Rosneft to explore oil and gas reserves in Russia’s Arctic shelf has ruffled more than a few feathers.

As IBA Global Insight reported earlier this year, after initial excitement, BP and Rosneft’s momentous US$16bn share swap deal quickly fell apart following a dispute with Russian investors in TNK-BP (BP’s existing Russian joint venture).

BP was eventually forced to pull out of the tie-up in May and the fiasco was an embarrassment for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had previously endorsed the deal.

Published on 02-09-11. Read on here

The Struggle for Africa – The fight to establish law and justice in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Here is my latest article published in IBA Global Insight:

While the Democratic Republic of Congo is among the world’s most resource-rich countries, it has also been crippled by war and corruption. IBA Global Insight assesses the ongoing fight to establish law and justice in the heart of Africa.

In June last year, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) celebrated 50 years of independence from Belgium. Despite the festivities, the country had little to celebrate. The DRC has been characterised by brutality for over a decade and an estimated 5.4 million people have died from the effects of the country’s two recent wars. Although the 2006 election – the country’s first free elections for four decades – suggested progress, the country has seen the rape of more than 200,000 women and children over the past 12 years. The eastern provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu, which share a border with Rwanda, have been two of the areas most affected by violence, displacement and insecurity due to continuous clashes between rebel groups, pro-government militia and the armed forces.

Published on 03-08-11. Read on here

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