Law firm Linklaters to wind down Russia operations

LONDON, March 4 (Reuters) - London-founded global law firm Linklaters plans to wind down its operations in Russia and close its Moscow office following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, it said on Friday.

The firm, which opened its Moscow office in 1992, also said it will not act for individuals or entities controlled by, or under the influence of, the Russian state, or connected with the current Russian regime, wherever they are in the world.

It plans to wind down existing work in accordance with its legal and professional obligations and will continue to assist international clients in dealing with the implications of the current crisis and in unwinding their Russian business interests.

Major companies in the energy and technology industries such as BP , Shell (SHEL.L) and Apple Inc (AAPL.O) are pulling out of Russia or suspending their business there as Western nations impose sanctions against Moscow.

London-founded Linklaters has over 70 attorneys in Moscow, according to its website, and its Russian clients have included entities sanctioned over the attacks on Ukraine. The firm advised Russian gas supplier Gazprom on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipeline projects, and its website lists sanctioned Russian financial institutions VTB and Sberbank as clients.

Russian oil giant Rosneft (ROSN.MM) has also been a client.

Several international law firms said since the invasion that they are reviewing or ending relationships with sanctioned Russian entities, but Linklaters is the largest to confirm it will exit Moscow entirely.

Another major British law firm, CMS, said Friday that the future of its Moscow office is “under critical review.” Baker Botts, a Texas-based international firm operating in Moscow, said it is “actively examining” its future in Russia.

Swedish law firm Mannheimer Swartling said Wednesday it has suspended all Russian operations and is analyzing whether it can leave the market.

Reporting by James Davey and Jacqueline Thomsen; Editing by David Bario and David Gregorio

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