Russian Billionaires Evading Sanctions by Funding Cases in UK & US

By John Freund |

One of the latest critiques of the litigation finance industry is that it represents a potential threat to US national security, due to the possibility of foreign governments and entities by funding lawsuits that target American companies and strategic national interests. Whilst there has been scant evidence of this being a tangible issue, a new investigation has revealed that Russian billionaires have been avoiding international sanctions by financing lawsuits in the West.

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An LFJ Conversation with Michael Kelley, Partner, Parker Poe

By John Freund |

One of the latest critiques of the litigation finance industry is that it represents a potential threat to US national security, due to the possibility of foreign governments and entities by funding lawsuits that target American companies and strategic national interests. Whilst there has been scant evidence of this being a tangible issue, a new investigation has revealed that Russian billionaires have been avoiding international sanctions by financing lawsuits in the West.

The detailed investigation by Bloomberg Law focuses on the activities of the investment company A1, its parent corporation Alfa Group, and A1’s directors. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Alfa Group has been sanctioned by both the United States and United Kingdom, as were A1’s billionaire directors Petr Aven, Mikhail Fridman, German Khan, and Alexey Kuzmichev. The US also individually sanctioned A1 in September 2023.

Bloomberg’s investigation reveals that A1 has financed and been directly involved in the proceedings of bankruptcy lawsuits in both New York and London, having spent approximately $20 million across these cases. The investigation highlights that A1’s sanctioned directors attempted to avoid the reach of their individual sanctions by selling the company to another of its directors, Alexander Fain, for the miniscule sum of $900. In a witness statement for one of the bankruptcy cases, Fain explained that his directors had sold the company because “it became obvious that A1 LLC would no longer be able to operate normally and that there was a risk of default on its obligations to fund the litigation.”

Commenting on the investigation, J. Scott Maberry, partner at Sheppard Mullin, described A1’s funding activities as “a big development in that sense because it kind of puts the US judicial system on par with the New York Stock Exchange and the US dollar as things that we need to start thinking carefully about how to deny access to.” Matt Webb, senior vice president at the Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform, argued that “A1’s actions are an example of the problems that arise when foreign entities can finance litigation.”

The full details of A1’s involvement in these cases, as well as the roles played by sanctioned individuals can be read in Bloomberg Law’s article.

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By Harry Moran |

One of the latest critiques of the litigation finance industry is that it represents a potential threat to US national security, due to the possibility of foreign governments and entities by funding lawsuits that target American companies and strategic national interests. Whilst there has been scant evidence of this being a tangible issue, a new investigation has revealed that Russian billionaires have been avoiding international sanctions by financing lawsuits in the West.

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Federal Judges Argue Against Public Disclosure of Litigation Funding

By Harry Moran |

One of the latest critiques of the litigation finance industry is that it represents a potential threat to US national security, due to the possibility of foreign governments and entities by funding lawsuits that target American companies and strategic national interests. Whilst there has been scant evidence of this being a tangible issue, a new investigation has revealed that Russian billionaires have been avoiding international sanctions by financing lawsuits in the West.

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