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2022 Russia sanctions

Ukraine crisis webinar: what’s next for global business?

On 24 March 2022 we hosted a webinar exploring the implications of the Ukraine crisis for global businesses.

The session began by examining the sanctions that have been imposed on Russian persons by the US, UK and EU, which together were described as ‘unprecedented in their complexity, coordination and impact on companies around the world’. This was followed by insights on the options for companies with operations in Russia as well as an overview of how to position a business for disputes. Here we outline the main topics; if you would like to discuss the impact of the Ukraine crisis on your business, please get in touch with your usual Freshfields contact or the relevant speaker.

Lukas Pomaroli, a principal associate in our Vienna disputes practice, first explained the following issues on asset freezes, among other topics.

  • What assets are covered by Western sanctions, and what does an ‘asset freeze’ mean in legal terms?
  • What are US secondary sanctions and what do they mean for non-US persons?

William Robinson, a Partner in our London disputes practice, then focused on sectoral sanctions, including:

  • Why have G7 nations imposed sectoral sanctions?
  • How are Russian countermeasures affecting global companies?

Next up was Stephanie Brown Cripps, counsel in our New York sanctions practice, who explained export controls and what they mean for business, including:

  • What are export controls, and how do they differ from sanctions?
  • How is this round of export controls different?
  • How can companies manage export control risk?

Rounding out the first section, William Robinson then gave a brief overview of certain Russian countermeasures, among other things.

  • How are Russia's anti-sanctions law (which makes it a criminal offence to comply with G7 sanctions), and new measures targeting the effect of Western sanctions affecting business?
  • What other developments are on the horizon?

Sebastian Lawson looked at the options for businesses with operations in Russia, including:

  • What challenges do businesses face when considering whether to stay in Russia, mothball their operations or exit the market?
  • How do Russian countermeasures affect these options?

Kate Cooper then offered further insight on the practical implications of these options, including:

  • How does a decition to stay in, or exit, Russia affect a company's people, reputation, brand management, IP, and data?
  • How do Russian countermeasures impact the day-to-day conduct of a business?

David Livshiz then discussed how companies can best position themselves for potential disputes, looking at, among other things:

  • Under what circumstances can a business terminate a contract with a Russian counterparty, and how would it protect its litigation position?
  • What should the company be thinking about if its contract has an arbitration clause?

Noah Rubins revealed how to mitigate the risk of parallel litigation, including:

  • How do recent Russian legislative changes affect forum selection clauses in contracts?
  • How can global companies mitigate the risk of their counterparty suing them in the Russian courts and potentially facing competing judgments?

From there, David Livshiz focused on the longer-term consequences of sanctions in relation to the solvency of Russian companies, including:

  • When and under what circumstances can foreign counterparties seek collateral if a Russian entity defaults?

Finally, Noah Rubins looked at whether companies might find protection through bilateral investment protection treaties, looking at, among other things:

  • What protection do Russia’s investment protection treaties offer international companies, and how is this impacted by Russian countersanctions?

If you would like to receive a copy of the webinar recording and written transcript please fill in your details below.