Second Circuit Court in NY Will Hear Arguments on Disqualification of Law Firm Baker Hostetler for Ethical Violations in the Magnitsky Case

June 9, 2016

For Immediate distribution

Second Circuit Court in NY Will Hear Arguments on Disqualification of Law Firm Baker Hostetler for Ethical Violations in the Magnitsky Case

9 June 2016 – Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will hear the argument on the disqualification of law firm Baker Hostetler because of their disloyalty and conflict of interest in the US$230 Million Russian Fraud case uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky.

The conflict of interest stems from Baker Hostetler’s current representation of Prevezon, a Cyprus company owned by a son of Russian official accused by the US Department of Justice of laundering proceeds of the US$230 million fraud uncovered by Hermitage’s Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

Previously, in 2008-2009, Baker Hostetler represented Hermitage Capital Management, the victims of the US$230 million fraud, and assisted in Hermitage’s efforts to identify beneficiaries of this fraud and report them to the US Department of Justice for prosecution and forfeiture of assets.

Several years later Hermitage identified Prevezon as one of the suspected beneficiaries of the US$230 million fraud and reported it to the US Justice Department. At that time, Baker Hostetler inexplicably changed sides and showed up to defend Prevezon against the US Department of Justice lawsuit.

Baker Hostetler then mounted an attack on Hermitage, the victim of the fraud, falsely accusing Hermitage of complicity in that same fraud. This violation of the duty to its former client led Hermitage to filing for the disqualification of Baker Hostetler. The case is now in front of the Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.

“This conduct sounds improper because it is improper,” said Hermitage in their court filing.

“This Court has recognized that maintaining the “delicate” balance between the right to “freely chosen counsel and the need to maintain the highest ethical standards of professional responsibility . . . is essential if the public’s trust in the integrity of the Bar is to be preserved.” Even casual observers are taken aback by Baker Hostetler’s conduct in this case, where it is defending a current client by falsely accusing a former client of a crime,” said Hermitage’s court filing.

Baker Hostetler hired Michael Mukasey, former U.S. Attorney General, of counsel with Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, to defend themselves against Hermitage’s disqualification motion.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP was previously hired by Andrey Pavlov, identified by the US Justice Department as a member of the Russian criminal enterprise involved in the US$230 fraud scheme, to lobby the European Parliament to exclude his name from their Magnitsky Sanctions List. Despite Debevoise & Plimpton’s intervention, the European Parliament included Pavlov in a 32-person Sanctions List approved in April 2014.

Sergei Magnitsky, Hermitage’s lawyer who uncovered the US$230 million fraud and testified about the complicity of Russian officials in it, was falsely arrested, detained for 358 days without trial, tortured and killed in Russian police custody at the age of 37. The events of this case are described in the New-York Times best-seller “Red Notice” by William Browder and in a series of campaign videos on Youtube channel “Russian Untouchables.” Recently, thanks to the “Panama Papers”, proceeds of US$230 million fraud uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky, were traced to Swiss account of a company owned by Sergei Roldugin, a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The court hearing on the disqualification of Baker Hostetler will begin at 10am, 9 June 2016, at room 1703 of the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse, 40 Foley Square in New York.

For more information, please contact:

Justice for Sergei Magnitsky
+44 207 440 1777


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