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Coudert Brothers Moscow has been retained by Russian pulp and paper producer Ilim Pulp Enterprise to defend it against an attack by corporate raiders
It is the first time a global firm has become inv-olved in this kind of local case. A dispute has arisen between Ilim and one of Russia's most powerful businessmen, Oleg Deripaska. Deripaska claims he acquired a 61 per cent stake in Ilim's pulp and paper mill Kotlas and wanted to take control. But Ilim said that Deripaska's takeover and the acquisition of the 61 per cent stake were gained illegally. Consequently, a brigade of Deripaska's security guards is lying in wait to take the mill by physical force. Ilim, however, has barricaded the factory territory with buses, train carriages and guards of its own. While such heavy-handed tactics are not uncommon in the Russian market, it is unusual for an international firm to become involved. "To my knowledge it hasn't happened before," said Richard Dean, head of Couderts' Russian practice group. Ilim, which has instructed Couderts for some time on international work, originally sought advice from local lawyers, but needed to bolster its support. "They were at a point where they needed to broaden the advice they were getting," said Dean.