Moscow tax tsar poached by Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance's Moscow office has poached a high-ranking accountant partner from Price Waterhouse's Russian accountancy office in a move that reverses the usual one-way traffic between legal practices and the big Six accountancy firms.

Robert Fort, who is head of Price Waterhouse's financial services tax group in Moscow, will join Clifford Chance next month as director of tax services.

Fort has been a partner at the accountancy firm since 1988 and has worked for it in Moscow since 1995.

He will have a similar status to that of a Clifford Chance partner in the Moscow office.

Clifford Chance managing partner in Moscow, John Holmes, said the move was the first of its kind in Russia.

He added that it would help the firm satisfy a “growing client demand for us to provide a joint opinion on the legal and tax aspects of high-value structuring work”.

“Securing in-house structuring expertise will give us further competitive advantage over other law firms operating in the city,” he said.

Tony Williams, managing partner-elect at Clifford Chance and previous head of its Moscow office, said: “Possessing a high-quality tax capability is invaluable for our Russian operations, given the increasing size and sophistication of the Russian financial market.”

Price Waterhouse set up its own legal office in Moscow two months ago which is now staffed by 23 lawyers. The firm aims to have 100 lawyers within a year.