Olswang hires Khodorkovsky defender following expulsion from Russia

Canadian lawyer Bob Amsterdam has relocated to London as a consultant with Olswang following his eviction from Russia for his role representing Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Amsterdam will continue lobbying from London for the release of Khodorkovsky, the former chief executive of Russian oil giant Yukos, while setting up a practice in Olswang’s London office.

Amsterdam told The Lawyer: “[My expulsion] isn’t permanent, but problematic in the short term. On the same day they expelled me, they disbarred four Russian lawyers, [which] is further proof of how far the country will go to demolish the rule of law as they continue to act with complete impunity while the West remains silent.”

Amsterdam founded two-partner Amsterdam & Peroff with Dean Peroff in 1980 and will continue to operate under the Toronto firm’s name.

Olswang chief executive Jonathan Goldstein said: “While technically he’s a consultant, he’s… likely to spend 80 per cent or more of his time away. There’ll be no change of the corporate structure with reference to Bob.”

Amsterdam expects to call on Olswang’s expertise to help him defend “corporate human rights”.

Olswang will not be taking any role in Amsterdam’s work representing Khodorkovsky, but the firm’s US ally Greenberg Traurig is assisting Peroff with the largest case of its kind in Latin American history, a $250m (£140.1m) case against a Guatemalan oligarch that is headed for trial in a Florida federal court within a year.

Greenberg boasts one of the leading Latin America arbitration practices in the US. Peroff will remain in Toronto.