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Andrew Muriel has been the partner in charge of the leading shipping firm's Moscow office for the past three years. He is returning to the London office as a senior finance partner.
Elmar Geimuller, who is already in Moscow, will take over the reins.
Watson Farley chief executive Michael Reid says: "We are not planning on sending anyone [to the office] immediately but that is not to say we will not in the future. It is an improving market and it is much better than it was."
The Moscow operation opened five years ago. The firm, which also has a presence in Paris, New York, Mos cow, Copenhagen, Piraeus, Sing a pore and Saudi Arabia, is beefing up its international operations.
In March it recruited the bulk of Klein-Goddard's Singapore office causing the French practice to end its presence in the region (The Lawyer, 6 March).
It is understood that Muriel left in part for personal reasons.
But Reid adds: "People move around the whole time."