Lose Wild West image or lose out, City lawyer tells Russians

Russians have been warned by the British Russian Law Association to take steps to lose their “Wild West” image in order to reassure overseas business interests that have been discouraged from inward investment.

Christopher Davis, head of due diligence at City firm Davis & Co, told 140 delegates at a conference on Inward Direct Investment at the Moscow State University that the key problems discouraging investors were an ever-changing legal system, high levels of crime, an embryonic free-market economy and a “business environment regarded by many foreigners as like the Wild West”.

Russian businesses were encouraged to take a “proactive stance” in combating these perceptions by anticipating areas of weakness “even before negotiations commence” with foreign investors.

Fellow Davis & Co lawyer John Murphy, who chaired the conference, said that despite “serious investor concerns” about Russia, the situation is improving.

The chairman of the association, David Winter, the consultant on East-West matters for Baker & McKenzie, said a further seminar, The Rights of The Child under Russian Law was in the pipeline.