Jamison R. Firestone

загруженноеJamison R. Firestone is a member of the New York Bar and sat on the Board of Directors of the American Chamber of Commerce in Moscow for six years. He is Managing Partner of Firestone Duncan, which is both a law firm and an audit firm with offices in Moscow and London. The firm was established by American attorneys in 1993 to service the specialized legal, tax, accounting, and audit needs of foreign ventures doing business in Russia or with Russian parties. Many of Firestone Duncan’s clients are well known western firms including many western law firms that do not have a Russian presence. The firm’s client list also includes a growing number of dynamic Russian firms.

Firestone has been a tireless advocate and lobbyist of legal and administrative reforms to improve rule of law and reduce the administrative burdens of doing business in Russia. Firestone counsels Hermitage Capital, an investment firm that was Russia’s largest foreign investor with over $4 billion under management. In 2007 three of Hermitage Fund’s Russian investment companies were stolen with the active involvement of Ministry of Interior officers. In 2008 one of Firestone’s lawyers, Sergei Magnitsky, was falsely detained and tortured to death in pretrial detention by the Ministry of Interior officers he had exposed as being involved in the theft.

The death of Sergei Magnitsky in pretrial detention in November of 2009 has led to one of the most important rule of law cases in Russia. Although President Medvedev has called for an investigation into the causes of Magnitsky’s death, he has not called into question the arrest of a lawyer by the officers he testified against, nor has done anything to aid Firestone’s client Hermitage Fund to regain control of its stolen companies. In fact President Medvedev has allowed the same officers who Magnitsky accused, and who detained and killed him, to continue to bring fabricated criminal cases against any lawyer who attempts to expose their corruption. As of this date, in addition to detaining and killing Mr. Magnitsky, the same group of Ministry of Interior officers, who somehow acquired millions of dollars of publicly recorded assets at the time of the theft, has attempted to arrest seven more lawyers from five different Russian law firms.

Firestone is a great believer in the potential of the Russian market but believes that clients must understand the failings of the Russian legal system before making investment decisions.