Digest 48

We are glad to present you the 48th issue of the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum Digest.

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Legal Street Evening is a series of unique thematic events that is going to take place on May 19, 2016 in the heart of Saint Petersburg. Participants are invited to visit the most famous dining street in the city to meet old and new friends in an informal atmosphere.



MAY 19, 2016

From 20:30 *

*only delegates with accreditation badges will have access to the event

Pen & Paper Party
Saygon Bar

If you are tired of parties and want to relax. Saigon - the first and the only bar-lounge on Rubinsteina street.

The аcoustic guitar concert program: leading bards of city Kolchugino.

Light, comic atmosphere and a feeling of warmth and celebration in cold rainy spring. Welcome!

Made in Silver Party
Jazz Bar 48 Chairs

This will never happen again!

You wanna see S&K Vertical's Partner Chair of the Board of Partners, strict and tight Liubov Duyko on stage, don't you? And what if she performs “Mama Liuba, davay, davay!?” together with famous SEREBRO band!?

The party that S&K Vertical, Russia-China Law Society and RBC are going to throw will make it necessary to close Rubinstein street for complete over-haul.

A Cleary Gottlieb Cocktail Party
Geography Bar and Restaurant

The Cleary Gottlieb team would be delighted to welcome participants and guests of the Forum to our event from 08.30 pm until the departure of the last guest.

I Petersburg, a.k.a. Let’s Have It St Petes’ Style!
Waterloo Pub

Glistening and majestic ... Foggy and mysterious ... City of painters and musicians… Petersburg is never the same – find out what it is for you!

Egorov, Puginsky, Afanasiev & Partners invites you to plunge into the unique atmosphere of this city at the most stress-free party of this evening.

At what time? Ah – we lost track of time…Sometime after 8.30 pm…


Sparkling Party
Wine Cabinet Bar

Yusland law firm and Millesime sommelier school invite you to celebrate the second day of the Forum by opening a bottle of… no, not champagne.

Italian Prosecco, German Sekt, French Crémant, Spanish Cava – there are many decent sparkling wines out there whose sparkling bubbles cheer everyone up. These wines are an excellent complement for celebrations or parties.

You are in for a treat, a fascinating story about the production process of sparkling wines and of course a tasting session!

Pepeliaev Group's House Concert
Punk Brew Bar

Warm acoustic guitar sound, soul-soothing atmosphere and a Russian rock legend within touching distance - at Pepeliaev Group's House Concert starring ... HIM. For the first time ever, Legal Forum will bring together an outstanding musician and you, dear colleagues, in the comfort of Punk Brew Bar. Who is he? You will find this out very soon! Please also keep in mind that there will be a lottery and loads of prizes for you from legendary Nashe Radio DJ Igor Pankov.

Rubinstein Café

Hogan Lovells and Kommersant are delighted to present their third of legendary parties in Saint-Petersburg - a bohemian event #noboringjustdrinkinganddancing. Music by Uma2rman, inspired by their new album "Sing, spring!" ahead of its presentation in Moscow just three days later! Rendezvous at the Rubinstein Café famous for its literary soirées of the two capitals' beau monde.

Schastye Restaurant

Latham & Watkins LLP is delighted to invite you to our Legal Street reception and jazz concert.

Please join us for:

  • a mouth watering selection of hors d'oeuvres and scrumptious desserts
  • artisan cheese, white & rosé wine tasting
  • NEWLUX jazz band concert

Please enjoy a short ride with our Lathamobil from the Legal Street entrance to our party.

Work Hard, Party Harder with KPMG
Tesla Bar

Do you like procedurals, dancing and your profession? Then welcome to our dance party! The party’s agenda features an unforgettable atmosphere, red-hot dancing and exclusive cocktails for real lawyers only! Come for your portion of quality time!

Authors of the concept are the main characters from your favorite legal TV series.

“Through development of common approaches and understanding of global trends, the business can reduce tax risks while planning its activities and minimize the number of disputes in the future”

Sergei Arakelov
Deputy Commissioner, Federal Tax Service of the Russian Federation
Moderator of the Round Table 5.1 Measures Against the Abuse of International Tax Treaties International Practices and Russian Experience


Practice shows that many transnational companies use double taxation avoidance agreements not just as an instrument to decide where to pay the income tax, but as a loophole not to pay taxes at all. Violation of rules of double taxation avoidance leads to the issue of double non-taxation, when the income is not taxed in any country. Improper use of provisions of intergovernmental treaties by individual companies also allows them to artificially transfer profits to low-tax jurisdictions from the country where the economic activity actually takes place.

OECD has proposed an action plan to counter aggressive tax planning, such as combating abuse of international double taxation avoidance agreements, fighting artificial avoidance of permanent establishment status, strengthening control over interest deduction and other financial transactions.

In line with global trends, Russia is taking measures to counter aggressive tax planning and to deoffshorize the economy as a whole. These include prevention of the use of offshores for avoiding taxation of income from activities in Russia; “thin capitalization” rules limiting processing of interest from lending agreements that actually constitute dividend yield; limitation of benefits under international agreements of transit financial transactions.

Regarding these issues, the Federal Tax Service has developed certain approaches in law enforcement, which are offered for presentation and discussion at the round table.

Below are just a few issues that are going to be discussed:

– Restriction of income withdrawal from taxation through shifting the profit centre. Thin capitalization rules. Actual income earner concept;

– Prevention of artificial avoidance of taxation using the permanent establishment status;

– Measures of countering the use of international agreements’ conflicts to achieve double non-taxation;

– Russian and international experience in preventing the provision of benefits under an agreement in case of non-compliance; examples from judicial practice.

The panellists will discuss national legislation specificities, judicial practice and practical experience in these issues.

Participants include leading experts of Russian and international law firms and international organizations. We are planning to discuss not only the approaches of the Federal Tax Service, but also law enforcement practice of Great Britain, Canada, the Netherlands, Italy, Australia and other countries.

Law enforcement approaches are taken into account by both tax authorities in conducting audits and taxpayers in planning their tax behaviour in order to avoid tax claims in the future. Therefore, I am sure that this topic will be relevant to lawyers, consultants and representatives of Russian and international companies. Through development of common approaches and understanding of global trends, the business can reduce tax risks while planning its activities and minimize the number of disputes in the future.

"For each player in the M&A legal market it is crucial to be up-to-date and to know the market standards and new instruments that can facilitate the transaction in order to take the right decisions or give the right kind of advice"

Cornelia Topf
Partner, Gleiss Lutz
Moderator of 1.2. M&A: International Trends and Standards in M&A Transaction Terms


1. What determines the urgent character of the issues discussed at your roundtable?

Developments in M&A are always a hot topic in any legal market. The M&A market is subject to trends that come and go and that are all (or mostly) driven by the participating parties' wish to make the deal happen and to successfully address all obstacles that the project may come across, be it a financial crisis, be it the lack of available financing, be it a gap between the seller's and the buyer's position as to how much protection should be given under target related warranties and indemnities. For each player in the M&A legal market it is crucial to be up-to-date and to know the market standards and new instruments that can facilitate the transaction in order to take the right decisions or give the right kind of advice.

2. What are the main issues to be brought up for consideration?

By way of an interactive session where we give much room to the direct exchange between the speakers and the auditorium, we will discuss the trends and new deal tools instrument that keep the M&A market busy these days. Without telling you too much upfront, we will cover, in particular, the following items:

• Global trends put in Russian perspective and outlook on the M&A Market 2016/2017

• News and developments on deal structuring in Russia

• Bridging the gap: M&A insurance tools to get the deal through

• Dual track: how to increase competition in a transaction

• Empty pockets: means to introduce funding components into the deal structure

• Stand-still: news on distressed M&A

• Trends on sales terms

3. Whom could you recommend to attend your panel? (in-house attorneys, counsels, lawyers from Russian / international firms, notaries, bars, etc)

The panel is certainly of interest for a broad range of the Forum's participants, in particular, for in-house lawyers from enterprises being active on the M&A market, lawyers from Russian and international law firms who deal with national and international M&A work in their day to day business. We will present trends on the Russian M&A market, but also on the international scene and give an outlook on how the Russian M&A may be in their implications to the Russian / CIS M&A market.

4. Would you like to distinguish any speakers who are going to give speeches at your roundtable?

We will be having on board inhouse counsel from internationally working Russian enterprises, lawyers from leading international law firms in Russia and abroad, a speaker who works for a global investment bank, an international broker that deals with M&A insurances, also with links to Russia, and a representative from the MGU. All of our speakers have an impressive track record in their relevant field of practice and will share with us their insights on recent developments on the M&A market from very different perspectives. I am very delighted to have them all on board.

"Major creditors, which are crucial for the entire economy, are the most vulnerable to unfair debtors, who’s primary aim is to avoid clearing their liabilities"

Natalya Shatikhina
Advocate - Managing Partner, CLC Law Firm - Associate Professor of the Criminal Law Department of the Law Faculty, St. Petersburg State University,
Moderator of the round table 3.7. «Counteracting Criminal Bankruptcies. Strategies for Major Creditors»


The most problematic issue in a modern business environment is relations with unfair debtors, which manifests especially strongly in conflicts with bankruptcy proceedings. A combination of finance and law with complicated and often non-transparent proceedings, the bankruptcy system is a perfect shadow zone where manipulations with assets, tax offenses, corruption, and larceny can be covered.

Russia has no stable legal practice in criminal bankruptcy cases, regulations are criticized intensively. However, every new wave of the recession induces more and more debtors. Law-enforcement authorities are trying to develop methods for investigating such crimes. Courts are seeking ways to elaborate a permanent practice. However, major creditors, which are crucial for the entire economy, are the most vulnerable to unfair debtors, who’s primary aim is to avoid clearing their liabilities.

What criminal schemes used to avoid paying debts are up-to-date? What criminal offences do they form? Should they always be considered as criminal bankruptcies? What experience do law-enforcement authorities have in this field? What difficulties do courts face when judging such cases?

What does a typical major modern creditor look like? Credit institutions, monopolies, and major companies: how do they operate with unfair debtors? How can they mitigate risk in their everyday business? Can foreign experience help us?

Video-interview with V SPBILF's participants: Konstantin Dobrynin, State Secretary, Federal Chamber of Lawyers of the Russian Federation



Leading experts in the spheres of law, economy and international relations, heads of world companies’ legal departments, members of international legal community have been interviewed by our journalist during the V SPBILF and shared their impressions on the Forum.

Find a video-interview in each issue of the Digest and enjoy viewing!

Online Education

In the time of rapidly developing technical capabilities and increasing value of time online training is getting more accessible and relevant. Please advice us which online courses are you taking.