The Oligarchs of Delaware’s Bench and Bar
Citizens for Pro-Business Delaware Calls on Delaware to Stop Doing Business with Skadden Arps until Firm Cuts Ties with Russian Oligarchs and Closes Moscow Office
Skadden has profited off relationships with Russian oligarchs and government agents for decades yet has refused to comment on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
WILMINGTON, Del.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware called on Delaware’s government and courts to cease conducting business with Skadden Arps until the firm renounces all ties to Russian oligarchs and commits to closing its office in Moscow following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Since 1992, Skadden has operated an office in Moscow and has developed close ties with Russian oligarchs including Mikhail Fridman and Roman Abramovich. Since 2012, Skadden has been involved with more than $90 billion worth of Russian corporate deals.
The firm’s friendliness to Russian agents burst into public view in the wake of the 2019 Mueller report, which revealed that Skadden had authored a report for Ukraine’s Moscow-backed government of Viktor Yanukovych that claimed the government did not have political motivations for imprisoning Yanukovych’s top political adversary, Yulia Tymoshenko. The report’s findings contradicted the positions of both the US and EU governments, which understood the imprisonment to be politically motivated. Skadden eventually paid $11 million to Tymoshenko to avoid a lawsuit over the report.
Since Russia’s invasion began, tech, oil, auto and banking industry giants have abandoned Russian businesses or suppliers as the world unites against Russian military aggression, and leading international law firms are doing the same. London-founded Linklaters law firm announced last week that it will wind down its operations in Russia and close its Moscow office. The law firm has over 70 employees in their Moscow office.
Linklaters is the largest firm to confirm its Moscow exit and many international law firms are critically assessing their future in Russia, yet Skadden Arps has refused to comment on its ties to Russian oligarchs and state agents. At the same time, Skadden has been awarded millions of dollars in contracts and no-bid legal fees from Delaware’s Government and Court of Chancery to act on behalf of the state in adjudicating legal disputes.
Said Chris Coffey, Campaign Manager for Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware, “Skadden Arps has shown a stunning lack of moral fiber when it comes to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. While other firms with connections to Russia are risking great financial loss to cut ties and demonstrate opposition to the invasion, Skadden continues to ignore what is right so they can keep lining their pockets.
“While Skadden’s greed in zealously overbilling clients here in Delaware is bad enough, now they are standing idly by while Russia invades Ukraine so they can keep representing oligarchs and foreign agents to pad their bottom line. As long as Skadden puts profits above all else, Delaware’s leaders must take a stand and guarantee that the same firm profiting from Russian aggression does not profit from the state of Delaware. We urge Skadden to immediately cut ties with Russia and Delaware’s government and courts to immediately cut ties with Skadden – this moral failure must not be tolerated.”