While the firm generally does not take political positions, the situation here is clearcut – this is an abhorrent, illegal and totally unjustifiable war that is being prosecuted in criminal fashion by those controlling the totalitarian regime that governs Russia. War crimes are being committed. We condemn it entirely.
In doing so we must recognise that as with most, if not all, totalitarian regimes, the vast majority of the people who live in the countries so governed do not support the use of force or the prosecution of war against others. Alternatively, they have been misled by propaganda and suppression of the truth. This has proved true throughout history – the peaceful majority, subject to such regimes, simply do not have the power to stop their despotic rulers. Not all, by any means, are complicit.
Our Approach to Russian Related Work
Our exposure to Russian related work is in fact quite limited – we have provided services to about 60 Russian related clients over the last seven years. Our strict approach to AML and reputational stance has assisted in this so that, so far, none of our clients have been subjected to sanctions by the UK, US, EU or UN. We believe it to be unlikely that any of our clients will be sanctioned in the future but, if any are, we will cease to act for them. We will not take on any new client that has been sanctioned by the UK, US, EU or UN.
In addition, we have reviewed our Russian related client base and have identified organisations and individuals that have some links to the current Russian State (including its wider leadership) and/or are supportive of it and/or who may be sufficiently influential to add to the pressure on it. We have ceased to act for this small number of clients. No new clients fitting that description will be taken on.
We are appalled at the suffering being deliberately inflicted on the Ukrainian people and are taking steps both as a firm and as individuals within the firm to do what we can to alleviate this. We have made a substantial donation and have encouraged people within the firm to donate what they can. In addition we are encouraging the housing of refugees in homes and looking into sponsoring a family or families in accommodation that will be made freely available to them. At least three families are being housed (or about to be housed) as a result. Other fund raising is in progress.
We hope that this terrible, criminal, aggression will soon be at an end and that the Ukrainian people will be able to return to a country governed by those that they freely and democratically choose. They can then begin to rebuild their country and their lives with, we trust, the support of the free world. They have our full support.