Photo of Nikhil Gore

Nikhil Gore

A member of the international arbitration and financial institutions practices, Nikhil V. Gore represents sovereign states and U.S. and global firms in international treaty-based and commercial disputes. He also regularly represents U.S. financial institutions, and the U.S. branches and affiliates of foreign financial institutions, in investigations and inquiries involving the Federal Reserve, OCC, FDIC, CFPB, and state banking regulators.

Mr. Gore has served as counsel in investment and commercial arbitrations spanning several industries and a variety of regions, including Asia, Eastern Europe, North America, and Southern Africa. Additionally, he has expertise in the law of the sea, and was part of the Covington team that secured an order from the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, which required Russia to release three Ukrainian naval vessels and twenty-four servicemen detained in the Black Sea in 2018.

In his financial institutions practice, Mr. Gore has experience with enforcement actions and investigations relating to the Bank Secrecy Act, the federal criminal money laundering statutes, the full range of safety and soundness issues (including, in particular, supervisory reviews of bank control functions), and fair lending and consumer compliance. Mr. Gore is a regular contributor to the firm’s financial services blog.

On Sunday, July 16, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree putting shares of Danone Russia JSC, owned by French yogurt maker Danone, and of Baltika Brewing Company, owned by Danish brewer Carlsberg A/S, under “temporary management.”

The Kremlin has since reportedly appointed Yakub Zakriev, deputy prime minister and agriculture minister of Chechnya, as head of the Danone business.[1] Mr. Zakriev has been described as a close ally of Ramzan Kadyrov, the notorious leader of the Chechen Republic, and himself a close ally of President Putin.[2] Meanwhile, Taimuraz Bolloev, a longtime friend of Putin, has been installed as director of Carlsberg’s Baltika business.[3]

These recent seizures follow a decree Putin signed in April, laying the groundwork to expropriate, damage, or otherwise impair the investments of companies from “unfriendly” countries—including the U.S., UK, Canada, all EU member states, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea.[4] This is the second time Russia has used the decree to seize assets. Previously, Russia took control of utilities owned by Finland’s Fortum Oyj and Germany’s Uniper SE.[5]

These Russian actions demonstrate the significant risks for foreign companies that continue to operate in Russia and signal further potential asset seizures, including the possible transfer of foreign assets to regime-friendly owners. Russia’s measures appear to constitute uncompensated expropriations, for which investors could seek redress under Russia’s network of bilateral investment treaties (BITs).[6]

In prior Covington alerts, we have discussed how foreign investors in Russia can protect their investments from Russian retaliatory measures by ensuring that they have access to international arbitration, including through BITs. We also have highlighted certain key protections available under BITs that may provide recourse to foreign investors affected by Russia’s recent measures. In this alert, we focus on those protections under Russian BITs of most direct relevance to foreign investors whose assets have been expropriated or that have had the management of that investment obstructed by Russia’s actions, present and future.

Key Protections in Russian BITs

Russia has BITs in force with over 60 countries, including many EU members (such as Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, and Sweden) and countries such as Canada, Japan, Korea, Switzerland, the UK, and Ukraine. There is no BIT between Russia and the United States, but U.S. companies may nonetheless benefit from BIT protection if they hold their investments in Russia through a third country that does have a Russian BIT.

In its BITs, Russia has committed to, among other things, treat investors from the relevant countries in a fair and equitable manner, not to discriminate against such investors on the basis of nationality, not to expropriate their investments except under certain conditions and upon payment of adequate compensation, and to guarantee their right to freely transfer payments related to their investments out of Russia. All of these protections are relevant in the present context.Continue Reading Protecting Against Russia’s Asset Seizures: Investment Treaties May Provide a Remedy for Foreign Investors

UN General Assembly Adopts Resolution Requesting Advisory Opinion on States’ Obligations Concerning Climate Change

On March 29, 2023, the UN General Assembly (“UNGA”) adopted by consensus a resolution (A/77/L.58) requesting an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (“ICJ” or “Court”) on the obligations of states in respect of climate change. The resolution results from coordinated efforts by the Republic of Vanuatu, along with a “Core Group” of states, including Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, the Federated States of Micronesia, Morocco, Mozambique, New Zealand, Portugal, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Uganda, and Viet Nam. The efforts of the Core Group drew on grassroots and civil society support, and the resolution was ultimately co-sponsored by more than 130 UN member states (although not the United States, Brazil, India, China, or Russia).

This marks the latest effort to ask international courts and tribunals to clarify the legal obligations of states in relation to climate change. In the last few months, similar requests for advisory opinions have been submitted to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (“ITLOS”) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (“IACHR”).

Questions in the UNGA Resolution

The UNGA resolution observes that “as temperatures rise, impacts from climate and weather extremes […] will pose an ever-greater social, cultural, economic and environmental threat.” It asks the ICJ to issue its opinion on the following questions:

a) What are the obligations of States under international law to ensure the protection of the climate system and other parts of the environment from anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases for States and for present and future generations;Continue Reading The World Court Set to Become the Latest Venue for Climate Change Jurisprudence

As we noted in a client alert late last week, the federal banking agencies released on August 13, 2020, a joint statement on enforcement of Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (“BSA/AML”) requirements.  At the time, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation made reference to a possible separate “Statement on Enforcement of the Bank Secrecy Act” from FinCEN. 

Note: This post is the second in a series of posts on the final text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by Covington’s International and Public Policy lawyers.  The final TPP text, which was released on November 5, 2015, is available here.  TPP is not expected to enter into force until at least 2016, with

Almost all of the more than 3,000 bilateral investment treaties (BITs) in existence offer foreign investors the protection of “fair and equitable treatment” under international law.  India’s new draft model BIT does not.  In place of the well-established standard of protection, which has been interpreted and applied in hundreds of prior investment arbitrations, the model

One of the items at the top of President Obama’s agenda in India this week is the long-delayed U.S.-India bilateral investment treaty (BIT).  Such a treaty was proposed by the President during his 2010 visit to India, but the proposal got little traction with the prior government.  It is likely to do better with the

On July 9, Indonesians went to the polls to vote for the nation’s second directly-elected President.  Neither candidate has conceded, and official results will not be announced until July 22.  However, independent polling and election monitoring organizations point to the loss of Prabowo Subianto, a Suharto-era general, to relative newcomer Joko Widodo, a reformist mayor