Index of tables
Legal market overview
Already the least affluent nation in the former Soviet Union, Tajikistan’s economy has been hit hard by the economic downturn in Russia: remittances constituted almost half of Tajik GDP in 2013 but are predicted to drop by 30% this year, according to IMF figures. On the upside, foreign direct investment (FDI) is trickling in as investment laws are liberalised; it is hoped that FDI will also increase as a corollary to sanctions against Russia as some funds from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and other keystone investors seek alternative investment targets.
None of the international heavyweight law firms are present in the market, meaning the work is limited to a cadre of relatively small local firms and Central Asian regional firms such as Colibri Law Firm and Grata International. While Tajikistan is nowhere near as resource rich as its neighbours, mining and other subsoil industries provide a key source of work for law firms. All recommended law firms have offices in the capital, Dushanbe.
The ranking is based on quality and scope of service – all firms in the market have a generalist practice and take on a diverse range of mandates.
Akhmedov, Azizov & Abdulhamidov, Attorneys’ experience includes advising on subsoil use, debt recovery, litigation and competition law. It assists sizeable international clients with Tajik legal issues, and is the preferred local counsel of a number of major international law firms. The name partners are Shavkat Akhmedov, Farhad Azizov and Bakhtiyor Abdulhamidov.
Centil Law (formerly known as Colibri Law Firm) advises on M&A, competition, financing, employment and debt recovery. The office in Dushanbe is staffed by partners from the firm’s offices across the Central Asia region. Zhanyl Abdrakhmanova advised the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), part of the Islamic Development Bank, on structuring a loan to comply with shari’ah principles and Tajik law. Other clients include the EBRD, the International Finance Corporation, Coca-Cola Mesrubat Pazarlama Danismanlik Sanayi ve Ticaret (a Turkey-based bottling company), and a major multinational conglomerate.
Considered by some as ‘the best in Tajikistan’, Legal Consulting Group has ‘a very high level of business acumen and industry knowledge’. The firm provides ‘very helpful and valuable advice’ on public procurement, customs, tax finance, capital markets and mining issues. It is advising Tebian Electric Apparatus on matters relating to the CASA-1000 project, which aims to export electricity from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Other clients include Commerzbank, which the firm advised on a loan facility, and Gazprom, which it advised on taxation and an investment in the country. Timur Abdulaev ‘does his best work in order to meet his client’s expectations’; managing partner Ravshan Niyazmukhamedov heads the team.
Grata International has had an office in Tajikistan since 2007. Bishkek-based Kanat Seidaliev, who manages the Kyrgyz and Tajik practices, advised Chinese telecoms provider ZTE Corporation on its purchase of a Tajik mobile phone network.
Nazrisho & Mirzoev, LLC advises on financing, corporate law and subsoil industry issues. Clients include China Development Bank, Kulob Petroleum (a subsidiary of Tethys Petroleum), China National Petroleum Company and the Mountain Societies Development Project; the firm advised the latter on a fund to finance local SMEs. Firdavs Mirzoev, who is honorary counsel to the British Embassy, advised Greek company Seismotech on regulatory issues and permits in order to carry out a passive seismic tomography project. Brooklyn-based US senior partner Rustam Nazrisho is another key contact.