A Reed Smith spokeswoman confirmed to The American Lawyer that Baev “is no longer with the business,” but as a matter of firm policy, declined to discuss the circumstances surrounding his exit from the partnership.
Baev’s departure comes the same month as a report linking him to prominent Republican donor Elliott Broidy, who on Monday sued Qatar and two other defendants for allegedly hacking his emails and leaking their contents to reporters in retaliation for his criticism of the country in a dispute with some of its regional rivals in the Middle East.
Last week, as Saudi Arabia’s ruling Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman traveled to Washington, D.C., for a meeting with President Donald Trump, reports began surfacing in several different news outlets detailing how the oil-rich nation and the neighboring United Arab Emirates had sought to cultivate ties to members of the Trump administration.
Bloomberg reported on March 23 that Baev had reached out last year to Broidy, a Los Angeles-based financier currently serving as deputy finance chair for the Republican National Committee, about working together on a campaign to influence members of the Trump administration in order to alleviate U.S. sanctions against certain Russian companies.
Both men acknowledged to Bloomberg that Broidy made the offer after an inquiry from Baev, but the plan was never implemented by Chadbourne’s management committee. Baev is an energy industry and project finance expert who joined Chadbourne in 2015 after leaving the Moscow office of Berwin Leighton Paisner, a British firm that forged an alliance with leading Russian firm Goltsblat. (BLP is now poised to combine with Bryan Cave on March 31 and form Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner.)
Chadbourne was one of several U.S. law firms that remained committed to the Russian market despite a breakdown in diplomatic ties between the Kremlin and Washington, D.C. Two spokesmen for Norton Rose Fulbright, which absorbed Chadbourne last summer, did not respond to requests for comment about the legacy firm’s work as it pertained to Baev.
A Norton Rose Fulbright spokesman told Bloomberg that Chadbourne did not do any work that sought to remove Russian companies from U.S. sanctions lists. The Bloomberg story did note that Abbe Lowell, a former Chadbourne partner now serving as U.S. co-head of regulations, investigations, securities and compliance at Norton Rose Fulbright, had taken part in initial discussions last year about Russian sanctions-related work. Lowell, a well-regarded defense lawyer in political circles, is currently representing White House senior adviser Jared Kushner in special counsel Robert Mueller III’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Baev, who left Reed Smith’s London office earlier this month, did not respond to a request for comment left for him at Majorpack Inc., a company offering anticorrosion solutions to the oil and gas industry for which he is currently listed as CEO, according to his profile on professional networking website LinkedIn. The company’s website lists offices in Houston, Italy and Moscow.
As for Broidy, his Broidy Capital Management filed a 39-page civil complaint Monday in a Los Angeles federal court against Qatar, former Republican political adviser Nicolas Muzin and his lobbying firm Stonington Strategies LLC over a cyberbreach that Broidy claims was designed to disseminate materials smearing the reputations of him and his wife, Beverly Hills-based lawyer Robin Rosenzweig.
Earlier this month, Latham & Watkins issued a statement on behalf of Broidy and Rosenzweig clarifying her legal work on behalf of Pras Michel, a Haitian rapper and founding member of “The Fugees,” in relation to a potential deal with controversial Malaysian businessman Jho Low.
Broidy is being represented in his case against Qatar by Boies Schiller Flexner partners Lee Wolosky, Robert Dwyer, Travis LeBlanc, Amy Neuhardt and David Willingham. The latter served as co-chair of the white-collar crime and corporate compliance practice at Los Angeles-based litigation boutique Caldwell Leslie & Proctor before it was absorbed by Boies Schiller in April 2017.
LeBlanc, a former chief of the enforcement bureau at the Federal Communications Commission, joined Boies Schiller’s Silicon Valley office a year ago this month. Wolosky returned to the firm a few weeks before that after serving an 18-month stint as the Obama administration’s special envoy for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba.
The Toronto-born Muzin, a Yale Law School graduate and former Williams & Connolly associate who serves as head of Stonington Strategies, was hired by Qatar late last year on a $50,000-per-month lobbying contract. Muzin, who reportedly has his own ties to Russian interests, denied Broidy’s claims in a statement.
“[Broidy's suit] is an obvious attempt to draw attention away from his controversial work,” Muzin said. “I am proud of the work my firm has conducted with Qatar and look forward to continuing to support peaceful dialogue and process in the Middle East.”