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Daniel B. Nelson of the Houston firm of Livingston, Nelson and Smithers landed a $234 million default judgement against the Russian Federation. Despite a 1991 law signed by Boris Yeltsin prohibiting the expropriation of foreign-owned properties, the Ministry of Culture wrestled ancestral estate away from Nelson’s client Nina Schroder Magness when she sought to recover them in 1994. Nelson argued successfully that Russia was not immune from prosecution in the U.S. because it had conducted profit-making activities in the U.S. by selling admission to touring exhibits of the Romanov Jewels. He now has to figure out how to collect the judgement.

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