Franz Sedelmayer - Welcome to Putingrad - Tales of Graft and War

Join via Zoom:

Franz J. Sedelmayer Franz J. Sedelmayer is CEO of the US-based Multinational Asset Recovery Company LLC (MARC), which specializes in international dispute management and world-wide claim recovery services. He is the author of the well-received “Welcome to Putingrad” (2017), a memoir of his time in Russia and his case against Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation. He also serves as trustee, director, and consultant for companies and individuals involved in litigation and claim recovery against sovereigns, state-owned enterprises and other foreign debtors. Mr. Sedelmayer was educated at the Munich International School, attended the University of Utah, and served in the German armed forces (airborne and signaling). Barely out of his teens he became a dealer in security equipment and developed international clients from South America to the Middle East. In 1989, at the age of 26, he realized that Glasnost was opening what had been a closed market to Westerners. And so, on the lookout for new opportunities he moved to Russia and became a pioneering entrepreneur, forming the joint venture “Kamenny Ostrov Company JSC” with the USSR Ministry of Interior’s Leningrad City and Regional Police Department to supply law enforcement equipment. Although his association with the corrupt local police leadership was fraught with difficulty he enjoyed a good working relationship with the then-deputy mayor, Vladimir Putin, for whom Franz equipped and trained pro-bono St. Petersburg’s first Western-styled and equipped SWAT team for the city’s 1994 Goodwill Games. He was a founder of the Saint Petersburg International Business Association and served as an advisor to the Kazakh government, the Leningrad Region Governor, the Ministry of Federal Security (FSB), the Russian Presidential Guard Service and the Leningrad Police Department among others. Mr. Sedelmayer’s successes in St. Petersburg included providing security services for Western financial institutions, large investors and the diplomatic corps. In 1996 Russian President Boris Yeltsin expropriated Mr. Sedelmayer’s holdings to be converted into a Presidential vacation residence. When Russia refused to compensate him he pursued his claim through ad hoc arbitration under an existing German-Russian bilateral investment treaty. The case, “Sedelmayer vs. Russian Federation,” resulted in the very first international arbitration award against Russia. Mr. Sedelmayer prevailed in proceedings against the Russian Federation in more than one hundred cases brought before European public courts and arbitration tribunals. The proceedings spanned more than a decade. To date Mr. Sedelmayer is the only claimant who has collected on a claim from this sovereign debtor. Indeed, “Sedelmayer vs. Russian Federation” has become the precedent for overcoming the issues of sovereign immunity in investment claims spanning from the Oxford University Press to the OECD and the Stockholm International Arbitration Report, the Transnational Dispute Management Journal and other publications. Mr. Sedelmayer’s dispute has long been the focus of the international media. It has been covered by the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Economist, der Spiegel, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Newsweek, Bild, Reuters and Dow Jones among others. Mr. Sedelmayer has appeared on BBC, PBS, CNN, ZDF Russian State Television’s RTR and NTV. Mr. Sedelmayer is a member of London’s East India Club. He and his family reside in southeastern Virginia.