Photo, Sergei Zhestkov

Sergei Zhestkov

Moscow Branch of Baker & McKenzie CIS, Limited


Sergei Zhestkov, a member of the Firm’s Europe Wealth Management Steering Committee, practices in the area of tax law. He is highly recommended by European Legal Experts, and has been recognized by European Legal 500 as market leader on Russian corporate and individual taxation matters, as well as cross-border tax structuring and tax planning. The International Tax Review World Tax 2009 cites him as “a leading figure in private banking, stocks and cross-border transactions.” Chambers Global 2009 likewise recognizes him for his pragmatic approach and hard work. Mr. Zhestkov earned his law degree from the Moscow State University and received his Degree of Candidate of Law Sciences (Ph.D.) at the Institute of State and Law of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2001. He was admitted to practice in Russia in 1995.

Practice Focus

Mr. Zhestkov focuses his practice on international tax structuring and tax planning for corporate and private clients.

Representative Legal Matters

  • Advising KanAm Grund Kapitalanlagegesellschaft mbH (acting on behalf of its open-ended real estate fund KanAm grundinvest Fonds) on tax issues in connection with the acquisition from an international joint-venture consortium led by OTKRITIE Financial Corporation and Deutsche Bank AG Commercial Real Estate Group and including Starr Investments Cayman Inc. and two US-based funds Old Lane and Artha Capital of four prominent Class A office buildings with more than 100,000 sq.m. in the center of Moscow.
  • Advising Litnium Investments on tax issues in connection with a secured loan for USD21 million from Eurohypo AG.
  • Advising the shareholders of Mall Gallery 1 Limited and Mall Gallery 2 Limited, owners and operators of retail shopping malls in the city of Moscow, on tax issues in connection with the sale of their shares to Meinl European Land Limited (a subsidiary of Meinl Bank, Austria) for an overall consideration in excess of USD140 million. 
  •  Tax and real estate structuring for Wells Real Estate Funds, a large US real estate company, in a cross-border real estate fund investment deal that required sophisticated cross-border planning. 
  •  Advising other major US REITs, German Open-Ended Funds and other investors on structuring their acquisitions of Russian real estate, including advise on the tax efficient structure for investment, M&A transactions with Russian and foreign partners, as well as the development of business structures for operation of Russian assets.
  • Advising major Russian and multinational companies on tax issues for corporate and individual clients with a focus on establishing holding structures, inbound investment in various industries in Russia, venture capital financings, manufacturing operations and distribution structures through tax efficient structures for clients in various industries including international construction, non-commercial, leasing, investment, computer, pharmaceutical, telecommunications, aircraft, trading and energy.
  • Advising major Russian and multinational companies on international tax structuring and tax planning, including implementation of different tax planning opportunities to numerous clients.
  • Coordinating work on wealth management/private banking advice, including provision of tax and legal advice to private banks and institutions, wealthy families and individuals, development of tax efficient structures for offshore and onshore investment, asset protection and succession planning.
  • Advising major Russian and multinational companies on the tax and legal treatment and practical implementation in Russia of various employee benefit plans, including stock option plans, stock purchase plans, stock appreciation rights and similar arrangements, as well as the development of various executive compensation plans.
  • Successfully representing the Russian subsidiary of Western Union in a court case against the Russian tax authorities concerning tax audit results.

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Moscow City Bar


  • Russia (1995)


  • Institute of State & Law of the Russian Academy of Sciences (2001)
  • Moscow State University Law Faculty (Law Degree Tax) (1995)


  • English
  • Russian