Asia, General Lobbying, New in Lobbying

Greenberg Traurig gets pay boost after launch of congressional Kazakhstan caucus

Greenberg Traurig has renewed its contracts with Kazakhstan’s justice ministry, Mexico’s economic secretariat and the Turkish Embassy in Washington through this year, according to a trio of newly disclosed lobbying filings.

Under the Kazakhstan contract, the powerhouse international law firm is to be paid $850,000 — a significant increase over its 2019 contract, which promised $500,000. The fee increase comes after Greenberg helped relaunch a US-Kazakhstan Congressional Caucus, contacting the offices of Reps. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, and Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., dozens of times in the weeks before they launched the group in November.

The justice ministry, which is responsible for protecting state interests on legal matters, first retained Greenberg in May 2018 for $2 million weeks after a US federal court ruled in favor of a Moldovan investor in the country’s oil sector seeking to enforce a $520 million arbitration award against Kazakhstan. In December 2017, the Bank of New York Mellon froze $22.6 billion in assets held by Kazakhstan’s National Fund — some 40 % of the fund — in the dispute with Anatolie Stati. Kazakhstan has now asked the US District Court for the Southern District of New York to obtain discovery regarding tax revenues it says Stati and his companies unlawfully diverted from Kazakhstan to the United States.

Greenberg’s contract with Mexico’s economic secretariat is more modest, promising a 15% boost in fees ($300,000) compared to last year ($261,000). Greenberg was hired by the ministry in April 2019 to provide “advice and legal counsel on the passage and implementation of the US-Mexico-Canadian Free Trade Agreement,” which was signed into law in January 2020.

Meanwhile Turkey will continue to pay Greenberg $1.5 million this year while the firm plans to dole out nearly $1 million to subcontractors Capitol Counsel, LB International Solutions and Venable for support.

Two former members of Congress — ex-Reps. Randy Forbes, R-Va.,and Albert Wynn, D-Md. — are among those registered to work on the Kazakhstan and Turkey accounts. Ex-Sen. Tim Hutchinson, R-Ark., was also registered on the account until he left the firm on April 30. Both countries face reputational issues in the United States, with the US State Department raising a wide array of “significant human rights” issues relating to both.