7 sources for finding out more about your Russian business partner

08.11.2012

There are several public sources that help due diligence when entering into transactions. Here we summarise those used most often.

  1. The Unified State Register of Legal Entities is maintained by the RF Federal Tax Service, which is responsible for registration of Russian legal entities, and includes, in particular, information about company names, addresses, persons authorised to represent the company without power of attorney (General Directors), types of business activity, licences, authorised capital, founders, participants, their shares and encumbrances thereon (for limited liability companies), shareholder register holders (for joint stock companies), information about company registration, branches and representative offices, copies of constituent documents, as well as information on the net asset value of joint stock companies, renewed quarterly. Most of the information is publicly available, except for personal data of individuals, bank accounts and the like. An extract from this register can be obtained by any interested person within 1 day.
    Limited information on state registration of companies is available on the Internet on the website of the RF Federal Tax Service www.nalog.ru. Information on a decision of the registering authority to delete a dormant legal entity from the register can also be found here. Electronic access to the entire database is possible for a fee.
  2. Unified State Registers of accredited branches and representative offices of foreign companies are maintained by the State Registration Chamber. These registers include limited information on the representative offices/branches and their overseas headquarters, such as addresses, phone numbers, activities, managers, as well as information on accreditation. An extract may be obtained in 3 days.
  3. The Unified State Register of Real Estate Rights and Transactions maintained by the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography includes information  on real estate in Russia, its owners, leaseholders (for leases of 1 year or more), encumbrances, etc. An extract including limited information on specific residential and non-residential property is available to any interested person within 5 days of a request. Information may be provided electronically. The website is https://rosreestr.ru/wps/portal/.
  4. The Rospatent and WIPO data bases include information about owners and licensees of trade marks and patents. Electronic databases are available to the public at www.fips.ru and www.wipo.org. The WHOIS database available on the Internet includes information about owners of domain names.
  5. The electronic database of arbitration cases maintained by the RF Supreme Arbitration Court contains limited information about cases considered by state arbitration courts in Russia since 1996. Information is available on the Internet at www.arbitr.ru.
  6. The State registration bulletin publishes official announcements of decisions passed by legal entities on their liquidation, reorganisation, reduction of their authorised capital, announcements on acquisition of more than 20% of business entities’ shares, information on net asset value and other statutory announcements published by legal entities. Information is available on the Internet at www.vestnik-gosreg.ru.
  7. Kommersant newspaper is a resource authorised to publish bankruptcy announcements, the information being available on the Internet at www.kommersant.ru.

There are several business information agencies operating in Russia that provide a limited scope of information about business entities, including information from the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, limited financial and statistical information on the basis of the State Statistics Service database, and other information disclosed by the entity.
Along with the publicly available information referred to above, it should be noted that the scope of the information generally requested for due diligence purposes cannot constitute a commercial secret, such as constituent documents, documents on state registration, licences, the list of persons authorised to represent the company without power of attorney, information on violation of laws and imposition of liability in this regard, the number and composition of employees and the remuneration system, payroll and social payment indebtedness. A counterparty cannot, therefore, appeal to confidentiality when refusing to provide the said information.

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