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Robert Amsterdam
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Robert Amsterdam is the founding partner of the Toronto- and London-based international law firm Amsterdam & Peroff. In 30 years of practice, he has represented a diverse range of corporations and individuals in markets such as China, Singapore, Russia, Hungary, Poland, Venezuela, Bolivia, Guatemala, Nigeria, the United States and Canada.

Amsterdam has a distinguished track record of serving clients in shareholder disputes, corporate restructuring, fraud and asset recovery, regulatory and tax issues, complex commercial arbitration, and multi-jurisdictional litigation. He is also frequently sought out as a political risk advisor and strategic counsel for companies seeking to open new markets.

Past clients have included the Four Seasons Hotel & Resorts Group, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and several other major mining, energy, and agri-business firms. In 2003, he was retained by the former head of the Yukos oil company Mikhail Khodorkovsky, serving a central role in one of Russia’s highest profile cases. In 2008, he was hired to defend Eligio Cedeño, a businessman and political prisoner in Venezuela.

His writings have been published in the Fordham International Law Journal, the International Herald Tribune, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal, among other publications. He has delivered keynote speeches for groups such as Chatham House, University College of London, Cato Institute, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and several energy, mining, and international investment conferences. Amsterdam has made regular television appearances on networks such as CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, BBC, and Fox News.

Amsterdam is a member of the Canadian and International Bar Associations. He earned his BA from Carleton University in Ottawa, and studied law at Queen’s University in Ontario (LLB). He is also licensed to practice in the United Kingdom. He is listed as a Top 100 lawyer in the UK Legal 500 and Chambers, and has been named to The Lawyer’s Hot 100 and Lawyer of the Week by the Times.


Entries by Robert Amsterdam

The Galleon Trial and the Future of Hedge Funds

(2) Comments | Posted April 26, 2011 | 2:11 PM

Winston Churchill once said that the US government will always do the right thing, but only after it has exhausted all the alternatives.

That quote has been ringing through my head a lot lately while observing the insider trading trial of hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam. As I write this,...

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Magnitsky and Russia's Opportunity Cost

(0) Comments | Posted November 15, 2010 | 10:53 PM

November 16th will mark the one-year anniversary of the murder of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who was imprisoned last year in Moscow under pre-trial detention and intentionally denied the medical care that led to his death. The responsibility lies with the Russian government, and specifically with individual officials...

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Thailand Must Unclench its Fist

(2) Comments | Posted September 10, 2010 | 12:15 PM

In the aftermath of the bloody repression of April and May 2010 which claimed the lives of close to 90 civilians, the Thai authorities cooed and purred in tones of reconciliation. They promised a renewed dedication to peace and dialogue, and movement toward an...

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Why the "Merchant of Death" Won't Ever See Trial

(2) Comments | Posted August 27, 2010 | 11:12 AM

The recent decision by a Thai appeals court to extradite the alleged arms dealer Viktor Bout, touted as the "Merchant of Death" in popular books and movies, raised many hopes that this important case would finally see trial before a U.S. court. This opportunity, however, may yet be squandered, as...

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Thailand Sets a Poor Example to Burma

(4) Comments | Posted August 17, 2010 | 8:08 AM

The announcement by Burma's notoriously brutal military junta to hold elections this November left many observers scratching their heads: Why even bother going through the motions? No one is fooled by this sham, least of all the supporters of political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi, whose house arrest...

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Emergency Powers and Thailand's Internal Colonization

(18) Comments | Posted August 4, 2010 | 2:34 PM

Over the past number of months, the Thai government led by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has become the target of much international criticism, ranging from human rights abuses, failure to investigate, violations of freedom of the press, and arbitrary detentions, among other

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Thailand's Legitimacy Deficit

(53) Comments | Posted July 26, 2010 | 5:58 AM

If next week the government of Iran or Venezuela were to dispatch its military to the streets to brutally suppress a protest rally, one would expect widespread political outrage expressed by Washington. However when it actually happens in Thailand, the "Country of Smiles" where about 90 mostly unarmed...

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The Myth of the Russia Reset

(11) Comments | Posted June 25, 2010 | 5:48 AM

This week President Dmitry Medvedev received perhaps the warmest welcome in recent memory of a Russian head of state during his visit to California and Washington DC . This warmth, fraternity, and sudden seemingly naïve trust placed into the relationship on behalf of President Barack Obama served a...

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A Hopeful Election in Guinea

(1) Comments | Posted June 22, 2010 | 4:18 PM

At a moment in which the tide of global democracy is seemingly in reversal, it is heartening to note the enthusiasm with which many voters in Africa are taking to the civic duties of participation in campaigns, building grassroots movements of popular support, and claiming ownership in the...

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Kagame's American Political Prisoner

(24) Comments | Posted June 15, 2010 | 5:37 PM

The story of Peter Erlinder, an American law professor and leading figure of the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda, reads like a macabre thriller with an unresolved ending. He arrived to Rwanda on May 28th to help defend a jailed opposition presidential candidate, and then was promptly arrested and detained...

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Obama's Expensive Dinner at Prague Castle

(3) Comments | Posted April 6, 2010 | 4:51 PM

What a difference a month makes: it seems hard to remember just how embattled, undecided, and ineffectual the Barack Obama administration looked just a month ago before the passage of the laborious health care bill. Now brimming with the confidence of a master backroom kingmaker, President Obama sets off for...

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Xenophobic Nationalism Clouds Hungary's Elections

(12) Comments | Posted March 28, 2010 | 2:37 PM

On March 15th, tens of thousands of people filled the streets of Hungary's beautiful capital Budapest, ostensibly to celebrate the 162nd anniversary of the 1848-1948 revolution and War of Independence. Among the many events commemorating this anniversary across city, a multitudinous political rally for the far-right party Jobbik...

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The Rise of the Franco-Russo Axis

(2) Comments | Posted March 4, 2010 | 12:30 PM

The three-day summit held this week in Paris between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has exceeded all expectations, marking a turning point in a deepening Franco-Russo alliance. In an abrupt turn away from past human rights criticism, Sarkozy is making a clear move to...

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Open Season on Lawyers in Russia

(1) Comments | Posted February 18, 2010 | 5:18 PM

Russia has become a pretty scary place for lawyers to work, and not for any lack of power lunches, major dealmaking, or luxury retailers. While we most often hear about the scores of journalists who pay a high price for their criticism of the Kremlin, the legal profession...

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Ukrainology and Russia's Pyrric Victory

(7) Comments | Posted February 11, 2010 | 2:16 PM

Some people think that Russian politics have become predictably boring, especially compared to the competitive race which led to the recent victory of Viktor Yanukovych. Even the analyst Evgeny Kiselyov told The New York Times that it's like comparing a "cemetery" with a "madhouse."

I respectfully disagree. There...

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How to Lose Nigeria and Alienate Africa

(8) Comments | Posted January 7, 2010 | 11:41 AM

In Dale Carnegie's popular 1936 book How to Win Friends and Influence People, he gives some good advice for basic statecraft, such as giving an "honest and sincere appreciation" and "arouse in the other person an eager want."

Clearly the U.S. government is reading from a different script in its...

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What Kind of Global Player Does Brazil Want to Be?

(6) Comments | Posted December 30, 2009 | 12:10 PM

Brazil in the 21st century is impressive to international observers for its dynamic economic growth, low inflation, and firmly established democratic institutions. How the country overcame the global economic crisis so swiftly is just one demonstration of their brilliant efforts. But the question remains: what kind...

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Nigeria's Crisis of Leadership

(0) Comments | Posted December 10, 2009 | 8:54 AM

With a population of more than 150 million, the second largest economy on the continent, and millions of barrels of oil produced a day, Nigeria is like the AIG of Africa: it's just too big to fail.

Yet fail it might, if serious corrections are not made to its current...

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Putin's Big Lie About Khodorkovsky

(5) Comments | Posted December 4, 2009 | 10:10 AM

I have been getting a number of calls and emails about Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's impromptu attack against Mikhail Khodorkovsky during the televised call-in show this week, and there was one thing remarkably different from back when I would receive such calls just a few years ago: not...

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The Murder of Russian Rule of Law

(0) Comments | Posted November 19, 2009 | 9:26 AM

According to reports, late on Monday night the 37-year-old Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky suffered a fatal rupture of the abdominal membrane causing heart failure and death. He was being held in pre-trial detention in Moscow for almost a year, where he was subjected harsh conditions and refused proper medical...

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