Partner and Head of White Collar practice at Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dyakin & Partners Law Firm (RGD) Maria Blagovolina is acting as a member of defense team for a two-time Olympic gold medalist and Women’s NBA champion Brittney Griner who was detained on drug charges in February 2022.
This is one of the first high-profile cases picked up by the RGD White Collar Practice launched in December 2021 and headed by Maria Blagovolina. At the same time this is one of the most unprecedented cases for the Russian legal sector involving globally admired personalities which ended up with an unreasonable sentence of 9 years imprisonment for the defendant despite all the evidence and guilty plea.
The defense team including Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov of Moscow Legal Center will continue seeking justice for Brittney Griner and is planning appeal the verdict as the next step and in accordance with the Russian legislation.
“We are very disappointed by the verdict. As legal professionals, we believe that the court should be fair to everyone regardless of nationality. The court completely ignored all the evidence of the defence, and most importantly, the guilty plea. This contradicts the existing legal practice. Taking into account the amount of the substance (not to mention the defects of the expertise) and the plea, the verdict is absolutely unreasonable. "We will certainly file an appeal", said Maria Blagovolina leaving the Khimki City Court.
“We founded this firm back in 2018 as a major litigation powerhouse with strong corporate capabilities for Russian and foreign clients. We adhere to the strictest ethical rules of our profession. It’s a great honour to be representing Brittney Griner, a living legend of women’s basketball in such a complex proceeding. We will continue our fight for Brittney’s rights. And Justice for All.”, said Ilya Rybalkin, a founding partner of Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dyakin and Partners.
Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dyakin & Partners (RGD) is a fast-paced law firm of the next generation, combining a leading Russian practice focusing on international dispute resolution and a high-end corporate practice servicing complex transactions and projects.
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Our lawyers have worked on the largest corporate deals, investigations and disputes in the history of modern Russia and represented Russian companies in over 170 jurisdictions worldwide.
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