Sergei Grachev, Managing Partner

Services: Corporate, Tax and Transactional, Dispute Resolution, Technology. Media. Telecom. Art.

Sergei is the founder and Managing Partner of MGAP and leads MGAP’s main international projects in the field of asset tracing and debt recovery, M&A, TMT (technology, media and telecoms), including strategic work between US major studios and Russian leading film and TV producers.

  • Graduate Diploma in Law, Moscow State Law Academy, 2002
  • Deutsche Management Academy and Cambridge Education Business Administration Program, 2000
  • Course of Cinematography by Vadim Usov, Russian State Film Institute (VGIK), 1991 – 1995.
Professional experience:

Prior to founding MGAP, Sergei worked on large Russian and International mergers and acquisitions projects.

Professional societies and ratings:
  • Advocate, member of Moscow Regional Bar, register number 50/4291
  • Sergei is recommended by The Legal 500 EMEA as a TMT lawyer
  • IMDb
  • Member of Amnesty International since 1991
  • Sergei currently holds an EASA PPL private pilot license
Additional Information:

Sergei speaks Russian and English

A pre-judicial corporate dispute

MGAP represents of a client's interests in a pre-judicial corporate dispute with a company, where the client is a participant.

Celebro Media, a global broadcast TV company who supply production, studio space and networks around the world

MGAP provides coordination from the point of view of Russian law of the process of joining Celebro Media as a new Russian investor.

MGAP advises a CIS division of FOX 20th Century on various compliance legal issues regarding distribution of content in Russia

Promsvyazbank, a Russian private bank

MGAP provides legal support to multi-jurisdictional debt recovery disputes, working with local law firms in order to achieve the highest possible level of expertise to bridge the different legal worlds. An example, MGAP prepares affidavits and legal opinions under Russian law for legal proceedings outside Russia, as well as engages its foreign partner law firms to prepare the same for proceedings in Russian courts.

A multi-million claim in the LCIA

MGAP in close collaboration with major UK law firm concluded and negotiated a settlement agreement between parties after a 2 years trial in the London Court of International Arbitration arising from the sale and purchase transaction of a major Russian supermarket chain.

MediaZona, popular media portal in Russia

MGAP is advising MediaZona on various Russian legal matters, including IP and corporate.

Badoo, a major online dating network

MGAP advises Badoo on various IT, corporate, labour and other Russian legal issues.

Magellan Systems Japan Inc

MGAP is advising IT company on various Russian legal matters, such as IT, corporate, tax and labor.

Magellan Systems Japan Inc - one of the world’s leading companies providing high sensitivity and high precision GNSS technology.

Ostrov Studio, a major Russian documentary film company

MGAP has advised Ostrov on its co-production with an international film studio, including drafting of co-production agreement.

Telecom Italia

MGAP has advised Telecom Italia on various Russian legal matters, such as IT, corporate, tax and labour.

Representation of client’s interest in LCIA

Close collaboration with a large UK law firm in the course of filing a multi-million rouble claim in London Court of International Arbitration arising from the sale-purchase transaction of a supermarket chain.

Franchising for a fast food chain

MGAP has drafted franchising documents for a fast food chain of its client.

Product labelling and instructions for technology project

MGAP consult one of the largest international producers of robot technology on the question of Russian law as it applies to product labelling and the content of instructions accompanying the sale and the use of this technology in Russia.


MGAP’s lawyers prepare a legal opinion on the tradability of cryptocurrency in Russia.

SPLEAN, Russian popular music band

MGAP has provided legal support to Russian popular music band SPLEAN and its activities in Russia. We have consulted our client on a day to day basis on all commercial and IP matters, etc.

A legal support to de-offshorization

MGAP provides legal support to de-offshorization process. MGAP advised its private client on the matter of de-offshorization of their assets and provided legal support to the deals aimed at de-offshorization.

MGAP assists in incorporating and running The Alexander Piatigorsky Trust

MGAP has recently incorporated The Alexander Piatigorsky Trust registered as a charity.

The Trust is created in honour and memory of the recently deceased Alexander Piatigorsky, one of Russia’s most important philosophers and the author of “Remember the Strange Person“ (1999) and “An Ancient Man in the City“ (2001) amongst many other outstanding works.

Over the last year, MGAP’s Managing Partner, Sergei Gratchev was involved as both secretary and student in Piatigorsky’s last philosophical classes held in London. Sergei kept invaluable records of these classes which now form part of the philosopher’s legacy.

One of the Trust’s aims is to make information about the philosopher and materials from the final classes available to everyone.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about The Alexander Piatigorsky Trust please contact Sergei Gratchev.

A major international distributor of fresh water

MGAP advises the client on consumer protection rights regarding the sale of water in Russia. 

Illegal use of the name of a music group in an advertisement – the first litigation in Russian judicial practice

MGAP represented the interests of musical group “Zveri” in a dispute against the organizer of a concert, which took place in St-Petersburg as part of an advertising campaign for a new residential complex.

The concert advertising used the name of the group illegally as the group did not agree to take part in the concert.

The name of the group is registered trademark.

MGAP succeeded in winning full compensation.

Popular Russian Internet service -

MGAP has advised Coub Limited and its Russian subsidiary on IP, advertising, tax, labour, commercial and corporate matters.

Legal advice for a leading commercial art education organisation

MGAP Attorneys at Law provides expert legal advice on restructuring the business affairs of a leading commercial art education organisation.

"Lend of OZ", Vassily Sigarev's new film

MGAP begins full legal support to production of Vassily Sigarev's new film.

White Mirror Film Company is a client of MGAP's and has started production on a new film by Vasily Sigarev.

Vasily Sigarev is a Russian director, screenwriter, dramatist, winner of film awards from Britain (Evening Standard Award), film festivals in Zurich, Germany, Portugal, France, Wiesbaden and the international press federation FIRPRESCI. Vasily Sigarev's plays have been presented at theatres in London and Hamburg.

The animated film «Alice Knows!»

MGAP provides legal support to new animation: «Alice Knows!». MGAP provided legal support to the new animated film from Bazelevs studio «Alice Knows» from early stages of development.

MGAP successfully represents property developer in dispute with Moscow Government

MGAP’s client, a property developer, and the Government of Moscow were in dispute over the ownership of apartments in a new build elite housing development.

According to the Moscow Government, the apartments worth $1m were their property and they refused to finalize an investment agreement with the developer.

MGAP was able to prove that the apartments were not the property of the Moscow Government and were instead owned by the property developer’s private clients. The court supported the position of the developer and ordered the Moscow Government to finalize the investment agreement on the terms proposed by MGAP’s client.

An international electro-visual project

MGAP provided preliminary legal advice to a singer and writer of music and lyrics on protection of intellectual property rights and legal aspects of musical composition.

A licensing agreement between a major UK TV channel and a famous Russian documentary director

MGAP provided full legal support to a licensing agreement between its client Dmitry Vasyukov, a famous Russian documentary director, and a major UK TV channel.

The broadcaster bought the licence from Dmitry Vasyukov for broadcast of the European version of “Happy People” (edited by Werner Herzog) in Russia and CIS.

Music licensing agreements with iTunes and Google Play

MGAP advised it’s client, a major Russian recording studio, in licensing agreements with iTunes and Google Play.

The film “Gorko!”, the top Russian box office hit of autumn 2013

MGAP advised its client, major Russian film company Bazelevs, in negotiating a co-production agreement for the film “Gorko!”, and prepared deal memos with coauthors. “Gorko!” was the top box office hit of autumn 2013 in Russia.

The comedy “Game of Truth”, film adaptation of a popular French theatre play

MGAP helped major Russian film company Bazelevs buy the rights to the comedy “Game of Truth”.

MGAP advised Bazelevs on investing in the production of the film, financial liability, and division of rights and income from distribution between Bazelevs and the owner of intellectual property rights.

The film which received high ratings when screened in summer 2013 is adapted from a theatre play popular in France and Russia.

MGAP advised a client interested in financing films and developing film culture

MGAP provided legal support for rights acquisition to literary works, and negotiated with well-known screenwriters on behalf of its client.

MGAP consults on promotional campaign for “Gentlemen of Luck - 2”

MGAP provided full legal support on all issues relating to the marketing of “Gentlemen of luck - 2”, a remake of the well-known Russian comedy “Gentlemen of Luck” directed by George Danelia. The film is produced by MGAP’s client, and leading Russian production company, Bazelevs.

Developer of mobile applications, App Store

MGAP gives initial consultation to developer of mobile applications, App Store. MGAP advised on questions relating to intellectual property protection and legal aspects of software creation.

Viacom International Media Networks

MGAP consults its client on compliance issues regarding applicablelegal restrictions inbroadcasting content on Russian TV, parental ratings, advertising, product placement.

MGAP provides up-to-date high level advice based on our unique experience in advising international networks in the light of increased legislative attention on mass media. 

Our clients include: Paramount Pictures, Paramount Comedy, MTV Russia, Nickelodeon, Paramount Channel and others.

Legal support to top Russian animation studio expanding operations in US

MGAP provides legal support to top Russian animation studio expanding operations in US. MGAP developed a corporate structure for its client and covered the Russian tax implications of the proposed business activity in the US. MGAP worked in collaboration with the client’s US legal advisors on development and production issues related to broadcast in US.

Legal advice to top Russian entertainer and TV producer on Russian comedy feature co-production with US producer

MGAP provides legal advice to top Russian entertainer and TV producer on Russian comedy feature co-production with US producer.

Using our substantial experience in cross-border co-production, MGAP represented its client in initial negotiations and drafted term sheets and deal memos on the project in order to fix preliminary arrangements between the parties.

Legal support in contracting Hollywood star to Russian film project

MGAP represents Russian film production company in contracting Hollywood star to Russian film project. MGAP advised its client on copyright, tax and immigration issues arising from the contract.

An European film co-production

MGAP provides full legal support to international film co-production.

Followed by the Cannes International Film Festival since its development phase, the film is supported by Europe’s Eurimages fund and major European producers. Distribution rights to be handled by a well known international agent.

Dirty and Leprosarium, cult Russian online communities

MGAP provides a legal advise to a pool of investors on IP matters for cult Russian online communities Dirty and Leprosarium.

Movie blockbuster “Yolki 2“

Released in December 2011, “Yolki 2“, is the blockbuster sequel to 2010’s box office hit “Yolki“.

MGAP provided full legal support to the film during its production, marketing and distribution.

Russian-American film project “The Darkest Hour“

MGAP provided legal support for the filming and marketing in Russia of 20th Century Fox’s. The Darkest Hour, produced by MGAP’s client, Timur Bekmambetov.

A complicated investment transaction permitting qualified investors to invest in a 3D animation project

From 2009 to 2011 MGAP participated in a complicated investment transaction permitting qualified investors to invest in a 3D animation project. Participants in the transaction were MGAP’s client, a well-known film production holding, and a major Russian investment company. MGAP was responsible for general coordination of the project, involving companies from three different jurisdictions as well as consulting on corporate law and intellectual property matters.

The film “Apollo 18“

MGAP provided full legal support on all issues relating to the marketing of “Apollo 18“ in Russia. The American film was produced by MGAP’s client, Timur Bekmambetov, for Dimension Films.

MGAP wins litigation dispute against tax authority

MGAP successfully defended its client against the Russian tax authority. A court ruling held that the Russian authority had unlawfully imposed taxes, penalties and fines for tax avoidance exceeding $1.5m on MGAP’s client, a large Moscow building firm.

Success in business reputation trial

MGAP successfully defended the interests of a private client, a film producer, against a former business partner, for publishing misleading information about them on the Internet. MGAP proved that the information published was false and harmed the plaintiff’s reputation. The defendant was ordered to remove the information and forced to pay a fine in excess of $8,000 as compensation for moral damage.

Trial success in copyright case

MGAP’s client, a film production company, was recently involved in a conflict with a film director. The director was dismissed for illegally posting sketches, on-set photos and the shooting script on his blog, thereby violating the client’s copyright and disclosing confidential information relating to the film’s production.

The court ordered the director to remove the items from his blog and charged him over $7,000 for violation of copyright.

MGAP consults on large TV content supply deal

MGAP consulted on behalf of a TV content supplier in a major transaction with Rostelekom Company, one of Russia’s leading IPTV providers.

Our IP team was responsible for copyright, IT and liability aspects of the deal.

Bekmambetov’s new comedy “Vykrutasy“ - the first Russian film starring Hollywood superstar Milla Yovovich

MGAP provided legal advice on the film directed by Leo Gabriadze and produced by Timur Bekmambetov.

Russian 3D Mokap animation studio

MGAP advised on the financial and corporate structure of its client’s joint project with Channel One. Our IP team also carried out complex due diligence on the underlying material for the project.

White Mirror, film company

MGAP has advised White Mirror on various film production and distribution, as well as corporate issues.

Top Russian cinema box office – “Yolki“

Starring Russia’s most popular actors and celebrities, “Yolki“ topped the Russian and CIS New Year box-office.

MGAP provides legal support to its production, promo and distribution.

Werner Herzog's remake of “Happy People“

MGAP represented Dmitry Vasyukov, Russian documentary director of “Happy People“ in this cross-border deal. The film is a remake of Werner Herzog’s documentary of the same name about a small village in Siberia. Remade with Herzog as producer for Europe and USA.

The film “Black Lightning“ – MGAP advises

MGAP advised on Timur Bekmambetov’s latest film project “Black Lightning“.

“Black Lightning“ was one of the leaders of а New Year box-office in Russia.

Animation project “9“, created jointly by Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov

MGAP advised on the animation project “9“ created jointly by Timur Bekmambetov and Tim Burton. The film’s budget was $30 million.

MGAP success in Sheremetyevo Customs case

MGAP represented its client in an appeal in an arbitration court against Sheremetyevo Customs.

MGAP successfully argued that the right to claim VAT relief should be available to a taxpayer whether or not they claim VAT relief in customs documents.

This significant decision changed the case law on this point.

MGAP successfully defended a leading Moscow consultancy company in a defamation case and the appeal that followed

The Russian film «First Love»

MGAP provides full legal services to production and distribution of the film.

Representing a client in court defending their business reputation

As part of a corporate battle and non-amicable division of a business with the original company owner,  an arbitration process was started claiming unfair competition and loss of reputation.

The court found in favour of MGAP's client and the decision was supported by higher courts.

Due diligence on Russian holding companies with a licence to mine and process mineral deposits

As legal adviser MGAP was a part of its client's international project to buy a controlling number of shares in a company registered in the US in Delaware State with subsidiaries in several jurisdictions.

Tax advice on gold trading in Russia

MGAP has provided tax advice on gold trading in Russia and prepared a legal memo for the client.

“Wanted“, produced by Universal Studios, film starring Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman

MGAP advised leading Russian film director Timur Bekmambetov on the film project “Wanted“, his Hollywood directorial debut.

First copyright case in Russia won against mobile phone operator

Mr. Anton Vartanov, leader of the music group “Magnitnaya Anomaliya“, a client of MGAP, has become the first copyright owner in Russia to win a court case against a mobile phone operator.

The operator, “Megafon“, had been selling the group’s songs to its customers as ring back tones without Mr. Vartanov’s permission.

MGAP’s lawyers demonstrated to the satisfaction of the court that Megafon had failed to carry out chain-of-title checks to ascertain copyright ownership.

The court judged that Megafon had infringed the rights of the copyright owner, Mr. Vartanov, and ordered that the company pay him compensation.

Timur Bekmambetov’s sequel to the original Russian national new year film Irony of Fate whose box office takings exceeded $50 million

MGAP lawyers provide full legal services on the film.

MGAP was required to provide a multi-faceted approach to provision of legal services from the start. One of the first steps was the creation of a corporate structure for the production company before going on to provide full legal support throughout production.

In order to clear rights for the use of sequences from the original “Irony of Fate“, lawyers at MGAP produced agreements with the film’s many rights holders. In addition, MGAP was responsible for all contracts drawn up with cast and crew.

Following the film’s release at the cinema and on DVD, MGAP continue to act as legal consultants regarding the collection and distribution of profits from the project.

MGAP has successfully defended the film’s producers in a court case regarding infringement of author’s rights, as well as providing consulting services on ways of protecting the film’s intellectual property.

“The Best Movie 2“, produced by Sony Monumental Pictures

MGAP advised Sony Monumental Pictures on one of its most commercially successful film projects in Russia “The Best Movie 2“.

The film «Waiting for a Miracle», produced by Sony Monumental Pictures

MGAP provides legal advice in analysing and preparing documents related to the distribution of the film.

The film «Trackman», produced by Sony Monumental Pictures

MGAP provides legal support to the distribution of the Russian thriller of the film. 


MGAP has advised Bazelevs on various film production and distribution, corporate, tax, commercial and labour issues as well as dispute resolution. 

Bazelevs is an international film company and the leader of Russia's production industry. Bazelevs works in films and advertisement production, post-production and distribution.

National Instruments

MGAP advises the client on various commercial, tax and corporate matters of its activity in Russia.

National Instruments is a major producer of automated test equipment and virtual instrumentation software. 

Navigator Records

Navigator Records is a major Russian music label. 

MGAP has provided legal support to the client and its activities in Russia. We have consulted our client on disputes in IP, corporate and commercial matters.