"Is good show, Fox Williams, I give you business."
Fox Williams advertises itself as a leading City law firm recognised for its "good sense", but its partners may be questioning the wisdom of acting for a sanctioned oligarch in the middle of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Billionaire Mikhail Shelkov was placed on Ukraine's sanctions list last year due to his links to the Kremlin. As the former head of the investment division of state-owned Rostec, he controlled military contractors in Russia and accrued a fortune estimated at $1.9 billion. His old boss, Sergey Chemezov, is a member of Putin's inner circle.
Perhaps because he is not on the UK's list, Fox Williams apparently thought nothing of helping Shelkov set up "App in the Air U.K. LTD" last week, naming its own office as the registered address in an impressive act of PR self-sabotage.
The same day Shelkov's pals shelled a nuclear power plant from app in the air.
Although it has only just been registered at Companies House, App in the Air is already up and running in the States. The company has offices in Moscow and Seattle, and says it allows the "modern frequent flier" to "Plan, book, track and manage your travels". Oddly, the 'Meet the Crew' section of its website does not mention its owner.
App in the Air's services may be useful to Shelkov on a clandestine basis in the coming weeks, but it's not such a great look for Fox Williams. The firm went into damage control mode when it was contacted by RollOnFriday this week, providing a statement which demanded the illustrated treatment.
Bayram Annakov, the public-facing "founder and CEO" of App In The Air, told ROF in a carefully curated statement which does not assign blame to anyone that "App in the Air is a global company with employees spread across the world, including the impacted countries of Ukraine and Russia", and that, "Several of our team members have been impacted by these events".
"War is the antithesis of App in the Air's mission. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those in our community who are affected by this unimaginable conflict, and we hope to see a prompt end with peace", he said.