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Dean Byrnes Returns from Successful Moscow Presentations

October 30, 2013

Associate Dean William Byrnes recently returned from a week in Moscow (October 21 – 25) where he participated in two conferences, a presentation to the tax and transfer pricing partners at Pepeliaev (one of the largest Russian law firms) and meetings with government Ministry officials.  Dean Byrnes, a renowned international tax academic, was invited and sponsored by the Financial University of the Russian Federation and the University of Amsterdam’s Centre for Tax Law.

A conference organized by the Moscow branch of the International Financial Association, the world’s leading 20,000 member organization for the study of international fiscal policy matters, was held at Morgan Stanley’s Moscow office.  Dean Byrnes joined presenters from the tax law faculty of the University of Amsterdam, including Dr. Dennis Weber, Dr. Stef van Weeghel and Dr. Hein Vermeulen, as well as Bart Zoetmulder from the law firm Loyens and Loeff, Continental Europe’s largest.  Dean Byrnes’ participation included analyzing the impact of various aspects of the forthcoming United States and Russian intergovernmental agreement for automatic financial information exchange.

Professor Byrnes noted, “I think that Dr. Dennis Weber, a powerhouse among European Tax Law professors, took notice of my academic work, though I am not from Columbia or NYU, because I am an actual graduate from the University of Amsterdam, where I studied international tax law and from where I began my international tax career.”

“The Director of the Amsterdam Centre for Tax Law, Dr. Dennis Weber, visited Thomas Jefferson’s campus and presented lectures to our residential students on the often overlooked world of international tax management opportunities,” continued Dean Byrnes.  “After our engaging discussions in Moscow about overlapping mutual opportunities, I am just now working out the logistics for our sponsorship of his return in March for a deeper engagement with the Tax Society, led by second-year student Mark Hackman, the third-year law students leveraging my publications programs for their career development, and myself to complete discussions exploring the potential to offer a couple joint programs in a hybrid residential-online format.”

Financial University and the University of Amsterdam hosted a conference on emerging international tax issues in the context of the Russian Federation’s tax administration.  Dean Byrnes joined high level presenters from the Ministry of Finance, from the Tax Administration and tax professors from Financial University and from the University of Amsterdam.

According to Dean Byrnes, “My contribution to this day-long discussion forum was to shed light on alternative perspectives of U.S. tax policy than normally heard by Russian or Dutch tax officials, a role in which I think I succeeded based upon the interest in my presentation.  I’ve been asked by my Dutch colleagues for my macro-economic analysis work of tax-regulatory impact, as well as information on effective rates resulting from U.S. international tax policy in that it may be useful for current far-reaching legislative developments in their country.”

“Dean Byrnes made a very inspirational speech during the conference,” said Dr. Weber. “We’ve already asked him if he wants to teach during our new International Tax Law master program in Amsterdam. Our students will like and learn a lot from the way he combines law, tax policy and economics.”

“I had the most interesting meeting with the Advisor to the Minister of Justice, Yury Zudov, wherein we discussed Orthodox theology in the context of society, the development of law, and also for university education,” continued Dean Byrnes. “Before joining the government, Yury Zudov was responsible for international relations for St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University in Moscow and still serves on its faculty exploring the area of jurisprudence.  Southern California, including San Diego, has a sizeable Orthodox population and Orthodox college, and thus I foresee future opportunities.

“Our week of presentations and meetings ended coincidentally with the opening day of Moscow Fashion Week, which like Rio’s, is a vibrant environment for creative designers and advisors to explore these growth markets.”