NEW YORK - At the Russian Structured Finance Investment Forum held here last week, speakers pointed up the legal uncertainties that hang over structured deals from one of the securitization world's most promising corners. With the true sale concept untested in the country and major asset classes, such as mortgages, still in diapers, cozy legal clarity is not coming anytime soon, attendants said.

"Russia has been enacting laws at a fairly frantic pace, [and] they're doing it without a history of common law, lien concepts or anything remotely like that," said Robert Michael, chairman of the Committee on Foreign and Comparative Law of the New York City Bar Association, referring to the heady push to craft a legislative framework for securitization. The establishment of a law governing mortgage-backed securitization - amended twice - and efforts to craft laws to securitize other assets are like "building houses without foundations," he added.

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