In a legal system that has long been an instrument of the powerful, wealthy Russians continue finding clever new ways to use it to their advantage.

A Moscow Times investigation has uncovered a new formula: a simple but effective legal scheme that allows wealthy Russians to get their lawsuits in front of friendly judges in Russia’s south. By turning up sketchy residents of the Krasnodar region as co-defendants, court cases can be shifted many kilometers away from the courts that should have jurisdiction over the suits.