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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Security Firm Chief Has the Right Connections

Most Americans would keep it a secret if they had contacts in the Russian secret services, but Matthew Green brags about it.

Although he hasn't been handed his entry pass to Lubyanka, he says his company -- the Strategical Task-Force for International Law and Security, or STILAS -- can get access to the highest echelons of the Federal Security Service.

The company offers private-eye-style -- or rather FSB-style -- background investigations into people and companies and can provide armed guards if needed. It also helps resolve disputes between American and Russian business partners.

Green's company employs 5,000 former FSB agents on a temporary basis and often needs help from the FSB to get a job done. A lawyer by profession, Green speaks of the security services with almost a schoolboy crush.

"The FSB has an overwhelmingly high level of professionalism," he says. "It's like a faith. ... They believe in it like a religion. Nobody can buy them off."

Green, who is 31 but looks like a college student, arrived here in 1994 with his Russian wife, no knowledge of the language and a degree from the Dickinson School of Law in Pennsylvania.

He started up the Institute of Technical Energy Medicine, which exported Russian magnet-therapy technologies. Through business contacts, he met a number of State Duma deputies and gave them unofficial legal advice on legislation.

The FSB took interest in this foreigner -- who was dining with Russian lawmakers -- and asked him to give lectures and seminars on law enforcement from an American lawyer's point of view.

STILAS grew out of his connection with the FSB.

Flipping open his wallet, he shows two badges -- one from a U.S. law enforcement agency (he refuses to say which one) and another from an economic security division of the FSB, which among other privileges gives him free rides on the metro.

"By the time you get the badge, you don't need to go on the metro," says Green, who quickly notes that he has two Mercedes and a driver.

Green thinks he appealed to the FSB because of his "political views." "I'm a big believer in national security, of the be-all and end-all of security government," he says.

Green reluctantly admits the secret services may have made their mistakes. "The KGB has done a lot of bad things," says Green. But he says most officers only wanted to protect their country.

"It's important to cooperate with them and work for things that are good for society to make a safer world for the people of both countries," says Green. "If we condemn them, who will defend the country?"

His company is an independent counsel to the FSB. A large seal from the Justice Ministry hangs obtrusively on the wall in his office and a Justice Ministry uniform hangs in his closet.

Green has earned nine awards from Russian law-enforcement agencies and been honored with the grandiose-sounding Defense Ministry Officer's Ceremonial Sword for, he says, strengthening Russia's prestige and influence in global geopolitics.

Green's company works on the assumption that it can work out disputes between businesses by looking at both sides.

Americans rely too much on the belief that "We're all saints and Russians are all bad," Green says. "In reality, the Americans are often making their own mistakes, doing a lot wrong because they don't understand the political and business culture."

He tells of one case STILAS handled for a large U.S. Internet firm, which had put $5 million into a project with a Russian government agency. The firm came to STILAS after things had gone horribly wrong, with the dispute on its way to court.

"Our task was to repair damaged relations," Green says, adding that his company investigated the rather complicated case and found that the Americans were at least half to blame.

In cases where allegations of corruption and mafia links are involved, the work is more straightforward. "We have to sit down with the mafia," Green says. "We do it very objectively, like a mediator."

Green boasts that because of his links to the FSB, STILAS can get the agency's help in resolving business disputes.

"We know the mentality of the FSB," he says. "We have to make an argument as to why this case is worthy of state intervention."