MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian courts could get the green light to seize foreign assets on Russian territory under a draft law intended as a response to Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.
The draft, which was submitted to parliament on Wednesday by a pro-Kremlin deputy, would also allow state compensation for an individual whose property is seized in foreign jurisdictions.
Italian authorities this week seized property worth about 30 million euros ($40 million) belonging to companies controlled by Arkady Rotenberg, an ally of President Vladimir Putin targeted by the U.S. and European Union sanctions.
The draft law, published on a parliamentary database, would allow for compensation for Russian citizens who suffer because of an “unlawful court act” in a foreign jurisdiction and clear the way to foreign state assets in Russia being seized, even if they are subject to international immunity.
Boris Nemtsov, a Kremlin critic who in the late 1990s was a senior member of government, said the bill was an attempt by Putin to shield Russian billionaires and officials from the impact of sanctions.
“What is a strongman’s friendship like?” he asked rhetorically on his Facebook page. “It is when your four villas, apartment and hotel are seized in Italy, and your accomplice in the Kremlin immediately introduces a bill to compensate for the losses from the Russian budget.”
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