US warns Russia on foreign corporate assets and taking steps to seize them

Posted at 9:01 PM, Mar 10, 2022

(WASHINGTON) - The White House is warning Russia against taking steps to seize the assets of U.S. and international companies that have announced plans to suspend operations in Russia or to withdraw from the Russian market in response to Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.

Jen Psaki, the press secretary, was responding to reports in Russian and other news media about a proposal to nationalize the property of major foreign companies that are leaving Russia.

Psaki says Thursday on Twitter that such a step would be a throwback to 1917 and that Russia will have to live for decades with investor distrust. She says Russia also could face legal claims from companies whose property is seized.

Psaki says the White House stands with American companies that are making what she called “tough decisions” about the future of their Russian operations.

The Russian newspaper Izvestia reported Thursday that the government and the general prosecutor’s office were considering a proposal to nationalize foreign companies that have announced they are pulling out of Russia because of the war in Ukraine. The newspaper said it had a list of nearly 60 companies, including IKEA, McDonald’s, Apple, Microsoft, IBM and Porsche, among others.

The article said some were urging caution. One expert quoted warned against hasty actions, saying some of the businesses were acting under pressure from their governments and that it would be wrong to conclude that they have closed their doors on the Russian market forever.