Putin prohibits ‘unfriendly’ foreigners from owning stakes in Russian companies

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law allowing for foreign investors from “unfriendly” countries to be barred from holding stakes in major Russian companies and banks, state news agency RIA said on Friday.

It said the government would draw up a list of Russian firms to be covered by the law, including all systemically important banks and firms above a certain size in terms of revenue, employees, assets or taxes paid.

Under the law, the rights of foreign investors from unfriendly countries – meaning those that have imposed sanctions on Russia over its war in Ukraine – could be suspended, and their shares distributed proportionally among Russian owners.

Russia has moved increasingly in recent months to take control of the assets of Western companies in retaliation for the seizure of Russian-owned assets abroad.

Last month it took control of Danish beer company Carlsberg’s stake in a Russian brewer, as well as a Russian subsidiary of French yoghurt maker Danone. In April it took similar steps against Finnish utility Fortum and Germany’s Uniper.

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