Putin signs law allowing seizure of Western assets

Vladimir Putin [The Kremlin]

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed legislation enabling counter-measures to be taken, in the event of the seizure of Russian state property abroad. The move is seen as a tit-for-tat gesture, following Western court cases involving Russian firms.

The law, based on reciprocity, curtails the jurisdictional immunity of the country in question, if not agreed otherwise.

The document was published on Russia’s official legal information website and therefore has come into effect.

According to the new law, the jurisdictional immunities of a foreign state and its property could be limited on the territory of Russia on the principle of mutuality, in the case that the jurisdictional immunity of Russia has been found to be suffering limitations on the sovereign territory of that country.

The provisions of the law would not be applied if Russia and the other country have reached an agreement to act differently.

The judicial immunity of a foreign entity that has filed a legal action, entered a legal argument, or has taken any other substantive action in a Russian court, will be considered revoked.

The revoking of a foreign country’s judicial immunity in any given legal argument is irrevocable, and will be applied to all stages of judicial examinations.

The bill comes after several European countries seized Russian state assets in mid-June, following lawsuits from former Yukos shareholders.

>>Read: France, Belgium seize Russian assets to compensate Yukos shareholders

The Yukos plaintiffs claimed that the Russian government had illegally forced the energy company out of business, allowing Rosneft to snap up its assets and become the country’s largest oil producer.

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