Ukraine, Putin puts hostile countries assets under ‘controlled administration’

With the same decree, Moscow takes control of the Russian activities of two foreign energy companies

Russian President Vladimir Putin signs a decree to place the assets of hostile countries under “controlled administration”, in response to the seizure of Russian property abroad. The document explains that the decision was adopted as an “urgent measure” to respond to the “illegal actions of the United States and other countries, in relation to the seizure of Russia’s properties and companies”.

The properties, assets, securities and equity interests of Russian companies attributable to these countries – explains the document – will be placed under temporary receivership, if there is a “national, economic, energy and other security threat “. The Russian Federal Agency for the Management of State Assets (Rosimushchestvo) will be the administrative trustee and will perform the functions of owner “except for the power to dispose of the assets”. It will also inventory the property which is under external management and safeguard it.

“Expenses related to the receivership of the property will be covered by income from its use. The receivership can be terminated by decision of the Russian president,” the document said.

By the same decree Putin put the Russian subsidiaries of two foreign energy suppliers, Germany’s Uniper and Finland’s Fortum Oyj, under Moscow’s control.

In the event of expropriation of the assets of the Russian state, Russian companies or individuals abroad, Moscow will take control of the companies originating from the corresponding foreign country, the decree threatens.

Uniper has an 83.73% stake in the Russian branch Unipro, which has been supplying natural gas to Germany for years. Last year the company found itself in dire straits as supplies of Russian gas were cut off as a result of Western sanctions imposed following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The German government eventually nationalized Uniper.

The subsidiary Unipro will now pass under the management of the Rosimushchestvo state fund. “The decree does not address the property issue and does not deprive the owners of property,” Rosimushchestvo said in a statement.

Even before the Russian invasion, Uniper had tried to sell its stake in Unipro. A buyer had been found, but the Russian authorities had never approved the sale. Uniper has already written off a £4.4 billion ($4.8 billion) loss related to the subsidiary.