US And Russia Prepare For ‘Tit-For-Tat’ Asset Seizures

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US And Russia Prepare For ‘Tit-For-Tat’ Asset Seizures  Confiscation

The EU looks set to agree to a proposal to use Russia’s reserves frozen in the West at the start of the war to raise $50 billion in support of Ukraine. In an apparent response, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree that authorizes the seizure of any U.S. assets in Russia, writes Russian independent media outlet The Bell.

  • The EU gave official confirmation Tuesday to a plan to transfer the profits from its share of Russia’s frozen reserves (€210 billion out of about €260 billion) to aid Ukraine. This would likely raise between €3 billion and €4 billion a year. 
  • G7 finance ministers this week also debated a U.S. plan to use Russian reserves to finance a bigger aid package for Ukraine – up to $50 billion through 2025. While there is no talk of direct confiscation, the U.S. suggests frozen Russian reserves in Europe could be used as collateral for a large bond issue, either by the U.S. or by EU countries. The plan is to repay the debt using future income from Russian money. Unlike previous U.S. proposals, this plan has preliminary approval from Germany and a good chance of being adopted at the G7 summit next month.
  • Amid all this, it’s hardly a coincidence that the Kremlin published a decree Thursday authorizing the confiscation of U.S. assets in Russia as compensation for U.S. seizures of Russian sovereign assets. On paper, this is a response to the law signed by U.S. President Joe Biden at the end of April to allow for the extrajudicial confiscation of Russian assets in the U.S. (although the U.S. controls a mere $5 billion of the Russian Central Bank’s total frozen reserves). Putin’s decree permits a retaliatory confiscation of U.S. assets in any jurisdiction “in relation to decisions taken by the U.S. government or legal authorities.”
  • It looks a lot like the Kremlin is considering seizing privately-owned U.S. assets. Even in the third year of the war in Ukraine, such U.S. assets in Russia could be worth tens of billions of dollars. Several U.S. companies still have a presence in Russia, including oil firms ExxonMobil and Chevron, oil service companies Schlumberger and Weatherford, and GE industries. And there are a number of U.S. companies still operating in the Russian consumer market: Philip Morris International (assets worth $3.88 billion), Pepsico ($3.8 billion), Mars ($1.5 billion), P&G ($1.1 billion) and Mondelez (Russian profits of about $1 billion last year).