Russia Warns Western Companies It May Seize Their Assets If They Join Boycott
Russian prosecutors have warned Western companies, such as McDonald’s, IBM and Coca-Cola that their criticism of the country’s invasion of Ukraine could prompt arrests of corporate leaders or seizure of assets in Russia.
One company has already moved to cut off communications between its Russian businesses from the rest of the company so that confidential emails and messages aren’t intercepted.
Other countries have removed their executives from Russia.
Most spokespeople for affected companies have declined to comment other than say that their decision to stop service to Russia is temporary, citing supply chain issues in connection to sanctions on Russia from the Western world. Some of these companies include Yum (who owns KFC and Pizza Hut), McDonald’s and Coca-Cola. Others have announced that they will permanently leave the country.
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Companies’ decisions to suspend operations in Russia will immediately affect employees.
McDonald’s chief executive Chris Kempczinski announced that the 62,000 staff members “who have poured their heart and soul into our McDonald’s brand to serve their communities,” would continue to be paid, in last week’s statement.
Still, others have said they will not make changes and will continue operations in the country.
“Any lawless decision by Russia to seize the assets of these companies will ultimately result in even more economic pain for Russia,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted Thursday, in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s possible support for a law that would allow Moscow to nationalize assets of foreign companies. “It will compound the clear message to the global business community that Russia is not a safe place to invest and do business.”
U.S. Chamber of Commerce chief policy officer Neil Bradley echoed Psaki’s statements.
“Such a step would only add to Russia’s increasing isolation, show its disregard for the rule of law and ultimately inflict more pain on the Russian people,” he said in a statement.
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