The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), citing information from the Swiss newspaper NZ am Sonntag, reported that luxury watches worth millions of dollars are to be confiscated from the Moscow branch of the Swiss company Audemars Piguet by agents of the Russian Federal Security Service.
According to Swiss media reports, the luxury watches were supposed to be confiscated on Tuesday for allegedly violating customs regulations. The BBC’s website said it was just days after Switzerland abandoned its traditional neutrality – joining Western countries and imposing sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.
Swiss watches and the Russian market
She added that the company did not confirm this information and did not respond to the BBC’s request for comment. The Swiss government, in turn, said that a new ban on the export of luxury goods had created uncertainty among some companies.
According to the BBC, Audemars Piguet watches can cost more than $900,000 apiece. After the invasion, the Swiss luxury brand said it had halted operations in Russia, and its website described both of its stores in the capital as “temporarily closed”.
Switzerland exported watches worth 260 million Swiss francs ($280 million) to Russia last year, according to industry officials. The Russian market may be more important for the Swiss watch sector, as a large number of Russian customers have bought luxury products in Switzerland itself, the BBC explains.
Acquisition of foreign assets in Russia
In recent weeks, Russian officials have intensified their activity to confiscate property of foreign companies trying to restrict their business in Russia. Perhaps the most striking example of this is the hundreds of foreign leased passenger planes worth nearly $10 billion remaining on Russian soil, whose owners have refused to return, according to the British terminal portal.
He added that earlier this month, former President Dmitry Medvedev said the new law would allow Russia to nationalize the assets of withdrawing Western companies.
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