Russian courts could get the green light to seize foreign assets on Russian territory under a draft law intended as a response to Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, The Moscow Times reports.
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The draft, submitted to the Russian parliament on Wednesday, would allow the authorities to take assets owned by foreign states in Russia. The bill also provides for state compensation to Russian nationals whose assets have been seized abroad.

Boris Nemtsov, a Kremlin critic, who in the late 1990s was a senior member of government, said the bill was an attempt by Putin to shield Russian billionaires and officials from the impact of sanctions.

"What is a strongman's friendship like?" he asked rhetorically on his Facebook page. "It is when your four villas, apartment and hotel are seized in Italy, and your accomplice in the Kremlin immediately introduces a bill to compensate for the losses from the Russian budget."

According to the Moscow Times, Italian authorities this week seized property worth about 30 million euros belonging to companies controlled by Arkady Rotenberg, an ally of President Vladimir Putin targeted by the US and European Union sanctions.

Russian laws require three readings in the lower house and the approval of the upper house before going to Putin to be signed into law.

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