November 22, 2018 / 2:06 PM / 18 days ago

Russia moving to withhold minority stakeholder information - industry group

MOSCOW, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Russia is considering legislation that would make information about minority shareholders secret in order to shelter them from any possible new U.S. sanctions, the head of a top industry group said.

The economy ministry has drawn up amendments allowing the government to determine cases in which certain companies would be permitted not to make third-party disclosures.

The amendments, which are published online in their draft form and have not been voted on by parliament, propose allowing certain banks, major companies, exchanges and securities issuers to make only limited disclosures.

“Divulging information including on minority shareholders could lead to secondary sanctions being imposed on them,” said Alexander Shokhin, a former deputy prime minister who now heads the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.

The legislation was drawn up in August but had not been publicly reported until Shokhin drew attention to it this week.

“We will see whether such a mechanism will help protect companies from this kind of ex-territorial implementation of American national legislation,” he said.

Russia passed similar legislation in December last year allowing companies important to the strategic and defence sectors not to make public disclosures.

The United States and western allies have imposed sanctions on Russia over its annexation of the Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014, adding more since then for Russia’s alleged election meddling and role in poisoning a former Russian spy in Britain.

Moscow denies these allegations. (Reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Katya Golubkova and Andrew Roche)

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