The Kremlin published a decree on Wednesday removing the Russian subsidiary of French agri-food giant Danone from the list of companies temporarily placed under Russian state control. This decision comes as according to press reports, Danone hopes to sell its Russian subsidiary to a businessman linked to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Last July, Russia issued a decree giving “temporary” control of Danone’s Russian assets to Russia’s Federal Agency for State Property Management, a move Moscow presented as a reaction to sanctions on the companies. Russians abroad. Vladimir Putin signed a new decree on Wednesday canceling this decision.

The Kremlin gave no explanation and it was not immediately clear what the consequences will be for control of Danone’s Russian entity, either in practice or from a legal point of view. The Russian subsidiary of the food giant has already been renamed and people close to the Kremlin appointed at its head.

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The Financial Times wrote last month that the French group hoped to sell its Russian assets to Vamin Tatarstan, a Russian dairy company owned by Mintimer Mingazov, linked to Ramzan Kadyrov. Citing a document sent to the Russian Ministry of Agriculture and anonymous sources, the Financial Times estimated the transaction at 17.7 billion rubles (177 million euros).

Last year, Russian authorities gave control of Danone Russia to Yakoub Zakriev, a nephew of Ramzan Kadyrov. Mintimer Mingazov was then appointed to the board of directors of the company, which was renamed Life and Nutrition. This takeover, alongside that of the Russian division of the Danish beer manufacturer Carlsberg, provoked strong protests in the West.

Since the offensive in Ukraine on February 24, 2022 and the first economic sanctions decreed by the West, many multinationals have left Russia and others have suspended their activities there, in the oil, automobile and even manufacturing sectors. luxury. Russia has imposed strict obligations on Western companies seeking to leave the country. In particular, they must sell their Russian assets at a maximum of 50% of their market value.