France to be rocked by Russia sanctions – companies facing significant hit

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Lawyer Olivier Dorgans, a specialist in economic sanctions, claims the sanctions will not necessarily have an immediate effect on the Russian economy. Speaking on French TV network Public Sénat, he said the sanctions could, however, have a “significant impact for French companies”.

Referring to “oil and gas shale in Russia” Mr Dorgans, who is also a member of the Ashurst firm, noted: “Because even if imports and exports are relatively low figures, there have been considerable investments made by French players in Russia, even if they were paused in 2014.”

According to the expert, this comes despite the fact that exports from France to Russia represent less than one percent of exports (seven billion euros) and about two percent of imports (10 billion euros).

Asked about the impact on the Russian economy, Mr Dorgans suggested Russia has been anticipating the sanctions and is prepared for them.

He said that the measures include freezing of assets, and so they have an immediate effect.

As explained, the sanctions require EU companies with commercial links to Russian companies owned by these sanctioned individuals to take immediate action.

However, Mr Dorgans claims that Russia will avoid the immediate impact because it “is preparing itself”.

He said: “In (the sanctions of) 2014, Russia was a little taken by surprise – these sanctions have now been in place for eight years.

“During this time, Russia has repatriated its capital, it has imposed on its banks to take out their assets held by foreign banks and bring them back to Russian territory.

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“Russia has also turned to China in terms of energy.”

And he concluded: “In a way, the sanctions, even if they are immediately applicable and impose a bit of work for companies that are active in Russia, will not necessarily have an immediate effect.”

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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