Romania to allow firms controlled by sanctioned Russian entities to function under state supervision

by Cristian Florescu

 Romania’s government adopted an emergency decree allowing local companies controlled by entities which are subject to EU sanctions against Russia to continue their activity without having their accounts blocked if they are appointed a state supervisor, the economy ministry announced, writes SeeNews

The decree establishes a set of guarantees in order to ensure that the EU’s sanctions regime is not prejudiced, as the state grants derogations to help certain legal entities in Romania continue their activities, the economy ministry said in a press release on Thursday.

Such companies will be provided with a state-appointed supervisor only if a freeze of funds and resources would have a significant economic impact.

“After the EU imposed sanctions on Russian-owned companies, the Romanian economic chain has been indirectly impacted, so there is the issue of protecting companies in this chain that is not subject to sanctions, but especially the issue of protecting thousands of jobs,” economy minister Florin Spataru said.

“One example is the metallurgical industry where about 22,000 people are employed, another – the automotive industry where it is estimated that 5,000 jobs out of about 200,000 are currently affected. Our goal is to reduce the risk of losing jobs.”

If a company’s request for state supervision is approved, a representative of the economy ministry will be appointed and the funds and/or economic resources of the legal entity will be unblocked.

The supervisor appointed by the state will be able to attend meetings of shareholders, directors and management bodies as an observer and will have access to all locations where the company operates, as well as to all financial accounting and legal documents. The supervisor will be remunerated at the maximum level established for the members of the board of directors or at the maximum level of the salary of other management employees, but with not less than 10,000 lei ($2,167/2,023 euro) gross.

In March, Romania’s tax authority, ANAF, blocked the accounts and froze assets of three companies indirectly controlled by an unnamed individual who is on the EU list of Russian nationals sanctioned over the invasion of Ukraine. The three companies – TMK Artrom, TMK Assets and TMK Europe GMBH – are controlled by Cyprus-registered TMK Steel Holding United.

At the same time, at the request of TMK Artrom, a derogation was granted for the continuation of the company’s commercial activity and for payments to employees, suppliers and credit institutions.

Also in March, the tax authority blocked the bank accounts of the representative office of the Russian flag carrier Aeroflot in Romania.

Earlier this month, the European Union adopted the sixth package of sanctions against Russia, enforcing a complete ban on imports of Russian seaborne crude oil and petroleum products. However, Bulgaria and Croatia were exempted from the ban until the end of 2024, due to economic difficulties that would arise.

In March, the EU announced that the list of sanctioned persons and entities has been further extended to include more oligarchs and business people linked to the Kremlin, as well as companies active in the military and defence areas which are logistically and materially supporting the invasion.

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