Russia bans investors from selling stakes in strategic businesses

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Russia bans investors from selling stakes in strategic businesses

MOSCOW Reuters -- Russia has banned investors from so-called unfriendly countries from selling shares in certain strategic businesses and banks until the end of the year, a decree signed by President Vladimir Putin on Friday.

The ban applies immediately to the Sakhakin 1 oil and gas development in Russia's Far East. The operator, U.S. major ExxonMobil, said this week it was in the process of transferring its 30% stake to another party.

The decree prohibits investors from unfriendly countries from selling their stakes in production sharing agreements, which include the Sakhalin-2 LNG liquefied natural gas project and the Kharyaga oil field, as well as Russian banks, among other assets, as well as the Sakhalin-2 LNG liquefied natural gas project and the Kharyaga oil field.

The list of banks will be prepared by the government and the central bank for Putin's approval.

Italy's UniCredit and Intesa, U.S. group Citi and Austria's Raiffeisen are trying to find a way out of Russia, while others such as Societe Generale and HSBC are still looking for a way out.