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Russia outlines plan for 'unfriendly' investors to sell up at half-price

FILE PHOTO: A view shows Russia's Finance Ministry building in Moscow

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Foreign investors from "unfriendly" countries selling stakes in Russian assets may have to do so at half-price or less, the finance ministry said on Friday, with the Russian budget potentially taking a 10% cut of any transaction.

Since Moscow sent its army into Ukraine in February, many Western companies - from energy producers to food and clothing chains - have left Russia.

Minutes from a meeting of a government commission monitoring foreign investment listed a set of measures that could apply to "foreign persons associated with foreign states that commit unfriendly acts against Russian legal entities and individuals" when selling assets.

The term "unfriendly" describes countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia in response to its military intervention, including members of the European Union, the United States, Japan, Canada, Britain and Australia.

It was not immediately clear how the government would choose to implement the measures and whether they would apply to every deal.

Transactions may require an independent assessment of the value of the assets, with key performance indicators established for the new shareholders, according to minutes of the Dec. 22 meeting published on Friday by the finance ministry.

One condition stated: "The sale of assets at a discount of at least 50% of the market value of the relevant assets indicated in the asset valuation report."

Another said sellers could be required to commit to one to two years of additional payments or an upfront charge of 10% of the overall transaction to Russia's federal budget.

A bill that would have enabled authorities to seize Western assets did not make it through parliament this summer.

But a decree signed by President Vladimir Putin on Aug. 5 banned investors from unfriendly countries from selling shares in the most significant and transferable investments - key energy projects and banks - unless Putin issued a waiver.

(Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Kevin Liffey)