Russian officials warned companies like McDonald's and IBM that corporate leaders who criticize the government could be arrested, report says
- Droves of companies have suspended operations in
Russiain response to the war in Ukraine.
- Russia has said it could seize the assets that companies leave behind.
Prosecutors in Russia have issued stark warnings to Western companies that pull out of the country or criticize its government, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.
Sources told The Journal that companies in various sectors had been told that their corporate leaders could be arrested if they criticize Russia and that companies shutting down operations in the country could have their assets seized.
Russia said last week that it could seize the assets of companies that suspended operations in Russia. Droves of US and European companies pulled out of the country after it launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24. The West has also imposed crippling economic sanctions on Russia.
The Journal's sources said several companies received the Russian prosecutors' threats last week, including
McDonald's, IBM, and Yum Brands did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.
Sources told The Journal that some companies were working on transferring executives out of Russia in response to the threats.
McDonald's said in a statement on Tuesday that it was temporarily closing its restaurants and pausing operations in Russia. It said it would continue to pay the salaries of its 62,000 employees in the country during the pause.
"Our values mean we cannot ignore the needless human suffering unfolding in Ukraine," CEO Chris Kempczinski said, adding, "As we move forward, McDonald's will continue to assess the situation and determine if any additional measures are required."
IBM and Yum Brands also announced last week that they would suspend operations in Russia.
The Russian Embassy in Washington, DC, did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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