RT Chief Outraged at 'Shocking' Proposal to Seize Channel’s US Assets

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RT television channel Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said Tuesday that she was outraged at the proposal by a former US assistant secretary of state that the United States must freeze RT assets.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — David Kramer, a former US assistant secretary of state for democracy and human rights, said in an op-ed published last week by The Washington Post that RT channel assets in the country must be seized in compliance with two European court rulings against Russia stipulating shareholder debt repayment in the now defunct Yukos oil firm.

"We are outraged at this call of a former US official," Simonyan said. She blamed the US hype over RT broadcasts on a long-time smear campaign against the channel to "gag RT, the only opposition voice in a choir of mainstream media."

"The US Broadcasting Board of Governors has already compared us to Islamic State and called to label us a ‘foreign agent.’ But remarks of the former US assistant secretary of state in The Washington Post are nevertheless shocking," Simonyan said.

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The RT chief pointed out there was no legal ground to back Kramer’s assertion. The former US government appointee claimed that an RT asset seizure was an option to pay an estimated $52 billion to Yukos shareholders after observing that the Russian Embassy and consulate property in the US were protected by diplomatic immunity.

Last year, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled that the Russian government owed tens of billions of dollars to Yukos shareholders. Yukos was declared bankrupt in 2006 and absorbed into the state-owned Rosneft company.

The Russian Justice Ministry refused to follow EU court rulings, saying this would put the ministry in breach of the Russian constitution. The ministry appealed the ruling, arguing that it was neither fair nor impartial.

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