Russian intelligence agents confiscated millions of dollars in luxury Swiss watches from Audemars Piguet in apparent retaliation against sanctions

Russian intelligence agents confiscated luxury watches worth millions of dollars from Audemars Piguet last week.Leon Neal / Getty Images

  • Russia confiscated millions of dollars worth of Audemars Piguet watches in Moscow last week, according to NZZ am Sonntag.

  • The move appeared to be in response to Switzerland’s sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

  • Switzerland has retracted its historically neutral position to impose sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine war.

Russian intelligence agents have confiscated millions of dollars in luxury watches from a Swiss watchmaker, in apparent retaliation for Switzerland’s sanctions over the Ukraine war. NZZ am Sonntag Sunday newspaper reported.

The watches were confiscated from a local branch of Audemars Piguet in Moscow earlier this month, according to the newspaper. Audemars Piguet is a family-owned watchmaker that is around 150 years old. trade mark luxury watches The cost of entry is usually tens of thousands of dollars.

Russian authorities have cited customs irregularities related to the confiscation of the watches, but the Swiss foreign ministry said in a confidential memo that this was likely an “arbitrary repressive measure in response to the sanctions”, according to newspaper NZZ am Sonntag.

on February 28And the Switzerland It left its historically neutral status to punish Russia Because of its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Restrictions include a ban on exporting luxury items to Russia.

Russia ranked 17th in the list of the largest markets for Swiss watch exports in 2021, with 260.1 million francs ($278.6 million) worth of shipments, according to Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.

Audemars Piguet and the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to Insider requests for comment sent outside normal business hours. A spokesman for the Swiss Foreign Ministry said Bloomberg The country’s embassy in Moscow “is currently conducting a very intensive exchange” with Swiss companies in Russia.

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