Russia Considers Easing Accounting Rules for Sanctioned Companies

A number of Russian companies could be allowed to stop publishing mandatory annual reports and financial statements in an attempt by the government to protect them from further Western sanctions, Kommersant reports.

Тhe Finance Ministry this week proposed cancelling obligatory reporting for around 20 Russian firms on a government list of companies hit with U.S. and EU sanctions that should receive special treatment. The move is designed to limit how much Western governments can find out about the companies, and protect their customers and contractors from being named on future sanctions lists.

Companies that could receive the exemption include sanctioned businesses connected to the defense industry, such as Russian Helicopters, gun maker Kalashnikov Concern and state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, Kommersant wrote.

The proposal “is an important step in preventing the negative consequences of restrictive measures against Russian organizations,” an explanatory note published by the Finance Ministry said, in reference to sanctions.

Sanctions “require the adoption of certain measures,” the note added. “One of those measures is to limit the disclosure or dissemination of information contained in accounting statements … by exempting these organizations from submitting annual accounting statements.”

Annual reports are “practically the only publicly available source of information” about the sanctioned companies allowing other governments to find out crucial information about the firms and their activities, the Finance Ministry said.

The same companies had previously been excluded from requirements to repatriate foreign earnings into Russia in the previous round of sanctions-proofing measures, introduced in 2017 and 2018.