Russian tech firm Angstrem-T, which makes semiconductors, has accumulated significant debts and is set to be taken over by state development bank VEB after failing to reimburse an 815-million-euro ($944.75 million) loan dating back to 2008, Leonid Reiman, chairman of the company’s board of directors, told Reuters.
Reiman is Russia’s former minister of communications and information technologies. He said the company’s inability to reimburse its debt was in part tied to U.S. restrictions on the import of dual-use technologies and its addition to U.S. Treasury sanctions in 2016.
The U.S. moves were prompted by Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014 and its support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. It has imposed further sanctions against Russia since 2016 over other issues.
The company is heavily reliant on U.S. products, but the sanctions now bar it from doing business with U.S. firms.
“Although we initially received the State Department’s consent for this project and the delivery of the technology here, the sanctions caused the deadlines for its completion to be drawn out,” Reiman told Reuters. “The factory is working, the products are being produced, but the question of procurement remains.”
President Vladimir Putin has stressed the need to develop Russia’s domestic tech industry to make it less dependent on Western equipment. But Moscow’s efforts to manufacture Russian microchips and other high tech products have been thwarted by U.S. sanctions against a string of Russian tech companies.