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    RT Has Virtually No Assets in US: Editor-in-Chief

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    The RT television channel’s leadership has taken care of legal issues, Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said Thursday commenting on US proposals to freeze the channel’s 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 not fools, we have virtually no assets in the United States. We have anticipated this scenario and have already attended to issues of legal security," Simonyan told the Izvestiya newspaper.

    Simonyan added that she had not previously encountered issues in the United States as "the principle of free speech is respected too much to prohibit a television channel, even if they consider it harmful or dangerous."

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    After Kramer had made his statements, the RT chief pointed out that they had no legal grounds. Kramer 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 are 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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