Russian Secret Service Seizes Millions of Dollars in Luxury Watches

Russian Secret Service Seizes Millions of Dollars in Luxury Watches

( – Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet had millions of dollars’ worth of its product seized by the Russian secret service. The agents took the watches, citing customs offenses, but Swiss officials disagreed.

According to Switzerland’s “NZZ am Sonntag,” a confidential memo from inside Switzerland’s foreign ministry calls the move retaliation for the typically neutral country’s decision to place sanctions on Russia.

Sales reports show Russia imported $280 million in Swiss watches in 2021, placing it 17th in the world market. Audemars Piguet is nearly 150 years old and sells watches worth tens of thousands of dollars each. The company hasn’t offered a comment on the incident in Russia.

Switzerland broke a long tradition of neutrality to stand with the West against Russia last month, according to Business Insider, as the country imposed harsh sanctions and closed its airspace to Russian fleets. Those sanctions, which mirrored the European Union’s actions, specifically target Russian President Vladimir Putin, several of his high-ranking officials, and Russian businesses. The normally neutral nation took it one step further, offering aid to Ukraine through Poland.

There’s no word as to what Russian officials plan to do with the watches, but a source with Business Insider in Switzerland’s foreign affairs department leaked that the Russians were engaged heavily in talks with Swiss companies.

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