Russian officials have reportedly confiscated luxury Audemars Piguet watches, worth millions of dollars, from a Moscow store.
It happened just days after Switzerland abandoned its neutrality and joined Western countries that imposed sanctions on Russia after the invasion of Ukraine.
Swiss media reported that security agents confiscated the Swiss watches from the store on Tuesday for violating customs rules.
There was no confirmation of the news from the Swiss government, which said Switzerland’s new ban on the export of luxury goods had caused “uncertainty” for some companies.
Audemars Piguet watches can cost more than $921,000 a piece. The company did not respond to the BBC’s request for comment on the news.
The watches were seized – according to the Swiss newspaper “NZZ Emsontag” – agents working for the Russian security service “FSB” from a branch of the Audemars Piguet company in Moscow.
The agents apparently justified their raid by claiming that the watches in question had violated local customs rules when they were imported into Russia.
After the invasion of Ukraine, the Swiss company that produces the luxury watches said it had halted its operations in Russia. She added on her website that her two stores in the Russian capital are “temporarily closed”.
Switzerland exported, according to officials, 260 million Swiss francs ($280 million) worth of watches to Russia last year, but the Swiss watch market could be more given the number of Russians buying luxury products in Switzerland.
Russian officials have shown a growing willingness in the past few weeks to confiscate the assets of foreign companies trying to reduce their business dealings in Russia.
Hundreds of foreign passenger planes, worth about $10 billion, remain stranded in the country, with requests to return them denied.
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said earlier this month that a new law would allow Russia to nationalize the assets of Western companies withdrawing from the country.