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France freezes Russian assets

French authorities have frozen the assets of some Russian government bodies over a claim by a Swiss trading firm.

Since 1993 the Swiss trading firm Noga has applied for the seizure of Russian property abroad, claiming that the Russian government owes millions of US dollars to it under food-for-oil contracts the two sides signed in 1991 and 1992. Citing a French bailiff's order, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported Monday that French authorities last week ordered to freeze bank accounts of some Russian government-linked entities, including the newswire itself, handled by a French subsidiary of Russia's VTB bank.

The Russian Finance Ministry said Monday that Russia would appeal the court order and demand compensation from Noga, and the Foreign Ministry has been in touch with the French authorities, the report said. (Xinhua)