NC Treasurer Dale Folwell wants Congress to allow state pension funds to seek damages in US courts. His request to change federal law could lead to the seizure of Russian assets and property.
The change could provide potential recovery for damages to North Carolina pension plans.
Folwell said in a Press release that he wants Congress to change the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act 1976 provide direct recourse to the NC Pension Fund and other institutional investors and state pension funds to hold corrupt regimes and foreign state corporations accountable for losses resulting from their murderous misdeeds.
“We do it this way because the law hasn’t been refreshed in almost 50 years,” Folwell told the Carolina Journal. “I don’t think in 1976 we envisioned a sovereign country being invaded by a superpower. We need to pursue this through Congress to give us a potential route through the legal system. »
Folwell said pension plans selling their Russian investments were not an option as they were stuck, despite what has been written in numerous articles across the country over the past few days.
The proposed action would be unprecedented. This would complement the economic sanctions and export controls that the US government has already imposed on Russia.
The statement said that as of February 25, the treasurer’s staff found that the state had minimal holdings in its Russian-domiciled international equity portfolio, with just under $80 million, barely 0.067% of the total plan holdings of $118.2 billion. The Supplemental Retirement Plan’s portfolio has exposure of approximately $12 million, or 0.077% of the plan’s $15.5 billion holdings, all in international equity and index funds..
“It wouldn’t matter if it was $1,” Folwell said. “When you are a fiduciary, you have a responsibility to be loyal and have a duty of care. I want to recover the financial losses of this mass murderer [Vladimir Putin] inflicted on our pensioners and our taxpayers.
Folwell said he spoke to the two U.S. senators from North Carolina, Republicans Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, on Tuesday. Tillis released a statement on Twitter and Facebook agree with Folwell’s actions.
Folwell said he has taken action now because of a possible Ukraine relief bill that will soon come before Congress. He wanted the opportunity to have something inserted into the bill.
He also urged the General Assembly to adopt a resolution strongly condemning Putin’s murderous military invasion of Ukraine.
“Our prayers are there, but as custodian of the public purse, I have a fiduciary responsibility to exercise loyalty and duty of care to members,” Folwell said. “We have signed up to be lead plaintiffs in the Peloton class action lawsuit. So if we are legally prosecuting a white-collar executive who may have committed securities fraud, why wouldn’t we have the guts to sue someone like him for what he did to us and to pension plan?