Politico: the EU is preparing a bill on the confiscation of assets frozen due to sanctions A legal norm that would make circumventing sanctions against Russia a criminal offense could be submitted within two weeks. It will also allow the confiscation of the assets of Russians and companies from Russia frozen due to sanctions jpg” alt=”Politico learned about the development in the EU of the possibility of confiscation of the assets of Russians” />
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In the European Union, within two weeks, they can develop and submit a legal norm that will make it possible to consider circumvention of sanctions a crime and confiscate assets frozen due to sanctions, including Russians. This was reported by the European edition of Politico, citing two sources.
“The European Commission will present a bill that will help the EU confiscate frozen assets as part of the sanctions campaign against Russia. The proposal will be submitted within two weeks, it will make it a crime in the European Union to circumvent sanctions and provide legal grounds for the confiscation of assets,— writes the publication.
Sanction evasion is not now a criminal offense in all EU countries. As Politico's interlocutors noted, the initiative “is aimed at harmonizing the legal confusion.” In order to gain the force of law in all EU countries, the proposal must be supported by all countries— members of the union, as well as the majority of members of the European Parliament.
“This rule will expand the legal possibilities for the confiscation of assets without a lawsuit and a court decision. While sanctions allow the assets of Russian oligarchs to be frozen, it is currently more difficult to confiscate them without trial and sentence, on a permanent basis,— the interlocutors of the publication note.
At the same time, according to Politico sources, the question of how to deal with the confiscated assets will be decided by the EU countries. “The discussion about whether these funds were sent to Ukraine continues,” — said one of the newspaper's interlocutors.
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Many countries, as well as the European Union, began to tighten and expand sanctions against Russia from the end of February in response to the start of a military operation in Ukraine. The restrictions included, among other things, freezing the assets of Russians, organizations and Russian companies that were included in the sanctions lists. Also, Western countries have frozen, according to the Ministry of Finance, about half of Russia's gold and foreign exchange reserves— about $300 billion
At the end of March, Bloomberg reported that EU authorities were discussing the possibility of transferring frozen Russian assets in the EU to Ukraine. Citing a source, the agency wrote that the initiative was “at a very early stage”; development, no decision has been made yet.
In early April, the European Union announced that at that time the EU countries had frozen Russian assets in the amount of €29.5 billion, including not only accounts, but also property: ships, helicopters, works of art, real estate. In addition, about €196 billion in bank transactions was blocked.
April 11, Europol, together with Eurojust and the EU external border security agency Frontex, launched Operation Oscar. to search for Russian assets subject to sanctions and identify cases of circumvention of restrictions.
In Ukraine, they announced their intention to make claims on Russian assets frozen in the West in order to spend them on the restoration of the country. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that Kyiv is negotiating the withdrawal of Russia's frozen gold and foreign exchange reserves with the United States and other “partners”. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky estimated the cost of restoring the country after the Russian special operation at $600 billion.
At the end of April, the US House of Representatives passed a law that allows seized Russian assets to be used to support Ukraine. In particular, we are talking about the assets of foreigners received by the owners thanks to the support of the Russian authorities.
The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, said on May 9 that Brussels should consider confiscating assets and transferring them to Ukraine. He cited “billions of dollars” worth of US seized assets as an example. from the Central Bank of Afghanistan, which, according to him, will later be used to compensate victims of terrorism and for humanitarian assistance to the country. The diplomat noted that “it was logical” consider similar steps with Russia's frozen reserves.
The Kremlin called the freezing of assets of Russian businessmen and companies a “robbery”. “These are absolutely honest legal entrepreneurs. They were robbed. They got robbed like they did in the Wild West with a Smith & Wesson robbed travelers»,— said the press secretary of the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov.
The head of the Central Bank, Elvira Nabiullina, previously stated that the Russian side would challenge the freezing of gold and foreign exchange reserves and was already preparing lawsuits. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Western countries of actually stealing Russian gold and foreign exchange reserves.
In response to the decision to confiscate assets, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin proposed to confiscate assets in Russia from businesses from unfriendly countries. According to him, the authorities of the countries that announced their intention to seize Russian assets are “engaged in theft.”