Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Brussels proposes plan to confiscate frozen Russian assets to compensate Ukraine - Ursula von der Leyen

The European Commission on Wednesday proposed confiscating Russian assets that have been frozen to punish Moscow for the invasion of Ukraine, exploring legal options with the EU’s partners to compensate Kyiv for damage to the country.

Officials in the European Union, the United States, and other Western countries have debated for months how to legally seize Russian assets held abroad -- both state and private -- that are frozen by sanctions.

The problem is that in most EU member states, seizing frozen assets is only legally possible where there is a criminal conviction. Also, many assets of blacklisted Russian citizens are difficult to seize or even freeze because they are registered as belonging to family members or front people.

The European Commission (EC) suggests creating a fund comprising 300 bln euro of frozen assets of the Russian Central Bank and 19 bln euro of private assets to invest these funds and use profits for compensation payments to Ukraine, President of the EC Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday.

"We have blocked 300 billion euros of the Russian Central Bank reserves and we have frozen 19 billion euros of Russian oligarchs' money. In the short term, we could create, with our partners, a structure to manage these funds and invest them. We would then use the proceeds for Ukraine," she said.

"Once the sanctions are lifted, these funds should be used so that Russia pays full compensation for the damages caused to Ukraine," von der Leyen informed.

"We will work on an international agreement with our partners to make this possible. And together, we can find legal ways to get to it," she added. 

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