Economy 2024-02-15T05:00:21+02:00
Ukrainian news
EU Frozen Russian Assets Worth EUR 68 Billion

EU Frozen Russian Assets Worth EUR 68 Billion

war, Ukraine, EU, European Parliament, war with Russia, frozen Russian assets

The European Union has frozen EUR 68 billion worth of Russian assets, according to a European Commission official document seen by Politico.

Of this amount, Belgium accounts for EUR 50 billion, followed by Luxembourg with EUR 5.5 billion. These countries, as well as Germany, Ireland, Austria and France, together account for more than 90% of frozen assets.

But the European Commission does not know exactly how much Russian currency reserves are frozen in the EU, the publication notes. As stated in the document, it is approximately EUR 33.8 billion; however, it noted that "this amount is currently being assessed, so it does not need to be quoted".

"Due to the actions of Western countries, Russia has lost access to foreign exchange reserves of approximately USD 300 billion," Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said in March.

Belgium is used by some central banks for operations with government bonds, which include foreign exchange reserves. In particular, in the past decade, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) and Chinese state-owned companies conducted part of the transactions with U.S. Treasury bonds through Belgian agents and kept them in a Belgian depository. However, these transactions were not included in the Treasury International Capital database, a division of the U.S. Department of the Treasury that records the transactions of international players in Treasury bonds. Belgian central bank operations were evaluated by experts.

The large amount of Russian assets frozen in Belgium is probably connected precisely with the blocking of Western government bonds, which were included in foreign exchange reserves. Euroclear is located in Belgium, which deals with settlement of international transactions with securities, their storage and maintenance.

And in Luxembourg there is another large clearing house - Clearstream.

Currently, there is an active discussion in Europe about the possibility of confiscating frozen Russian assets and their use for payments to Ukraine. The European Commission is waiting for the Council of the European Union to approve the decision to consider the evasion of sanctions as a crime; it would allow for asset forfeiture in the event of a judgment, according to the document reported by Politico.

In the United States, the KleptoCapture working group created by the American federal agencies intends to collect the seized assets of oligarchs through a court procedure, in which it is necessary to prove that they were purchased with criminal money. Evasion of sanctions, in particular, will be considered such a crime.

"Support for the adoption of pan-European legislation on the confiscation of assets of those on the sanctions list is growing, but now lawyers are actively dealing with this issue," the Minister of European Affairs of the Czech Republic, Mikulas Bek, said this week.

"Guarantees of property rights are an important factor for the EU, we do not want to undermine them," he emphasized.