Freezing 17 billion euros of Russian assets in the European Union

Freezing 17 billion euros of Russian assets in the European Union

European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders announced Saturday that some 17 billion euros of assets of Russian businessmen and entities in the European Union have been frozen in seven member states, following sanctions imposed on Russia in response to the war in Ukraine.

“So far, the assets of 90 people, amounting to more than 17 billion euros, have been frozen in seven member states, including 2.2 billion in Germany ,” he said in an interview with media affiliated with the German “Funke” group .

At the beginning of July, Reynders estimated the value of frozen assets in the European Union at about 13.8 billion euros, mainly in five countries, owned by oligarchs or members of the Russian elite, on whom the 27 countries have imposed sanctions.

“If it is criminal money confiscated by the European Union, it can be transferred to a compensation fund for Ukraine,” the commissioner also said in the interview published on Saturday.

Ukrainian officials are demanding that frozen assets be used to rebuild their country after the war. However, Reynders warned that “the amount is absolutely insufficient to finance the reconstruction.”

Western sanctions have also led to a “freezing of 300 billion euros” of the foreign exchange reserves of the Russian Central Bank in the world, an amount that can be used as a “guarantee,” the commissioner estimated.

Didier Reynders stressed that “Ukraine also wants to use these funds for reconstruction.” “In my view, it is possible at least to keep the 300 billion euros as collateral until Russia automatically participates in the reconstruction of Ukraine,” he added.

In total, since the invasion of Crimea in 2014, the assets of 1,236 people, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, members of the State Duma and oligarchs such as Roman Abramovich, Mikhail Friedman or Peter Aven, and 115 entities, have been frozen, and they have been banned from entering the European Union.