RuAssetsWatch: Monitoring Initiatives to Confiscate Russian Assets for the Recovery of Ukraine
Detailed description of the situation and analysis – June 2023
— The U.S. Congress has presented the draft Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity (REPO) for Ukrainians Act. If adopted, it would introduce a legal mechanism for the confiscation of the Russian Central Bank assets frozen in the United States and their transfer to Ukraine.
— The EU does not yet have legal options to confiscate the frozen assets of the Russian Central Bank. Instead, according to the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, a mechanism for transferring the proceeds from the management of such assets to rebuild Ukraine will be proposed soon.
— Estonia may become the first European country to implement a mechanism for confiscating the assets of sanctioned Russian citizens and companies to compensate Ukraine for losses. The Estonian government has prepared a draft law amending the law on international sanctions, which will be submitted for approval.
— On June 23, the EU Council approved the 11th package of economic and individual restrictive measures on Russia aimed at strengthening existing EU sanctions and combating their circumvention.
— The UK introduces new legislation that allows sanctions on Russia to be maintained until Ukraine receives compensation. This means that the Russian sovereign assets will remain immovable until the Russian Federation pays the damages. The new legislation also allows sanctioned individuals to voluntarily donate frozen funds to rebuild Ukraine.
— Meanwhile, GBP 2.3 billion from the sale of Chelsea FC by the sanctioned Russian oligarch Abramovich, which was promised to victims of the war in Ukraine, is in limbo amid disputes over how the money should be spent. The UK is still balancing between the need to send funds to Ukraine and the risk of being perceived as accommodating the oligarch’s wishes.
— Despite the fact that Russia’s oil and gas revenues dropped by more than a third in May due to lower oil prices against the background of Western sanctions and a reduction in gas exports to Europe, the Russian Federation continues to generate significant profits from exports of oil and petroleum products by sea. A journalist investigation into Geneva-based company Fractal Shipping confirms this.
— The Verkhovna Rada adopted amendments to the Law “On the State Property Fund of Ukraine” which, inter alia, change the procedure for dealing with sanctioned assets. In particular, according to the decision of the High Anti-Corruption Court, the confiscated property subject to sanctions will be transferred to the State Property Fund, which will independently decide what to do with the assets seized (privatize, lease or keep them under management).
— The Ministry of Justice of Ukraine filed a claim with the High Anti-Corruption Court for the application of sanctions (in the form of assets confiscation) against the actual owners of VS Energy – the so-called Luzhniki Group. The Ministry of Justice requests to withdraw the corporate rights in 8 electricity distribution system operators, 6 hotels, 2 industrial facilities, a shopping center and other corporate rights in 31 legal entities.
The material was prepared with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation within the framework of the project “Advocacy for the Green Recovery of Ukraine through Increased Support for Ukraine and Weakening of Russian Influence in the EU”. The material reflects the position of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the position of the International Renaissance Foundation.