RuAssetsWatch: Monitoring Initiatives to Confiscate Russian Assets for the Recovery of Ukraine
Detailed description of the situation and analysis – March 2023
— On March 23, EU leaders met in Brussels. The focus was on the effective implementation of sanctions and counteracting their circumvention by third countries, as well as intensifying efforts to use frozen Russian assets for Ukraine’s recovery.
— The US Attorney General visited Ukraine as part of the United for Justice conference to promote the operational work of the Joint Investigation Team on war crimes and the KleptoCapture Task Force.
— The U.S. Departments of Commerce, Justice, and Treasury have issued a Tri-Seal Compliance Note for businesses to help identify warning signs and implement appropriate measures to prevent violations of U.S. sanctions and export control laws.
— The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has imposed sanctions on a network of five companies and one individual who assisted Iran in the procurement of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The network, based in China, is responsible for the sale and delivery of thousands of components.
— The European Commission and a number of EU countries (Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, Slovenia and Spain) are launching a project to monitor compliance with sanctions on Russia, aimed at eliminating gaps in the sanctions regime and coordinating actions between governments. The project may become a precursor to a new EU supervisory body.
— The EU and G7 countries are trying to find and freeze the assets of Russian billionaires under sanctions, but while some countries have frozen billions (Belgium and Luxembourg), others have rather modest figures. This call for the Freeze and Seize Task Force and the international group REPO (Russian Elites, Proxies, and Oligarchs Task Force) to intensify efforts to find assets and identify those who help sanctioned persons hide them.
— According to representatives of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, the decision of the International Criminal Court in The Hague on the arrest warrant for Putin could become a catalyst for many processes, in particular, affecting the creation of an international compensation mechanism and the confiscation of frozen Russian assets.
— The Government of Ukraine plans to adopt a Strategy for the Management of Confiscated (Seized/Recovery/Sanctioned) Assets to improve the asset management procedure.
— The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is planning to consider a draft law that would create a State Register of Sanctions and improve the procedure for High Anticorruption Court (HACC) judicial review of sanctions cases.
— These and other initiatives may indicate a desire to bring order to the management of confiscated assets, as well as some competition between the State Property Fund and the Asset Recovery and Management Agency, which are actually doing similar work.
— The HACC confiscated to the state a share in the authorised capital of business entities that own the Ocean Plaza shopping mall in Kyiv, previously owned by Russian oligarch Rotenberg.
— The National Agency for Corruption Prevention publishes lists of foreign companies that continue to cooperate with Russia despite the international recognition of Russia as an aggressor state and sanctions.
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.