The EU has not yet developed mechanisms for the seizure of russian assets in favour of Ukraine – Olena Pokanievych
Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has been going on for almost a year. According to the estimates of the Cabinet of Ministers, the amount of damage caused by russian aggression reached UAH 700 billion. As early as March 2022, the European Union created the Freeze and Seize Task Force to find and seize russian assets. As a result, about EUR 19 billion of russian assets were frozen but the legal aspects related to their seizure have not yet been implemented.
Olena Pokanievych, Dixi Group Project Expert, stated this on 5 Kanal.
“The EU is still working on mechanisms that will allow seizure of russian assets. EU leaders have repeatedly announced that they are thinking about such mechanisms, but there is no information about the progress achieved. In contrast to the EU, there is even the first case of seizure of russian assets worth about USD 5 million in the USA. At the end of last year, they amended the state budget act, which allows in certain cases to seize the assets of sanctioned persons. Yes, the amount is small, but this is only the beginning,” said Olena Pokanievych.
According to the expert, another important issue, which is currently being actively worked on in the EU, concerns the establishment of a legal regime of criminal responsibility for circumventing sanctions.
In May of last year, the EU proposed to expand the list of criminal offenses by adding circumvention of sanctions to it. At the end of November 2022, the EU Council voted to include this type of offense in the list of criminal offences. But the relevant directive has not yet been adopted.
“EU member states have different legal regimes regarding sanctions evasion. Therefore, there is still work on a single legal regime for all countries. This approach will increase the effectiveness of the application of sanctions and allow the seizure of russian assets for the reconstruction of Ukraine to be implemented more quickly. This legal regime is already actively used in the USA. Recently, a British citizen was arrested who helped russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska evade sanctions,” said Olena Pokanievych.