EU froze 13.8 billion euros in Russian assets over Ukraine war, official says

European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders addresses the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, September 15, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman/Pool/File Photo

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BRUSSELS, July 12 (Reuters) – The European Union has so far frozen 13.8 billion euros ($13.83 billion) in assets held by Russian oligarchs, other individuals and entities sanctioned for Moscow’s war on Ukraine, the bloc’s top justice official said on Tuesday.

The official said the vast majority of this came from just five of the EU’s 27 member states, calling on others to step up their efforts. The bloc currently has 98 entities and nearly 1,160 people blacklisted for Russia’s role in Ukraine.

“At the moment we have frozen funds from oligarchs and other entities worth 13.8 billion euros, that’s quite huge,” EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders said on Tuesday. .

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“But a very large part, more than 12 billion, comes from five member states, so we have to keep convincing others to do the same,” he told reporters as he arrived at a meeting of national ministers of the country. justice in Prague, the Czech capital.

He did not identify the five countries.

He said he expected a final political agreement after the summer on a new legal tool to make breaching or attempting to circumvent sanctions a criminal offense anywhere in the EU, which is not not currently the case.

The policy, meant to curb the circumvention of restrictions by transferring assets to family members who had not been sanctioned, could then come into effect in the fall.

“If so, the money will go to a fund for the Ukrainian people, to return the money to the Ukrainian people after the assets are confiscated,” he said.

Reynders and the ministers also discussed cooperation with Eurojust, the bloc’s criminal justice agency, to gather evidence of alleged war crimes in Ukraine, which had been attacked by Russia from land, sea and air. last February.

He said Eurojust would retain all evidence and should cooperate closely with member countries of the bloc, 14 of which have their own national war investigations.

“The most important thing is to have very good coordination, not to duplicate different situations, and to gather all the evidence in one place,” Reynders said.

($1 = 0.9979 euros)

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Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Alison Williams

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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