The current rules do not allow the use of €1.3 billion worth of assets of Russian businessmen frozen in France, but the European Commission is working to legalize such a move. This was stated on Sunday in an interview with the LCI TV channel by the press secretary of the French Foreign Ministry, Anne-Clair Legendre.
“At the current stage, European sanctions provide for freezing, that is, blocking of funds, and they cannot be confiscated without a court decision in connection with circumventing these sanctions. So it is not possible right now to transfer them to Ukraine, but you know that the EC has decided to work with new proposals to transfer these funds to Ukraine and assess to what extent we can use these funds to ensure recovery from them [страны]”, Legendre said.
“There are many types of assets frozen under European sanctions, for example, € 300 billion of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation [в ЕС] and €1.3 billion of Russian oligarchs who were frozen directly in France”, she explained.
On Thursday, Bloomberg, citing an internal EU document, informed that, according to the legal service of the community, no one knows where 86% of the blocked assets of the Central Bank of Russia, the total amount of which it estimates at $ 258 billion, are located. Under these conditions, the legal service recommends that the European Union also “work with the G7 and EU international partners” to find the rest of the frozen Russian gold and foreign exchange reserves, if Brussels intends to invest these funds and use the interest to pay Kyiv.
Since the spring of 2022, the EU has repeatedly stated that it has blocked about $ 300 billion of Russia’s gold and foreign exchange resources. In autumn, the EC reported on the freezing of another $19 billion belonging to “Russian oligarchs.” However, until now, it has not been able to confiscate this money, since such a mechanism is basically absent in international practice and such a step will further undermine the confidence of other states in the reliability of placing their assets in Western banks.
In this regard, at the end of 2022, Brussels began to consider a plan according to which the frozen funds, while formally remaining Russian, could be temporarily invested by the European Union, and the proceeds from these investments would be used to support Ukraine. However, as it turned out, even such an idea is still impossible to implement.