European Commission: developed a mechanism for the confiscation of Russian assets

A bill has appeared in the EC that creates a legal framework for the confiscation of assets obtained by criminal means, including violation of sanctions.

According to Reutersthe European Commission wants to make it as easy as possible to confiscate assets linked to criminal activities – including sanctions evaders who EU introduced against the Kremlin. The agency refers to the draft document, which was at the disposal of the editors.

The legislative proposal will be published on Wednesday and is understood to be subject to amendment by that date. It aims to address legal weaknesses in the EU, where some states lack a strong legal framework for the confiscation of criminally obtained assets.

Many states are trying to freeze assets under EU sanctions for their ties to the Kremlin. But so far they have no legal authority to confiscate. The new bill will eliminate these shortcomings by creating a common legal framework.

The new rules are intended to be applied against crimes, including participation in a criminal organization, terrorism, money laundering, and human trafficking. As well as violation of European Union sanctions – in accordance with the document, which will be published on Wednesday, these actions will go into the category of crimes.

As a rule, confiscation of assets becomes possible only after a guilty verdict. But under the new bill, it will be possible to confiscate the assets of suspected criminals at the investigation stage, as well as in the case when the assets are transferred to third parties, including family members.

The European Union called one of the main obstacles faced in the application of sanctions against the Russian Federation, the fact that assets were registered in someone else’s name or transferred on the eve of the imposition of sanctions, writes “European Truth”. Earlier Didier Reynders, EU Commissioner for Justice, said:

“We are working on a European instrument to make confiscations possible everywhere, in all EU states.”

Didier Reynders also named redistribution of proceeds from these confiscations to Ukraine as one of the ultimate goals. For this proposal to become law, the support of EU governments, which have traditionally been cautious about amending their criminal laws, is needed.

An active discussion continues in the EU regarding the transfer of arrested Russian assets in favor of Ukraine. As the Speaker of the Lower House Sean O’Faril said, Ireland is already working on this in its jurisdiction.

Warsaw says the property of Russian oligarchs hit by sanctions and hundreds of billions of euros in Russia’s central bank reserves frozen by Western states should be made available for spending on Ukraine’s reconstruction.

The Office of the Ukrainian President said that IOUs would be issued under the guarantee of the arrested Russian assets, and the proceeds from their sale would immediately be used to restore Ukraine.

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