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EU's Intent on Confiscating Frozen Russian Assets Legally Challenging

© Sputnik / Mihail Kutusov /  / Go to the mediabankBanknotes (rubles, euros, US dollars) and Russian 5 and 10 kopecks coins. (File)
Banknotes (rubles, euros, US dollars) and Russian 5 and 10 kopecks coins. (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.05.2022
MOSCOW, May 30 (Sputnik) - The confiscation of frozen Russian assets in Europe and their allocation for Ukraine's reconstruction require solid legal justification, as the transition from freezing assets to their forfeiture is highly problematic from a legal standpoint, European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni said on Monday.
"Yes, it [the issue of confiscating Russian assets in Europe] is being considered. But we know that from a legal perspective, the transition from freezing to confiscation is very complicated. Various countries, with the support of the European Commission, will explore it, yet the outcome is not predetermined," Gentiloni told a briefing.
According to Gentiloni, "in all cases" the principle of the rule of law will be respected.
The Moscow Kremlin. - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.04.2022
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"Different countries are examining the legal conditions of how the decision to freeze tens of billions of Russian assets, including 1.8 to 1.9 billion euros [$1.9 to 2 billion] in Italy, can be transformed into confiscation. It is not a political decision, it needs legal grounds," Gentiloni said, answering a question from a Sputnik correspondent.
The European countries imposed economic sanctions on Russia shortly after Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine on February 24 and proceeded with freezing Russian assets throughout Europe. The foreign exchange reserves of the Russian central bank worth hundreds of billions of dollars have been arrested as well, with the European officials calling on introducing measures to confiscate the assets and allocate them for rebuilding of Ukraine.
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In mid-March, the European Commission initiated the ‘Freeze and Seize' Task Force, which is targeted at locating and freezing the Russian assets in Europe as well as looking into the possibility to forfeiture them. On Sunday, a high-ranking EU source said that EU leaders will discuss the possibility of confiscating assets frozen as part of sanctions against Russia at the Brussels summit on May 30-31.
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