Belgium freezes 50 bn euros of Russian assets; in total, $330 bn frozen worldwide

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International

Editor’s Note

Three weeks ago, the number of assets frozen across the EU was at 13.8 billion euros. On 2 August, this number jumped after Belgium froze 50.5 billion euros in funds belonging to people or entities subject to sanctions against Russia due to its attack on Ukraine. Since 24 February 2022, due to the joint work of 8 countries participating in the Russian Elites, Proxies, and Oligarchs (REPO) Task Force, $330 billion in Russian assets were frozen, blocked, or immobilized.

Belgium freezes 50.5 billion euros in Russian funds

In Belgium, 50.5 billion euros in funds belonging to people, companies, and other legal entities that were subject to financial sanctions after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 have been frozen.
That is a considerably higher amount than was previously known, Francis Adyns, the spokesman for the FPS Finance, confirms this today, De Morgen writes. Three weeks ago, 13.8 billion euros in assets had been frozen across the EU. Now the amount frozen by Belgium alone is considerably higher.
The funds frozen include cash and stocks located in Belgium owned by 1,229 people and 110 entities subject to sanctions against Russia—Russian politicians, oligarchs, banks, and corporations.
The latest sanction packages have added several banks to the list, such as Sberbank, the largest Russian bank, and VTB Bank, one of the largest banks in Russia with the state as the largest shareholder.
In addition, as an important international financial hub, Belgium, together with institutions such as the securities giant Euroclear in Brussels, has blocked 217.1 billion euros in transactions that have been banned since the full-scale war in Ukraine.
Francis Adyns, the spokesman for FPS Finance, says he is not allowed to clarify which sanctioned persons or companies have the largest amounts frozen. “All we can say is that in the latest wave of sanctions we have found names that have had large sums of assets frozen,” he said. The last time Belgium published figures on this, in April, it was 3.5 billion euros. Adyns says that no real estate has yet been targeted in Belgium under financial sanctions.

330 billion of Russian assets frozen, blocked, or immobilized by REPO Task Force

The Russian Elites, Proxies, and Oligarchs (REPO) Task Force has blocked or frozen more than $30 billion worth of sanctioned Russians’ assets in financial accounts and economic resources and immobilized about $300 billion worth of Russian Central Bank assets.
REPO was launched by the United States Department of Justice. Participating countries include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Their Finance, Justice, Home Affairs, and Trade Ministers and European Commissioners jointly committed to “prioritizing resources and working together to take all available legal steps to find, restrain, freeze, seize, and, where appropriate, confiscate or forfeit the assets of those individuals and entities that have been sanctioned in connection with Russia’s premeditated, unjust, and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the continuing aggression of the Russian regime.”
REPO actions also include seizing, freezing, or detaining yachts and other vessels controlled, held or owned by Russians who were sanctioned as well as luxury real estate owned. REVO restricted Russia’s access to the global financial system, making it more difficult for Russia to procure the technology.

REPO says that in the coming months it will

  1. track Russian-sanctioned assets and
  2. prevent sanctioned Russians from undermining the measures that REPO members have jointly imposed.

It is working collaboratively with the private sector to promote effective sanctions implementation.  It works closely with the European Commission’s Freeze and Seize Task Force.

“Together, we will ensure that our sanctions continue to impose costs on Russia for its unprovoked and continuing aggression in Ukraine and to prevent funds and economic resources from being provided to or for the benefit of designated persons.  As we undertake this work, we are seeking to maximize the impact of sanctions on designated persons and entities while guarding against spillover that affects global commodities markets and food supplies, which Russia has disrupted by choosing and continuing to wage war,” REPO wrote.

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