Ukraine might get first funds from confiscated Russian money

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A US court ruled that prosecutors may confiscate $5.4 million belonging to sanctioned Russian businessman Konstantin Malofeyev. These funds could be used to rebuild war-ravaged Ukraine, Reuters reports.

The ruling on 2 February marked the first forfeiture order for a Russian oligarch’s assets since the Department of Justice in 2022 launched a task force aimed at squeezing the finances of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s allies in response to the Ukraine invasion.

The US authorities accused Malofeev, the owner of the Orthodox TV channel Tsargrad TV, of financing separatists in Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. Malofeev, who denied the charges, was placed under Washington’s sanctions in 2014 and was accused of violating them in 2022.

Andrew Adams, head of the DOJ’s KleptoCapture task force convened to probe Russian oligarchs, said last month that the first forfeited funds could be transferred to Ukraine shortly.

“These amounts are minuscule compared to the cost of the catastrophe inflicted by Russia on the people and the land of Ukraine, but the contribution is important,” Adams was quoted as saying.

In November, the UN General Assembly approved a resolution Monday calling for Russia to be held accountable for violating international law by invading Ukraine including by paying reparations for widespread damage to the country and for Ukrainians killed and injured during the war.

Ukraine is now promoting a reparations mechanism that envisions a commission that will review appeals of private persons, companies, and the state of Ukraine in compensating damages from Russia’s war that started on 24 February 2022, and a fund that will be replenished with confiscated Russian assets, money, gold, and foreign exchange reserves.

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