German Finance Ministry warned against confiscation of assets of Russians for Ukraine

Russian businessmen should themselves contribute to the reconstruction of Ukraine, in the matter of the forced seizure of their assets, one must remember the rule of law, Lindner said.

Christian Lindner

The issue of confiscation of the assets of Russians who fell under international sanctions in favor of Ukraine is subject to discussion, the difficulties associated with this are too serious, but Germany is open to proposals for the seizure of Russian state assets. This was stated by German Finance Minister Christian Lindner in an interview with The Financial Times.

Russian entrepreneurs should be persuaded to voluntarily “contribute to the payment of reparations to Ukraine”, he is sure. Linder emphasized: “Countries based on the rule of law guarantee the inviolability of private property.”

“There needs to be a political discussion about this <…> I would like to take part in it»,— summed up the head of the German Ministry of Finance.

At the beginning of the week, on May 17, Linder said that he was “politically open”; the idea of ​​confiscation of foreign assets of the Central Bank of Russia. He pointed out that this topic is already being discussed among the countries of the European Union and the G7. At the same time, the minister noted that even in the case of Russian oligarchs, one should remember the rule of law and carefully study the legislation on the issue of confiscation of private assets.

The European Union intends on May 30 to decide on the formation of a fund for the reconstruction of UkraineRebuildUkraine, it will be created on the basis of grants and loans of an indefinite amount, modeled on the existing fund for the recovery of the EU after the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters wrote with reference to the draft conclusions of European countries.

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As indicated by the agency, the EU is studying the possibility of using frozen Russian assets as sources of financing for this project.

“The European Council welcomes the efforts made to ensure appropriate confiscation measures, including options for further study aimed at using the frozen Russian assets to support the restoration of Ukraine»,— said in the body of the document.

By early April, European countries froze the assets of the Russians €29.5 billion, including ships, helicopters, real estate and works of art, reported to the European Commission.

The Russian Ministry of Finance said that about $300 billion of the Central Bank's gold and foreign exchange reserves were frozen . This amount was about half of the regulator's total reserves.

According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the restoration of the country will require $600 billion. Kyiv is preparing a large-scale plan for this process, he said, but the country needs international support, which will become an analogue of the Marshall plan. At the same time, the head of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Werner Hoyer, considered that “not millions, but trillions” would have to be spent on the restoration of Ukraine. euro.

In mid-May, Politico sources reported that the European Commission was preparing a legal rule that would make it a crime to circumvent sanctions and confiscate assets frozen due to sanctions, including — Russians. The interlocutors of the newspaper indicated that the measure is aimed at harmonizing legislation, since there is a “legal confusion”; among European countries on the legality of sanctions circumvention. “The discussion about whether these funds were sent to Ukraine continues,” — said one of Politico's sources.

Later, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said that lawyers are working to find options for using blocked assets in order to restore Ukraine. “I think that Russia should also make its contribution,” — she said.

Russian authorities have criticized the arrests of the assets of Russian businessmen. “These are absolutely honest legal entrepreneurs. They were robbed. They got robbed like they did in the Wild West with a Smith & Wesson robbed travelers»,— I am sure the representative of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov. He called the possible confiscation of Russian assets “illegal, blatant”; decision, noting that Moscow would have to respond.

The US Treasury also pointed out that the confiscation of the assets of the Russian Central Bank from a legal point of view would be illegal. “Given the massive destruction in Ukraine and the massive rebuilding costs they will face, we will look to Russia to help pay at least some of the cost,” Minister Janet Yellen added at the same time.

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