MEPs propose auctioning off Russian assets, transferring funds to Ukraine

MEPs propose auctioning off Russian assets, transferring funds to Ukraine

Russian assets, frozen in the European Union, that can be used by Ukraine must be handed over to the embattled country, while the rest must be sold at auctions, with the proceeds being transferred to the Ukrainian budget.

That’s according to Guildhall, Ukrinform reports.

"We have to be very frank considering the Russian war against Ukraine as an international crime, everyone who is involved in and continues to make war decisions, who supports (the war - ed.) by information, financially, or even morally, everyone is responsible. And it's not just about political responsibility or moral responsibility, the imposing of sanctions and marginalization -- it's about financial accountability. And financial accountability legally means that Russian citizens, state officials, have to pay, to pay with their wealth, for the damage, for the crimes committed by their leadership, they will pay with their investments that they’ve already made in Western countries," Lithuanian Member of the European Parliament Petras Aušträvičius said in a comment to Guildhall.

"Those frozen Russian assets in Europe have to be very well calculated and really taken under the control by each state in whose territory the asset is located, then I believe they have to be auctioned and sold to those who are interested in the market. If there are some physical assets that could be directly used by Ukrainian side, then they must be transferred directly to the Ukrainе. The rest should be auctioned in a particular country," summed up Pietras Auštävičius.

At the same time, Member of the European Parliament, member of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union, Michael Gahler, said Russian state assets seized in the European Union must be transferred to Ukraine as part of compensation and financing of reconstruction. Assets of illegal origin, owned by Russian oligarchs, should also be handed to Ukraine, as they are essentially state assets of the Russian Federation.

Read also: EU expands sanctions against Russia, targeting additional 54 individuals, 10 entities

Yes, many countries have already frozen Russian assets, but even where they are frozen, there is still a very large scale to work. Further, I hope we find the legal base to return them to Ukraine for reconstruction. There are two types of assets, those assets which state-owned, here I believe there won’t be any problems – whatever belongs to the state and state-owned Russian companies, all this money should be transferred to pay compensation to Ukraine for the damage, destruction, and crimes committed by the Russian Federation,” MEP said.

“The second type of assets is the oligarchs’ assets. Here I propose an approach similar to how they worked with the Italian mafia – let them prove the origin of this money, whether it is legal or stolen from Russian taxpayers. This should also be proven by the Russian state – a kind of reversed proof procedure should be applied. And if it's illegal money, which means it also belongs to the Russian state, in this case, I hope it can also be confiscated. Legal specialists must deal with the issue in order not to lose months of time,” said Gahler

Earlier, a member of the Swiss Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Nicholas Walder, commenting on the legal side of transferring to Ukraine the assets seized from Russia, said that Russian funds seized from criminals or sanctioned individuals and entities, the ones that are kept in Swiss banks, as well as in other Western countries, must be utilized by Ukraine.

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