Brussels outlines plans to boost EU powers to seize oligarchs’ assets
The European Commission is set to boost its powers to seize the assets of oligarchs, after the bloc struggled to confiscate assets due to safeguards built into EU countries’ laws.
The EU’s executive arm has outlined plans to boost its powers to take control of criminals’ assets, with a view to making it possible to confiscate the assets, which could then be sold and given to Ukraine.
The plans come as the EU’s ‘freeze and seize’ strategy has failed in recent months as member states have struggled to take control of French Riviera villas owned by the sanctioned super-rich .
Laws in member states, including France and Germany, prevented the EU from freezing and prevented the task force from confiscating assets even after they were frozen.
The situation means that the oligarchs can continue to use their luxury superyachts, even if they cannot sell or rent them.
In April, EU countries froze €30 billion in assets, including villas, yachts and works of art belonging to sanctioned individuals and entities linked to Russia and Belarus.
Brussels’ plans would also make it a crime to circumvent sanctions in any EU member state, to ensure that all “loopholes” are closed inside the EU.
The new laws would standardize sanctions across the EU and, in turn, make it easier for the EU itself to investigate, prosecute and punish those who evade sanctions in member states.