Russia offers EU solution to asset freeze
Moscow is ready to allow EU investors to use their funds which are blocked in Russia to purchase Russian assets that have been frozen by the EU. The proposal was made by the Bank of Russia on Wednesday.
Earlier this week, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told President Vladimir Putin that the proposed swap is aimed at unblocking $1.1 billion, mostly owned by retail investors, of nearly $16 billion in holdings that are owned by 3.5 million Russians and are frozen in the EU.
“The volume of assets that are meant for unblocking will be limited at the initial stage,” the press office of the central bank told Russian business daily RBK, adding that at first the opportunity to buy the Russian frozen assets would be given to retail investors.
According to the regulator, foreign investors will be able to use funds that are currently held in so-called C-type accounts, while participating in the process will be voluntary.
Moscow has yet to release further details of the proposed deal, which according to the finance minister and the central bank will be outlined in a decree to be signed by Putin.
Brussels is not aware of the proposal, four senior EU officials told the Financial Times on Wednesday, adding that no talks had been initiated on a potential asset swap.
Nearly €200 billion of Russian assets has been frozen by Ukraine-related sanctions at Euroclear, the world’s biggest settlement house – €180 billion of which are Russian central bank reserves, according to the Belgian government.
The European Commission has been attempting to find legal ways to use the immobilized Russian funds to ‘rebuild’ Ukraine. Among the options is using the interest generated by the assets held in EU financial institutions. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in June that Brussels would prepare a legal proposal on the transfer of Russian assets.
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