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28 Nov, 2023 14:26

Russian assets could be confiscated under new EU sanctions – media

Member states will be able to seize assets if the owners refuse to sell, Finnish news agency STT reports
Russian assets could be confiscated under new EU sanctions – media

The new package of EU sanctions on Moscow could allow member states to expropriate property belonging to sanctioned Russians that refuse to sell it, Finnish news agency STT reported on Tuesday.

The assets could reportedly be unblocked for six months to allow their owners to list the EU-based possessions for sale.

The regulations, which may be included in the 12th package of sanctions currently being debated by EU lawmakers, are expected to help Finnish authorities take control of Helsinki’s biggest sports and events arena.

Helsinki Halli (formerly Hartwall Arena), belonging to Russian businessmen Gennady Timchenko, Arkady Rotenberg, and Boris Rotenberg, has been shut since the end of February 2022 because of sanctions against its billionaire owners. Authorities in the Finnish capital have complained that they are losing over €100 million (around $110 million) a year due to the inability to use the venue.

In September, Timchenko’s Finnish case manager, Kai Paananen, told the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper that the arena’s owners had given their permission to sell the venue.

Last week, Finnish tabloid Ilta-Sanomat cited sources in the country’s Foreign Ministry as saying that Helsinki would accelerate attempts to confiscate the assets of the three Russian businessmen if they rule out selling them. The nationalization process is reportedly expected to start in early 2024.

In April, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree establishing a mechanism to temporarily take over foreign assets in Russia, in the event that other countries seize Russian private or government property based in their jurisdictions, or threaten the national, energy, or economic security of the country.

Billions of euros’ worth of state assets and property belonging to Russian business people and officials have been frozen in the EU since last year, as part of a sanctions campaign against Moscow over its military operation in Ukraine.

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