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EU has frozen 30 bn euros in Russian, Belarusian assets

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A total of 29.5 billion euros ($32 billion) has been seized “including assets such as ships, helicopters, real estate and works of art” and other transactions worth 196 billion euros have been blocked, the European Commission said in a statement.

The EU figures were partial, based on data from around half of the 27 EU member states provided to the bloc’s “Freeze and Seize” working group that operates in coordination with G7 partners, including the US. .

The blacklisting of individuals and companies is part of waves of harsh sanctions imposed by the EU, US and G7 countries since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, carried out in part from Belarusian territory.

They have been repeatedly expanded, including on Friday in the EU’s fifth sanctions package, which also includes a ban on Russian coal imports and expanded financial sanctions and trade restrictions.

The EU and US have said they will aggressively pursue and seize the assets of those on their blacklists, who are seen as benefiting from the Kremlin and contributing to its war effort.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and, as of this week, his two adult daughters are in them, along with oligarchs, businessmen and influential politicians, including Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and their relatives.

Oligarchs’ superyachts have been prominent assets, with several seized in the EU, while others have been sailed outside the jurisdictional reach of G7 sanctions.

Luxury properties in posh corners of the EU and Britain have also fallen online.

In many cases, determining ownership is a difficult task for authorities, given the tax smokescreens used by the ultra-rich, such as shell companies, trusts and proxies.

For this reason, the EU and the US have established specific working groups to collect information and coordinate.

The commission said a joint meeting of the EU and US working groups will take place later on Friday, with the participation of Ukrainian officials.

The next meeting of the EU working group will be in two weeks.

“In light of the atrocities committed by the Russian military, it is more urgent than ever to strengthen our cooperation within the EU and with our international partners, including the US and Ukraine, and step up our efforts to stop the financing of the war. of the Kremlin. machine,” EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said in the statement.

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