Germany is hosting a meeting of G7 finance ministers this week, and Berlin’s finance chief, Christian Lindner, has told four European news organizations that he is ready to consider forfeiting the Russian Central Bank’s assets. But he cautioned that confiscating the assets of ordinary citizens, such as a Russian oligarch, could be more complicated legally.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said, in a Facebook video posted over the weekend, that the idea of transferring confiscated Russian assets to Kyiv was gaining momentum among the G7, a grouping of economic powers.
“This is literally about hundreds of billions of euros,” he said.
Russia has stockpiled its reserves domestically and in friendly countries after its 2014 annexation of Crimea, but its finance minister said Moscow had lost access to just under half of its $640 billion in foreign reserves. Its ability to make use of these funds was quickly cut off as part of an international sanctions program after the February 24 invasion of Ukraine.
Moscow’s inability to use its foreign money created challenges for its central bank, which imposed capital controls to prevent a run on the Russian ruble. (It recently relaxed some restrictions on foreign currency transfers.)
like an invasion destroys the ukrainian economyCalls are growing to use frozen Russian assets to help rebuild Kyiv. Last month, President Biden I suggest allowing Washington to liquidate assets Russian oligarchs donate the proceeds to Ukraine. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told lawmakers in April that the Biden administration was also considering how to legally use Russian state funds frozen in the United States to rebuild Ukraine.
But these proposals raised concerns among some International Law Expertswho warned that the administration could not allocate Russian money because the Kremlin did not attack the United States directly. Civil liberties advocates He also says that due process rights can be infringed if the individuals targeted cannot challenge the confiscation in court.
The United States has seized frozen foreign assets in the past, although sending money for the use of a third party country is unusual. The Trump administration made the frozen Venezuelan assets available to an opposition figure recognized by Washington as the country’s legitimate leader, while the administration of George W. Bush Confiscation of Iraqi funds to finance reconstruction there After the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime. The Supreme Court also has American victims of terrorism allowed To gain access to frozen Iranian state funds.
Recently, Biden announce In February it planned to allocate $3.5 billion of frozen Afghan reserves for humanitarian and other aid in Afghanistan. Another $3.5 billion will go to families of 9/11 victims who have legal claims against the Taliban.
Karen Deong and Annabelle Chapman contributed to this report.
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