On Monday, November 21, the Politico newspaper, citing a document from the European Commission (EU government) that came into its possession, reported that the EC is studying in detail the legal possibilities for confiscation of public and private assets of Russia that ended up in the West. According to the document, the EC’s goal is “to identify ways to trace, identify, freeze and manage assets as preliminary measures for their possible confiscation.” That is, talk about the withdrawal of money from Russia and its citizens in Western banks has moved into a practical plane. The West began to work out the legal grounds for such a move. The action is justified by the need to pay the costs of restoring Ukraine.
As we remember, on October 25, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, at a press conference in Berlin, said that the EU’s goal is not to freeze, but to confiscate Russian assets in Europe. But for this, it is necessary to prepare a legal framework, so the EU still has a lot of work to do. At the same time, von der Leyen cited several times the World Bank estimate, according to which the restoration of Ukraine will require more than 350 billion euros.
The value of confiscated Russian assets could amount to just 300-350 billion. This figure includes the frozen funds of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, as well as individuals and legal entities included in the EU sanctions lists.
Russia has repeatedly stated through the mouths of high-ranking officials that the confiscation of Russian assets is unacceptable and very close to open robbery. There were hints, however, not very active, of mirror measures in the form of the withdrawal of assets from Western companies in Russia. Now this option is already unlikely, since the departed companies have mostly disposed of their property in Russia or are about to do so.
And last week Andrey Kutepov, head of the Federation Council committee on economic policy, sent a letter to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Grigorenko proposing to freeze the assets of major Russian entrepreneurs who left the country after February 24. According to Kutepov, such measures should be applied primarily to the owners of enterprises that were acquired as part of privatization, as well as to the heads of development institutions or state corporations. An opaque allusion, first of all, to Anatoly Chubais, who fled Russia, the former head of Rosnano and the “father of Russian privatization.”
“Against the background of actions taken by unfriendly countries to identify assets (including property) of Russian billionaires in the territories of these states, arrests of such assets (freezing), we believe that it is necessary to consider the application of similar measures in relation to such persons who left Russia with February 24, and even more so to those persons who have renounced Russian citizenship, ”the senator’s letter says.
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It is also proposed to withdraw dividends, charge additional taxes on completed transactions and allocate these funds to finance “unprofitable development institutions” (obviously, to Rosnano? – Trud), as well as to NVO, the restoration of the Crimean bridge, communal and road transport infrastructure in areas in the war zone.
That is, we are invited to respond to their theft in a mirror way. Moreover, on both sides, the confiscation is seen as a political principle – the seizure of ideological opponents. And for the time being, it is proposed not to touch “their own”. On the one hand, it seems to be not very legal and not humane. Well, we are talking about a response to the actions of a belligerent enemy … And for this we are proposing to create a legal framework.
Obviously, this is a kind of trial balloon. Far from being an ordinary legislator, he sent a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister, who is also responsible for the defense complex, in order to find out the reaction of the government, and at the same time the society. Society reacted rather poorly to this. But the lobbyists of the oligarchs are right there. “I think this decision is absolutely illogical. We should probably look at the behavior of people, how they speak abroad, how they behave, whether they have crossed certain red lines in the political sense. But this may be the work of the Federation Council, the Duma, or some other bodies. As for the economic fabric, to take and cut out those who left from there, and it is absolutely incomprehensible for what reasons – this is a blow to our own economy and to the employment of our own people,”
As for employment, it is Mr. Yurgens who is disingenuous, it will not suffer in any way if the assets become the property of the state. After all, enterprises will continue to work, while it becomes possible to look at pricing from a different point of view, especially for critical goods.
Kutepov’s proposals have not yet been shaped into a bill. By stirring up this topic, the top may want to show that they remember the request for a revision of privatization, which probably persists in society. According to some data, by the end of 2003 (the end of the most powerful wave of distribution of state property into private hands), the number of privatized enterprises amounted to 145,000. From 1992 to 2006, the treasury received a total of 505.9 billion rubles from privatization ($34 billion at the current exchange rate). Sheer pennies. As a result, the state lost its position in key strategic sectors, an effective owner was not created, and many important enterprises were simply destroyed.
In 2004, the Accounts Chamber prepared a note on the results of privatization in Russia. The presence of a huge number of violations during its implementation, and the failure of the new owners to comply with the conditions of privatization transactions was recognized, and the damage incurred by the state was assessed. It was offered either to the new owners to cover the damage, or to return the objects of privatization, or to do both. However, the recommendations of the Accounts Chamber were not implemented. These grounds can now be used in relation to “foreign” owners. Meanwhile, the State Duma has begun considering a bill providing for the confiscation of the property of cyber criminals. Including those who, using “social engineering”, defraud funds from older citizens. As you know, the number of frauds in the credit and financial sector last year increased by 62.5%. The new bill will reportedly allow compensation for damages from cybercrime. However, all this is so far projections.
And at this time
The Prosecutor General’s Office confiscated corruption assets from another FSB officer, Vladislav Kulyukin, who profited from the use of his official position. His parents, Mikhail and Tatyana Kulyukins, who previously served in the FSB, were found by law enforcement officers to have 385 accounts containing 150 million rubles, which did not correspond to their official income. Kulyukin Jr. had 10 accounts with unearned income. They were also taken away.
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And here’s another. According to the prosecutor’s office of the Krasnoyarsk Territory, since the introduction of the provision on the confiscation of vehicles in the event of a repeated malicious violation in the Criminal Code in July this year, 20 vehicles have already been confiscated. They belong to drivers who were disqualified for driving while intoxicated and had relapsed into driving.
So maybe this is the most practical direction of confiscation? At least there is no politics and desire, as it has already been in our history, to divide what has been taken away, but there is a clear desire to deprive criminals of the means of crime.