More Russian money and property seized in Europe

Assets worth $1.7 billion frozen in Italy and the Netherlands

Italy and the Netherlands have frozen assets worth $1.7 billion belonging to Russian citizens, in line with the bloc’s sanctions against their country, the media reported on Tuesday.

Italy seized assets worth over $882 million (€800 million) belonging to wealthy Russians on the EU blacklists, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Tuesday, after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the Italian parliament via video link, ANSA news agency has reported.

Earlier this month, the Italian government said it had frozen Russian assets worth around €140 million ($154 million). Among the seized equities were two yachts belonging to billionaires Alexei Mordashov and Gennady Timchenko, and several properties worth €28 million belonging to other individuals. Later, the government also reported a seizure of what is said to be the largest private sailing-assisted motor yacht in the world, a $580-million vessel linked to Russian businessman Andrei Melnichenko.

In a separate development, the Netherlands also announced a freeze of more Russian assets on Tuesday. As of March 21, the Netherlands has frozen nearly €392 million in Russian assets and transactions, Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag wrote in a letter to the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament.

According to the letter published on the website of the Dutch government, the largest part, €242 million, constitutes assets placed with trust offices. Nearly €145 million was frozen in banks and almost €4 million in asset management firms. Nearly €380,000 has been frozen in pensions.

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Russian treasure hunt task force set up by the West

Last week, the Netherlands reported a seizure of €200 million in Russian property. Dutch newspaper the Financieele Dagblad (fd.nl) says its investigation revealed the Netherlands hosts more than €80 billion in Russian assets.

EU sanctions against Russia over its conflict with Ukraine have targeted more than 500 Russian individuals or entities, whose assets and financial resources are subject to seizures as EU countries locate them and trace them to their owners. The EU, together with its allies the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, and the UK, established a task force specifically for that purpose.

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