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US and EU reportedly lost track of $200 billion in ‘frozen’ Russian funds


https://sputniknews.com/20221206/us-eu-reportedly-lose-track-of-200-billion-in-frozen-russian-funds-1105106839.html

US and EU reportedly lost track of $200 billion in ‘frozen’ Russian funds

US and EU reportedly lost track of $200 billion in ‘frozen’ Russian funds

Western countries froze much of the Russian Central Bank’s emergency reserve cushion in February in a bid to punish Moscow for its military operation… 06.12.2022, Sputnik International

2022-12-06T13:59+0000

2022-12-06T13:59+0000

2022-12-06T13:59+0000

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The United States and its European allies are struggling to locate two-thirds or more of the Russian assets it froze earlier this year “because they don’t know exactly where they are”, financial expert Charles Lichfield senior at the Atlantic Council,* Speaking to Estonian media, Lichfield, deputy director of the Washington-based think tank’s GeoEconomics Center and an expert on Russia’s central banking system, said Western countries have actually seized nearly $80-100 billion, not $300 billion, as has been widely reported. Lichfield explained that the “freezing” of Russian assets forced foreign banks not to authorize their transfer to Russia, or risk losing their ability to transact in dollars and euros. However, some Asian and African banks may not have felt the need to respond to Western authorities’ requests for information about transactions involving Russia, he said. The US Treasury triumphantly announced in June that Washington and its allies had blocked or frozen some $300 billion in Russian state assets, plus $30 billion in assets of sanctioned individuals, including Russian tycoons. Last week, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, proposed creating a special structure to manage the assets and “invest” them. that Brussels could not simply seize Russian assets for use in Ukraine because the bloc adheres to the principle of state immunity. In the United States, officials have expressed similar hesitation. Lawmakers last month proposed a provision in the 2023 National Defense Authorization Bill to allow the transfer of Russian assets to Ukraine, but the idea was met with opposition amid fears that the idea was not “fully contentious”. freezing of assets as a form of “theft”. The West’s actions have also prompted Chinese regulators and banks to think about ways to protect their own assets hidden abroad if the United States and its allies oppose them as they have against them. Russia. Assets were previously estimated to make up nearly half of the country’s $640 billion reserve cushion. According to the Central Bank’s year-end report for 2021, most of its foreign exchange and gold was stored in China (16.8%), followed by France (9.9%), Japan (9.3%), United States (6.4%). ) Great Britain (5.1%), Canada (2.7%) and Australia (2.5%), of which more than 51% are thus located in states that have imposed sanctions on Moscow.* Referred to as “organization junk” by the Russian Ministry of Justice in 2019.

https://sputniknews.com/20221130/who-froze-russian-assets-abroad-and-what-might-happen-to-them-1104886435.html

https://sputniknews.com/20221130/moscow-will-retaliate-if-eu-confiscates-russian-assets-foreign-ministry-says-1104899894.html

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Western countries froze much of the Russian Central Bank’s emergency reserve cushion in February in a bid to punish Moscow for its military operation in Ukraine. Officials in Washington and Brussels have since wavered as to whether those funds could be seized outright and given to kyiv as “reparations.”

The United States and its European allies are struggling to locate two-thirds or more of the Russian assets it froze earlier this year “because they don’t know exactly where they are”, financial expert Charles Lichfield senior on the Atlantic Council, * said.

Speaking to Estonian media, Lichfield, deputy director of the Washington-based think tank’s GeoEconomics Center and an expert on Russia’s central banking system, said Western countries had actually seized between $80 billion and $100 billion, not $300 billion. billions of dollars, as has been widely reported.

Lichfield explained that the “freezing” of Russian assets forced foreign banks not to authorize their transfer to Russia, or risk losing their ability to transact in dollars and euros. However, some Asian and African banks may not have felt the need to respond to Western authorities’ requests for information about transactions involving Russia, he said.

The US Treasury triumphantly announced in June that Washington and its allies had blocked or frozen some $300 billion in Russian state assets, as well as $30 billion in assets of sanctioned individuals, including Russian tycoons.
Last week, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, proposed creating a special structure to manage the assets and “invest” them.
Who froze Russian assets abroad and what could happen to them?
However, EU officials have clarified to the media that Brussels cannot simply seize Russian assets for use in Ukraine, as the bloc adheres to the principle of state immunity.

In the United States, officials have expressed similar hesitation. Lawmakers last month proposed a provision in the 2023 National Defense Authorization Bill to allow the transfer of Russian assets to Ukraine, but the idea was met with opposition amid fears that the idea was not “fully argued”.

Russian officials have denounced the asset freeze as a form of “theft”.
The West’s actions have also prompted Chinese regulators and banks to consider ways to protect their own overseas assets should the United States and its allies oppose them as they have against the Russia.
View of the Kremlin - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.11.2022
Moscow will retaliate if EU confiscates Russian assets, Foreign Ministry says
It was previously estimated that Russia’s frozen assets made up nearly half of the country’s $640 billion reserve cushion. According to the Central Bank’s year-end report for 2021, most of its foreign exchange and gold was stored in China (16.8%), followed by France (9.9%), Japan (9.3%), United States (6.4%). ) Britain (5.1%), Canada (2.7%) and Australia (2.5%), with more than 51% thus located in states that imposed sanctions on Moscow.

* Designated an “undesirable organization” by the Russian Ministry of Justice in 2019.



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