Updated December 21st, 2023 at 11:02 IST
Germany to seize more than $790 mn from Russian financial group
Germany authorities have put freeze on Russian assets in response to Moscow's Ukraine invasion.
Germany-based Prosecutors have said that they won't move to confiscate more than 720 million euros ($790 million) from the Frankfurt bank account of a Russian financial institution, marking the country's first such attempt.
The authorities in Germany have previously moved to freeze Russian assets in response to Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, but had not confiscated the money. A person privy with the matter said that the institution was the National Settlement Depository (NSD), the domestic payments agent owned by Moscow Exchange (MOEX.MM) which plays an important role in Russia's financial system as a key intermediary with international markets. Neither the NSD, nor the Moscow Exchange immediately responded to requests for comment by email and telephone. The Russian embassy in Berlin was not immediately available for comment.
European Union's Official Journal's filing in September showed the NSD had demanded that the bloc recognised sanctions imposed on it as illegal and pay for any legal costs. In a statement, the German prosecutors said that the move was prompted by a suspected attempt to breach EU sanctions on June 3, 2022. Unidentified officials from the institution sought to withdraw 720 million euros from its Frankfurt bank account, a transaction that was rejected, the statement said.
Prosecutors said they had therefore filed a motion before a court in Frankfurt on July 7 this year requesting "independent confiscation proceedings". "We will not allow Russian money, with which the illegal attack on Ukraine is being financed, to remain unchecked in German accounts," German Justice Minister Marco Buschmann wrote on social media platform X. Authorities in Germany did not reveal how they plan to use the money or whether it would be used to help Ukraine fund its reconstruction. Asked if it could be used to soften the blow of a court ruling last month to Germany's own financial plans, a government spokesperson replied: "no". ($1 = 0.9119 euros)
(With Reuters inputs)
Published December 20th, 2023 at 22:26 IST