russia Must Pay: Experts Discussed the Effectiveness of Mechanisms for the Seizure and Confiscation of russian assets

The National Interests Advocacy Network “ANTS” together with the Ukrainian Bar Association, held a round table devoted to the issue of the effectiveness of the mechanisms of seizure and confiscation of assets of the russian federation.

The experts discussed the sanctions mechanism in Ukraine and its problematic points. The experts also focused attention on special mechanisms for the confiscation of russian assets in the USA and Canada, their prospects, and their ability to scale. In addition, they talked about the experience of 2014-2022, its importance in the process of confiscation of russian assets at this stage, and what new mechanisms of arrest and confiscation can be.

So, Andriy Pasichnyk talked about the practical problems that the National Agency on Corruption Prevention faces when taking measures aimed at confiscating russian assets in Ukraine.

“We are looking for evidence of direct or indirect ownership of assets by russian officials, oligarchs, civil servants, and politicians. The essence of this possession is that it does not directly belong to them. All the significant assets that we discovered on the territory of Ukraine are formally owned by a whole range of legal entities registered not in Ukraine but, as a rule, in offshore jurisdictions. This is the main problem that the Ministry of Justice is currently facing. We prepare all documents and evidence, hand them over to the Ministry of Justice, which is already preparing a lawsuit, submits a statement of claim to HACC, and the High Anti-Corruption Court examines the statement of claim and makes a decision on confiscation or refuses to confiscate such assets. Accordingly, there is a legal process with all the consequences. The relevant provisions contained in the lawsuits of the Ministry of Justice and the demands of the Ministry of Justice must be proven by evidence. And this procedure is determined by the practice of the ECtHR. Of course, when the legislation was adopted, first of all, attention was paid to the practice of the ECtHR so that the decisions of such a court in such cases would stand and Ukraine would not receive counterclaims and would not later compensate such persons. Accordingly, we try to find evidence that will be sufficient for the court to make an informed decision. So, the problem we face when looking for this evidence is that there are quite a large number of offshore jurisdictions whose registers of legal entities registered there are closed.”

Yaroslav Sydorovych, a member of the board of the “ANTS” Network, focused on asset management:

“It is clear that, for example, and yachts that are blocked must be maintained in some way, money must be spent on this. In addition, if some yachts have disappeared in some ports, then there is no responsibility for this. The fact that responsibility is prescribed in the 10th package of sanctions of the European Union but has not been implemented – yes, Estonia has implemented it, but other countries have not.

It is necessary to work out the legislation on hunters for russian assets. After all, many lawyers are now working on the dark side, protecting russian assets. We need to bring them to the bright side. They should receive quality remuneration for their professional work, and this is important. Don’t think that it is possible to do this by volunteering.”

In addition, according to him, Europeans should not be afraid; they should be brave like Ukrainians and adopt those decisions and laws that are necessary for russia to answer for all crimes.

Stefan Romaniv, Co-Chairman of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organizations and First Vice President of the Ukrainian World Congress, emphasized the importance of the public voice in solving key issues:

“We see that when it comes to helping Ukraine, this public voice is very necessary. …I think we have to do the best we can. I think there will be support from the Australian government. Can’t say clearly, but we will be knocking on doors. We have already started talking about these cases with the Minister of Justice, who also says: give us information, what others are doing, give us some guidance, how and what you think. Your work group is very important for this. I want to emphasize that Ukraine must play a key role here. It is the same as with the issue of war crimes. Therefore, I wish success to the representative of the Ukrainian World Congress. We are ready for cooperation.”

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