Bottom of EU sanctions: Malta is hesitant to take action against oligarchs

More than 1,200 people and 118 companies have been sanctioned in the EU since the start of the Russian war of aggression.

Bottom of EU sanctions: Malta is hesitant to take action against oligarchs

More than 1,200 people and 118 companies have been sanctioned in the EU since the start of the Russian war of aggression. The member states proceed with different zeal.

EU member states have frozen assets of Russian oligarchs and companies worth 18.9 billion euros as part of sanctions. According to EU statistics, Belgium leads with frozen assets worth 3.5 billion euros, followed by Luxembourg with 2.5 billion euros, Italy with 2.3 billion and Germany with 2.2 billion.

Ireland, Austria, France and Spain have also each frozen more than €1 billion worth of Russian assets, according to data reported up to November 25. Malta, which issues controversial "golden passports" to wealthy investors, bottoms the list with €146,558 seized. "Golden passports" are citizenships and residence permits that an EU state grants to wealthy non-EU foreigners in return for investment commitments. Shortly after the Russian attack on Ukraine, Malta suspended grants to Russian citizens.

The European Union has repeatedly imposed unprecedented sanctions on Russia since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. A total of 1,241 people and 118 entities are subject to EU sanctions for their role in the war in Ukraine. These sanctions also include asset freezes and travel bans to the EU.

The EU Commission reminded the member states in a letter on Thursday that the freezing of assets of sanctioned persons and organizations and the provision of data on them are mandatory. "However, the information provided and the frequency of updates varies from Member State to Member State," the letter reads. "This undermines our joint efforts."

At their October 20-21 summit, EU leaders called on the Commission to examine how frozen Russian assets could be used to help Ukraine rebuild. On November 30, the Commission presented corresponding proposals.

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