Not legal for US to seize Russian assets: US Treasury official
A US official warns against the US violating international law and the US Constitution by seizing the frozen assets of Russia’s central bank.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said, on Wednesday, that “it would not be legal for the United States to seize the frozen assets of Russia’s central bank to pay for the reconstruction of war-torn Ukraine.”
Furthermore, Yellen estimated that $300 billion in Russian central bank assets have been frozen since the war in Ukraine at a news conference before the start of the G7 finance ministers and central bank meetings in Bonn, Germany.
"It's very natural that given the enormous destruction in Ukraine and the huge building costs that they will face that we all look to use some of that [frozen assets to help pay at least a portion of the price that will be involved," Yellen added.
She concluded by saying, "That said ... it would not be legal now in the US or for the government to seize those assets. It's not something that is legally permissible in the United States and other countries have, you know, legal issues around it as well."
In the event of an international crisis, the International Economic Emergency Powers Act of 1977 allows only freezing, not selling, foreign property. This act was passed by Congress to replace the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917, which gave the US president far more authority to take action against US adversaries in and out of war.
Since then, the United States has frequently used the power to seize foreign individuals' or nations' assets using different pretexts.
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Fate of Russian assets in EU to be decided according to law: European Commission
The fate of Russian assets in the European Union will be decided according to the law of the countries that hold those assets, European Commission Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis said on Wednesday.
"Talking about private assets there is freeze and ceased task force working within European commission, coordinating with work of member states on identifying assets of the sanctioned persons and entities freezing those assets, taking some steps toward seizure and potentially confiscation. It has to be done on a basis of criminal law of the country, where the assets are located," Dombrovskis told a press conference.