The European Union will obtain sweeping powers with its new Russia sanctions package, allowing it to pursue persons both inside and outside the EU who assist in evading the bloc’s restrictive sanctions, reports Bloomberg.
The package approved by member states last week includes the authority to name “natural or legal persons, entities, or bodies” who aid in the circumvention of EU sanctions.
“The introduction of an extra-territorial dimension to its sanctions toolkit — through restrictive measures that target people and entities outside the bloc’s jurisdiction that help Europeans evade its prohibitions — would indicate a major policy shift, according to people familiar with the scope of the regulation,” states Bloomberg.
The sanctions might be levied on people who, for instance, import restricted Russian goods into the EU through a third country, concealing their actual origin, or export illegal things to Moscow.
“It could also potentially allow the bloc to sanction EU citizens who are helping others to dodge the restrictions, said the people who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to talk about the measure,” claims Bloomberg.
The law passed last week states that the EU determined it was essential to implement measures to target individuals and businesses that it believes are likely contributing to the instability of Ukraine by evading its sanctions.
The policy would undoubtedly have a “deterrent effect” on people and businesses headquartered in the EU who would find it difficult to do business with any firm or person that has been sanctioned, reports Bloomberg.
“We will be able to list individuals if they circumvent our sanctions,” European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen said. “If they buy goods in the European Union, bring them to third countries and then to Russia — this would be a circumvention of our sanctions, and those individuals could be listed.”
“In a separate move to beef up its powers, the commission is working on legislation that would allow sanctioned assets to be seized. Current rules see assets frozen making it costly to manage them and difficult to use or dispose of. The legal ability to seize assets could open the door to sanctioned assets being used to contribute to Ukraine’s postwar reconstruction,” highlights Bloomberg.
“The commission’s goal is to boost EU nations’ powers to seize criminal assets. Including those of sanctioned Russian individuals and entities, by extending the list of crimes such as money-laundering and corruption to include the violation of EU sanctions,” Bloomberg claims.