Germany seizes first Russian-owned property under sanctions

Picture Alliance/Frank Hoermann/SVEN SIMON Munich prosecutors have become the first in Germany to seize Russian assets belonging to individuals who have been sanctioned by the United States and other Western governments.

Prosecutors in Germany have seized several apartments belonging to a Russian lawmaker in the first case of its kind. Others have been frozen, but that’s all we know about them so far. As part of an investigation into a Russian politician and his wife, German law enforcement officials have taken over three private apartments in Munich, as well as a bank account.

According to senior prosecutor Anne Leiding, “as far as we know, this is the first case in Germany where sanctions have not only ‘frozen’ assets, but actual real estate has been seized.”

In support of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call to recognize the Ukrainian breakaway regions calling themselves the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states, the sanctioned individual, identified by the prosecution as L., voted in the Duma.

Since 23 February, L. has been subject to EU sanctions. Both the husband and the wife are being investigated by Bavarian authorities for violating sanctions.

The government has reduced rental income.

The couple’s bank account was also hacked. E3,500 ($3,681) per month was deposited into the account to pay rent to the property owners.

While the tenants of the seized properties will be allowed to remain in their residences, they will be required to pay their rent to the district court in Munich directly.

In early May, the Bavarian finance and justice ministries communicated that the property owner was on the EU sanctions list, prompting an investigation.

Russian assets worth up to E4.5 billion (central bank deposits, shares in companies, ships and yachts) have been frozen by Germany’s Finance Minister Christian Lindner.

The EU has imposed sanctions on those who support the Kremlin.

After Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, the EU and other countries imposed sanctions on Russian businesses and banks as well as individual Russian citizens.

Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, sanctions were first imposed, but since then, additional sanctions have been imposed.

As a way to pressure the Kremlin to end the war, Russian lawmakers and oligarchs have been targeted.

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich sold Chelsea FC earlier this year in a high-profile incident that drew international attention.

a/msh abbreviation (dpa, AFP)

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