Cyprus freezes Russian assets worth more than 1.5 billion euros

The Cyprus finance ministry has stated that it froze over €1.5 billion in Russian assets, contrary to reports that assets worth €104 million had been frozen. The European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, had commented on the seemingly low figure, stating that other EU member states had frozen between €2-4 billion of Russian assets of sanctioned individuals. One reason behind the differing numbers could be that the EU did not have the latest statistics.

Reynders also expressed concern over Cyprus’ investor citizenship scheme, and the fact that its legal basis has not yet been repealed. Additionally, over 400 companies in Cyprus have been inactive since the US and UK sanctions hit the island, and bank accounts have also been frozen. Companies that have connections to the ownership of a sanctioned individual or entity have also been affected. The department of registrar of companies has been inundated by requests from firms seeking to restructure themselves in a bid to rid themselves of any connection with sanctioned individuals or entities.

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