Belgium blocks nearly €200 billion in Russian assets

Belgium blocks nearly €200 billion in Russian assets
Credit: Belga

In line with European sanctions on Russia, Belgium has blocked €196.4 billion in Russian financial transactions. Belgium's Federal Government has also frozen assets valued €2.7 billion, according to Belgian Minister of Finance Vincent Van Peteghem in a comment to RTBF.

€2.7 billion of assets, from 877 individuals and 62 entities identified by the European Union’s financial sanctions list, are currently being held by the Federal Government.

Belgium customs staff are working to ensure that goods do not slip through the net. In Belgium’s ports 23,191 containers have been checked, and 20,601 of these were released shortly afterwards. Three containers loaded with luxury goods bound for Russia have been seized.

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In the port of Zeebrugge, 1000 luxury vehicles intended for sale in Russia have been seized. Much of these assets are goods that have been purchased by Russian customers before the introduction of sanctions.

The most significant fraction of blocked assets, the nearly €197 billion in financial transactions, are part of the EU’s efforts to limit Russia’s access to international financial markets.

Brussels is home to Euroclear, one of the world’s largest financial securities transactions companies, which likely explains the large amount.

According to figures published by the National Bank of Belgium, between 2017-2019, imports of Russian goods accounted for, on average, 1.5% of Belgian GDP. The import of Russian goods to Belgium is estimated to be worth roughly €6.7 billion per year.

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