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Belgium blocks Russian assets worth almost €200 billion

15:17 05/04/2022

Belgium has blocked financial transactions amounting to €196.4 billion in accordance with the economic and financial sanctions against Russia, according to figures from minister of finance Vincent Van Peteghem (CD&V).

The country is also withholding assets worth €2.7 billion, RTBF reports, meaning the total amount being blocked is nearly €200 billion.

Currently, assets of €2.7 billion are frozen in Belgium, which consists of assets belonging to 877 people and 62 entities on the European sanctions list and subject to freezing measures.

Belgian Customs is also running checks on the country’s ports, including the inspection of 23,191 containers. Of those, 20,601 containers were released after checks. An infringement was found on three containers containing luxury goods.

Currently, 1,436 transhipment containers are awaiting further inspection in the port of Antwerp. In the port of Zeebrugge, another 1,130 containers are awaiting inspection and 1,000 luxury vehicles intended for Russian buyers have already been blocked.

The goods blocked by Belgian customs are shipments from outside the European Union intended for Russian customers and sent for delivery prior to the imposition of sanctions. 

In addition to seizing goods, Belgium has blocked important financial transactions involving Russians, which amount to €196.4 billion and are the result of European sanctions aimed at preventing Russia from accessing international financial markets.

One potential reason for such high amounts in terms of transactions is the presence in Brussels of Euroclear, one of the world's leading companies specialising in the settlement of financial transactions in securities.

When contacted by RTBF editors, Euroclear did not disclose specific amounts, but did confirm that in line with its policy of respecting legislation, it has fully implemented the international sanctions against Russia. 

Photo: Courtesy Port of Antwerp

 

Written by Helen Lyons