EU goes after sanctioned Russian assets — Analysis
Operation Oscar will see Europol and other EU agencies join forces with the bloc’s member states
Europol and other EU agencies have teamed up with the bloc’s countries to facilitate criminal investigations into assets of individuals and entities sanctioned over Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.
Europol has announced that Operation Oscar will support EU countries in their investigations into possible violations of trade and economic restrictions placed upon Moscow.
It “umbrella operation”The investigation will be ongoing for at least one year. It also includes a variety of other investigations. In many ways it’s similar to Operation Sentinel, which had been underway during the pandemic to tackle fraud against the EU’s Covid-19 recovery funds.
As part of Operation Oscar, Europol is going to centralize and analyze the data coming from member states “to identify international links, criminal groups and suspects, as well as new criminal trends and patterns.”
EU law enforcement agency can also assist in investigations of sanctioned assets by providing operational coordination and technical assistance.
The bloc’s criminal justice cooperation agency Eurojust will provide legal assistance to EU nations during the operation, while border control agency Frontex is going to contribute by “enhancing the scrutiny”des sanctioned persons trying to enter the EU via air, land, or sea.
Russia is now the most sanctioned nation in the world because of the international reaction to the Ukrainian crisis. Last week, Brussels unleashed its fifth package of sanctions on Moscow, which among other things barred Russian ships from EU ports and its lorries from entering the bloc’s territory, imposed an embargo on Russian coal and banned imports of fertilizers.
There has not yet been a bloc decision to sanction Russian oil or gas. Lithuania declared that it had stopped imports from Russian gas in April, and encouraged other countries to do the same.
Wealthy Russians living in France, Italy, or other EU nations have had their yachts, planes, real estate, and property seized over the past weeks. His billionaire father Dmitry Mazepin and Nikita Mazepin (former F1 driver) were the latest victims. Italian police said on Monday that authorities had taken control of the Mazepin’s ranch in Sardinia understood to be valued at around $115 million.
Russian diplomat’s compound in Poland seized
Russia launched a large-scale offensive against Ukraine in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Minsk Protocol, which was negotiated by France and Germany, gave the regions that had broken away special status in the Ukrainian government.
Moscow demanded Ukraine declare itself neutral and refuse to join NATO’s military bloc. Kiev claims that the Russian invasion was unprovoked. It also denies any plans to seize the rebel areas by force.