On the 29th of March 2022, during a joint meeting of the Finance and Budget Committee and the Justice Committee at the Luxembourg Parliament, Finance Minister Yuriko Backes and Justice Minister Sam Tanson gave an update on the implementation of the restrictive measures taken by the European Union in response to Russia's military aggression against Ukraine.
The Minister of Finance recalled in this context that an inter-institutional committee in charge of monitoring restrictive measures in financial matters, was created in 2010 and that in Luxembourg all operators are responsible for the implementation of restrictive measures.
Luxembourg authorities have already frozen Russian assets worth €2.5 billion
In terms of figures, Yuriko Backes noted that to date Luxembourg operators have been able to freeze the assets of sanctioned individuals and entities for an amount of nearly 2.5 billion euros and that no request for the lifting of financial restrictive measures has been filed to date.
Hence, the frozen assets represent a significant amount, compared, for example, to Iran's frozen assets in Luxembourg which amount to 1.8 billion euros - although the sanctions have been in force since 2011. Furthermore, Libyan assets have been frozen in the amount of 3 billion euros - since 2006.
86 Luxembourg identified companies linked to 11 different individuals appearing on the sanctions list
Minister of Justice Sam Tanson gave details on the issue of seizure of assets and the legal modalities for criminal seizure and forfeiture. Indeed, she pointed out that these measures are independent of the sanctions mechanism against Russia.
Freezing of assets, according to Luxembourg law, means any action aimed at preventing the use of economic resources to obtain funds, goods or services of any kind, including their sale, rental or mortgage. Therefore, neither funds nor economic resources of sanctioned individuals can be made available to them, although it is not possible to forfeit assets hit by international sanctions.
Finally, the Minister of Justice also indicated that the Luxembourg Business Registers (LBR) has, at the request of the Ministry of Finance, identified the companies registered in the Luxembourg Register of Commerce and Companies (RCS) in which individuals mentioned in the sanctions lists are registered. According to the LBR, 86 companies were identified as having ties with 11 different sanctioned individuals, allowing consequently the Ministry of Finance to verify the effectiveness of the implementation of sanctions.
Yuriko Backes concluded by stating that "the EU's sanctions regime against Russia is producing tangible results in Luxembourg."