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Houses and apartments confiscated from Russian oligarchs should house refugees

Council of Europe member states should “identify and freeze” as many of the assets of Russian oligarchs subject to targeted sanctions for their responsibilities in the war of aggression launched against Ukraine by the Russian Federation, said the PACE Legal Affairs Committee.

In the Committee’s opinion, governments should provide for the use of suitable assets, in particular houses and apartments, for the reception of Ukrainian refugees. Also, they should reflect on the final usage that could be made of these assets once they will be confiscated definitively, since “these assets were stolen from the Russian people and should be returned to it”. As long as the current regime is in place, “the risk of renewed misappropriation of these assets is high”.

According to the Committee, the Russian Federation will be bound to compensate Ukraine for the damage caused by its war of aggression, which would open the way for “using these assets for partly offsetting the financial debt” of the Russian Federation vis-à-vis Ukraine.

The draft resolution, based on the report prepared by André Vallini (France, SOC), calls more generally for the social re-use of confiscated criminal assets, taking due account in the preparation of the relevant texts of the best practices identified in several Council of Europe member States, notably in Italy, the United Kingdom and Spain.

The text will be debated by the Parliamentary Assembly at its next plenary session (25 – 28 April 2022)