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France freezes Russian Central Bank’s assets worth 22 bln euro, says minister

Property totally worth "half a billion euro" owned by around 30 Russians have also been frozen on French territory

PARIS, March 20. /TASS/. The French authorities have frozen the funds of the Bank of Russia worth 22 bln euro, as well as accounts and property of individuals sanctioned by western countries, France’s Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire said in live broadcast of the RTL radio station on Sunday.

"We have frozen the assets of the Russian Central Bank worth 22 bln euro. We have also frozen funds on accounts of individuals in French enterprises worth 150 mln euro," he said. Property totally worth "half a billion euro" owned by around 30 Russians have also been frozen on French territory, and two yachts totally worth 150 mln euro have been detained, the minister added.

"Since we established a center that unites the efforts of hundreds of employees of the TRACFIN financial intelligence service, the treasury, customs and the Public Finances Directorate for the first time in the history of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, we have managed to unveil and freeze the assets of Russian tycoons totally worth 1.8 bln euro on French territory apart from the Russian Central Bank’s 22 bln euro," he said.

The freezing of property does not imply disposal to the advantage of the state, Le Maire noted. The issue is about making sure that its owners cannot resell it or use it for gaining profit, he explained.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on February 24 that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in Ukraine, stressing that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories. Western countries responded to the actions of the Russian authorities by slapping sanctions, both personal and sectoral, particularly concerning the state debt and Russia’s banking sector, whereas many private companies have decided to suspend operations in Russia or fully withdraw from Russian projects and refuse investing in them.