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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government intends to seize US$26 million in sanctioned assets from Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, with proceeds from their forfeiture used to help reconstruct Ukraine and compensate victims of the war.
It marks the first time Canada is using a law that allows for sanctioned assets to be forfeited by a court order. Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said the country is the first in the Group of Seven to implement this measure against Russia.
The assets being targeted are held by Granite Capital Holdings Ltd., a company owned by Abramovich, according to a news release Monday from the foreign ministry. Joly told reporters the government seized a bank account containing company dividends.
Joly now has 30 days to make a court application to forfeit the assets permanently to the government.
“If forfeited, the proceeds that are generated will be able to be used for the reconstruction of Ukraine and compensation to victims of the Putin regime’s illegal and unjustifiable invasion,” the government said in the release.
The law allowing for this forfeiture was passed in June, but Joly told Bloomberg News last month that enforcing it was difficult due to a lack of police resources for identifying and seizing sanctioned assets.
In October, the government announced $76 million (US$55.6 million) to fund a new dedicated bureau in Joly’s department for sanctions enforcement and additional support for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.