In compliance with the EU sanctions against Russia, Belgium has blocked Russian financial transactions worth EUR 196 billion ($214 billion) and frozen EUR 2.7 billion ($2.94 billion) in assets, the country’s Finance Minister, Vincent Van Peteghem, told Belgian public broadcaster RTBF on April 5.
According to Peteghem, these assets belong to 877 sanctioned individuals and 62 companies. In particular, 1,000 luxury cars were seized in the port of Zeebrugge; they were bound for Russia. A lot of these goods were purchased by Russian entities before EU imposed the sanctions.
Over 23,000 shipping containers have been inspected in Belgian ports so far, with three of them being seized by the authorities, said the minister. They were full of luxury goods being exported to Russia, in violation of the current sanction regime.
Peteghem added that EUR 196 billion in blocked Russian financial transactions was largely due to one of the largest financial instruments clearing companies in the world – Euroclear – operating from Belgium.