Ireland has frozen €1.72 billion of assets linked to sanctioned Russian individuals and entities in the wake of the country’s attack on Ukraine in February.
A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs gave the figure to The Irish Times on Tuesday afternoon, saying it was up to date as of last Friday and comes from data reported to it by the Central Bank. Taoiseach Micheál Martin subsequently gave the same information to the Dáil later on Tuesday.
It marks a significant increase from a figure of €839 million that was contained in an EU document in early April covering the extent to which Russian assets had been frozen at that stage across the bloc.
It is believed that activity in Ireland is dominated by financial assets contained in funds and special purpose vehicles (SPVs) in Dublin’s international services hub, rather than the oligarch yacht, jet and luxury property confiscations that have grabbed headlines in other jurisdictions in recent months as a result of western sanctions.
The Central Bank wrote on Monday to a number of business and professional organisations to remind them of its role in overseeing financial sanctions in the State, and of the responsibility of every Irish person to uphold EU prohibitions as Russia’s war against Ukraine continues.
The letters were sent to the Law Society, the Bar of Ireland, individual chambers of commerce, Ibec, IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, accounting bodies and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, among others, asking them to ensure their members were aware of these obligations. It is a criminal offence not to report sanction breaches, or suspected breaches, to An Garda Síochána.
If a business or individual is in possession or control of funds or economic resources of a person or entity that is subject to a financial sanction, they must freeze these and report the matter to the Central Bank through a special sanctions return form.
The EU has adopted six rounds of sanctions against Russia since the outbreak of the Ukraine war, with the latest — targeting Russian oil, banks and military officials — coming into force earlier this month.
EU leaders aim to maintain pressure on Russia at their summit later this week by committing to further work on sanctions, a draft document showed, with gold among assets that may be targeted in a possible next round of measures.
Several sectors including gas remain largely untouched as EU governments avoid measures that could damage their own economies more than Russia’s. Still, Russia has cut back gas supplies to the EU in recent weeks.