Call for MPs to Amend Law: Use Frozen Russian Assets for Ukraine Aid

Call for MPs to Amend Law Use Frozen Russian Assets for Ukraine Aid
credit: channel4.

London (Parliament News) – Kremlin critic Bill Browder expresses that US-style legislation would give the UK power to confiscate capital to support Ukrainian military efforts

The Russia critic and anti-corruption campaigner Bill Browder has insisted MPs introduce a US-style law that would permit the government to seize frozen Russian assets to support military efforts in Ukraine.

What US-style law does Browder suggest the UK adopt regarding seized Russian assets for Ukraine aid?

Browder, who became a major campaigner after his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, died in custody in Russia in 2009, conveyed to the UK’s Treasury committee that passing laws similar to Washington’s could “transform the whole nature of the war”, and help move the burden from taxpayers to businesses and individuals subject to sanctions.

“Should Vladimir Putin’s legal rights to his money be more important than the taxpayer of this country’s rights? I don’t think so, and I don’t think any of you would find any objection in any of your constituencies if you went and had that conversation,” Browder suggested to MPs.

“What I think the UK should do is what the US has done: they have now resolved any legal ambiguity, and the United States government has the right to confiscate the money. What I would suggest is done here is some version of the Repo Act,” he stated, referring to a law enacted by US Congress alongside a $61bn aid package.

How much aid could be unlocked from frozen Russian assets if this law is enacted?

The move could initiate similar laws among allies, including the EU, and ultimately unlock up to $300bn in grants from Russian assets that have been frozen as a consequence of sanctions related to the invasion of Ukraine.

The US-born financier declared funding was crucial if Ukraine was to succeed in the conflict, and cautioned that Putin was “banking” on waning resolve in the West. “Quite simply, if the West – the UK, US, EU and other allies – were to impound $300bn, that would change the whole nature of the war,” Browder said.

What argument does Browder make for using confiscated Russian assets to aid Ukraine?

The US-born financier said it would also function as an insurance policy against a potential U-turn on foreign policy in the US if Donald Trump succeeds in the upcoming presidential election. The US currently delivers half the funding for Ukraine. “This money, this $300bn, would solve that problem – it would basically be an insurance policy against that problem.”

Britain has been ramping up force on Western governments to use frozen Russian assets to assist rebuild Ukraine’s war-shattered economy. The foreign secretary, David Cameron, described the World Economic Forum in Davos in January that there were legal, moral and political justifications for action.

However, the EU has fallen short of taking US-style action and only favours utilising the profits from those assets to finance arms supplies to Kyiv. Browder denounced the proposal, saying it was “a typical EU bad compromise”.

What potential consequences does Browder dismiss regarding the impact on financial markets?

Browder told MPs there was no distinction between taking the profits and simply taking the money itself, and that the EU’s objective was a “fudge”. If the US and the UK both supported such legislation it would put more stress on the European Union to “do the right thing in the end”.

He also pushed back against assertions that confiscated sanctioned assets would have a significant impact on financial markets, or flash capital flight to rival financial centres, particularly if allies banded together and passed similar legislation.

How does Browder suggest such legislation could influence China’s behaviour towards Taiwan?

Browder indicated such a law could end up deterring China from striking Taiwan, noting that Beijing had a lot more to lose than Russia. “The note here, if we do this, is that if you launch an unprovoked war of aggression against a neighbouring nation that did nothing, you’re likely to have your foreign exchange reserves confiscated.”

Daniele Naddei

Daniele Naddei is a journalist at Parliament News covering European affairs, was born in Naples on April 8, 1991. He also serves as the Director of the CentroSud24 newspaper. During the period from 2010 to 2013, Naddei completed an internship at the esteemed local radio station Radio Club 91. Subsequently, he became the author of a weekly magazine published by the Italian Volleyball Federation of Campania (FIPAV Campania), which led to his registration in the professional order of Journalists of Campania in early 2014, listed under publicists. From 2013 to 2018, he worked as a freelance photojournalist and cameraman for external services for Rai and various local entities, including TeleCapri, CapriEvent, and TLA. Additionally, between 2014 and 2017, Naddei collaborated full-time with various newspapers in Campania, both in print and online. During this period, he also resumed his role as Editor-in-Chief at Radio Club 91.
Naddei is actively involved as a press officer for several companies and is responsible for editing cultural and social events in the city through his association with the Medea Fattoria Sociale. This experience continued until 2021. Throughout these years, he hosted or collaborated on football sports programs for various local broadcasters, including TLA, TvLuna, TeleCapri, Radio Stonata, Radio Amore, and Radio Antenna Uno.
From 2016 to 2018, Naddei was employed as an editor at newspapers of national interest within the circuit, including Internazionale24, Salute24, and OggiScuola. Since 2019, Naddei has been one of the creators of the Rabona television program "Calcio è Passione," which has been broadcast on TeleCapri Sport since 2023.