Czech Republic drafts bill to seize Russian assets

January 19,2024 1074
Czech Republic drafts bill to seize Russian assets

A group of Czech lawmakers has drafted a bill on the ‘Protection of the Security of the Czech Republic.’ The initiative would allow the expropriation of foreign property ‘to safeguard the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and democratic principles of the Czech Republic,’ according to Czech media reports.

The draft law is formulated broadly without specifying its target, but the initiative’s author, Ondřej Kolář of the TOP 09 party, acknowledges that the document primarily targets Russian property. 

The decision to expropriate property will be proposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and approved by the government. The Czech Republic will be required to compensate for the value of the confiscated property. “In the compensation claim, the government determines the amount of compensation for the property,” the document states.

Kolář’s initiative has faced partial criticism, arguing that the proposal contradicts the Czech government’s policy and could assist Russia in financing the war.

“In theory, yes, but the Czech legal system does not allow any other methods of expropriation. I’m afraid this is the only legal option we have. If someone understands that it would be better to expropriate without compensation, they can push it through parliament, which will change our legal system. I won’t oppose that. At the moment, I’m probably not ready to propose it,” said Kolář.

Currently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is studying the proposed initiative and refrains from commenting on it. Similar draft laws are also being analyzed in Latvia and Estonia.

In December, the US proposed to the countries of the G7 to analyze possible ways of confiscating US$300 billion of frozen Russian assets. Ukraine’s partners aim to coordinate the action plan before the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

Earlier, Editor-at-Large at the National Post, columnist at Kyiv Post, and Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, Eurasia Center, author, and publisher Diane Francis, called on the West to confiscate Russian frozen assets as soon as possible.

Cover: Shutterstock

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