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EU Court OKs Freeze of Ukrainians’ Assets

(CN) — The European General Court on Thursday upheld a decision by EU lawmakers to freeze the assets of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and two others in response to the crisis in Ukraine.

However, the EU's lower court ruled that the first year of sanctions — from March 2014 to March 2015 — had been made without sufficient detail of the evidence of wrongdoing.

European lawmakers blacklisted Yanukovych and two others shortly after the crisis in Ukraine began in late 2013, when evidence surfaced that the three had misappropriated state funds and transferred the money to foreign accounts.

Yanukovych fled Ukraine in February 2014 and was officially removed from office in 2015.

While lawmakers did not specify with enough detail why the men's assets should have been frozen for the first year, the Luxembourg-based court said the criteria provided for the second year of blacklisting complied with EU law since it was corroborated by Ukrainian authorities: the men were brought up on criminal charges relating to the misappropriation of state funds in Ukraine.

"The freezing of funds imposed on them contributes, in an effective manner, to facilitating the prosecution of crimes of misappropriation of public funds," the court wrote.

Yanukovych and his cohorts have two months to lodge an appeal with the European Court of Justice.

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