The prosecutors of France have called for a probe into the assets owned by Russian oligarchs, as per stated by a legal source.
The investigation is expected to look into possible money laundering and corruption.
The investigation comes following anti-graft group Transparency International filed a legal case against oligarchs in France in May.
Meanwhile, France has frozen Russian-owned assets worth billions of euros from the day since Russia called full-scale military operation against Ukraine in February, adding luxury yachts, ski chalets and property.
Several reports have revealed that the country’s Mediterranean coast, high-end ski resorts and Parisian real estate market have long been favored destinations for Russian cash for investment & leisure.
As per the statement issued by Transparency International France last month, “The ambitions of the sanctions regime against Russia and the first asset seizures are running into difficulties in identifying the assets owned by sanctioned individuals.”
It added as it filed its case, “In France, as elsewhere, the hunt for goods owned by oligarchs along with others close to the Russian regime is at a standstill.”
According to the statement issued by the government of France, “It faces some severe hurdles in identifying as well as seizing assets that overseas shell companies often own.
At the same time, Transparency International stated that it had “drawn up an inventory of real estate assets in France of several oligarchs along with people close to the Russian regime.”
It mentioned that it possessed proof of how the money used to pay for them came from wrong sources.
European Union nations have frozen assets worth 13.8 billion euros ($14.1 billion) which are directly linked to sanctioned Russian & Belarusian individuals, as per figures from July 12.
So far, the EU has adopted six(6) sanction packages against Russia, which includes a ban on most Russian oil imports that was earlier approved in June.
The French investigation will be led by specialised investigators at the Central Office for the Repression of Major Financial Crime, part of the National Financial Prosecutors’ Office.