Justice Ministry announces most high-profile case on seizure of Russian assets
Iryna Mudra (photo - Ministry of Justice)

In the near future, the Ministry of Justice will file the largest lawsuit regarding the compensation of Russian assets. The case will concern a group of individuals that has influence over 60% of Ukraine's economy and controls about 1,000 companies, Deputy Minister of Justice Iryna Mudra said in an interview with Forbes.

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"We are now finalizing a lawsuit against a group of individuals that has influence over 60% of Ukraine's economy and has been rooted in it since 2000. This group includes 68 third parties who have indirect influence and nine defendants. We're talking up to 1,000 different companies," said the official who is responsible in the Ministry of Justice for the recovery of assets of Russians in Ukraine.

The deputy minister specified that each of the companies should be analyzed, extracts from the registers should be obtained and questions should be submitted to law enforcement agencies, and international partners should be contacted, "because it is clear that there are a large number of offshore jurisdictions."

"According to such cases, the collection of information can last more than six months. Therefore, the sanctions were imposed in October, and the lawsuit is only [being filed] now, because we were waiting for information from other jurisdictions," said Mudra.

She emphasized that this will be the most high-profile case for the entire time of the Ministry of Justice in terms of recovery of sanctioned assets.

Mudra declined to comment on whether the VS Energy group's lawsuit would apply, and said it would wait for official announcements.

In total, 6,800 legal entities and individuals are under sanctions in Ukraine. However, only about 300 people own assets in the country, including those who have property in the annexed Crimea and the occupied territories. 40-50 subjects are the so-called Russian oligarchs, whose assets can really work for the country's economy.

So far, the Ministry of Justice has filed lawsuits regarding the confiscation of the property of five of them – Vladimir Yevtushenkov, Mikhail Shelkov, Oleg Deripaska, Yevgeny Giner (currently only regarding shares of PINbank) and Arkady Rotenberg.

Earlier, Ukraine announced the creation of a register of property of Russian oligarchs who have assets in Ukraine.