As in Europe, was arrested the property of foreign states

Associate Professor, University of Oxford Antonios Tsanakopulos told DW, how the procedure of arrest in the EU and how often there are such precedents.

On Wednesday, June 17, the former Yukos shareholders have begun the alienation of Russian property abroad in compensation owed to them by the decision of the Hague Court of 50 billion dollars. Russian assets have been arrested in Belgium and France. This is one of the rare cases where the plaintiff’s claim on the arrest of state property is successful. In an interview with DW he told an assistant professor of international law at the Law Faculty of the University of Oxford Antonios Tsanakopulos and explained why.

DW: What is the procedure for seizure of property belonging to a foreign state?

Antonios Tsanakopulos: This process is actually no different from the execution of any decision of the local court for the confiscation of property. That is if your debtor does not pay the debts, you simply seek the arrest of the property, sell it and get the money.

In the case of state-owned property the procedure is exactly the same. The plaintiff has the decision of the arbitral tribunal, which he sends to the national courts of the country where the property to be seized. If the assets are located, for example, in France, you send the decision to the French court, which he must recognize and fulfill. Execution of the decision means that the control over the assets transferred to the authorities of the country where they are located. Subsequently they may be, for example, are sold at auction.

But in this case, the matter is complicated by the fact that it is a state property, which is immune from seizure. That has immunity and property companies, which are public institutions.

- What are the assets covered by the immunity?

- It applies to a large number of assets. For example, the arrest can not be subject to any diplomatic property. In addition, if you are trying to achieve the arrest of the company’s assets, which is a government agency, you have to prove that the property in one way or another has to do with the company. For the plaintiff is an additional obstacle.

Immunity does not have the assets that are used solely for commercial purposes. This can be anything from a building and a bank account to the aircraft. Such property is subject to seizure. If a foreign country or company has bank accounts, which are subject to arrest, the bank must freeze these accounts. The aircraft in the event of arrest will be detained at the airport, the building will come under the control of the authorities, and it is located in the organization should release him.

- As part of an attempt to arrest the property of a foreign state in Europe are successful?

20 June 2015

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