Luxembourg authorises some frozen Russian assets to be unblocked

... | December 20, 2022

Luxembourg authorises some frozen Russian assets to be unblocked

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Luxembourg's finance ministry on Tuesday said it had authorised the release of certain frozen funds or economic resources held at the Clearstream settlement house by Russia's National Settlement Depository (NSD). The general licence issue should allow non-sanctioned Russian investors to transfer assets from the NSD, Russia's domestic paying agent that was sanctioned by the European Union in June, to other locations. Luxembourg's finance ministry said in a statement that funds would be released "on the condition that these funds or economic resources are necessary for the termination by 7 January 2023 of operations, contracts or other agreements concluded with, or otherwise involving, that entity before 3 June 2022." Analysts from Otkritie Investments wrote that Luxembourg appeared to have taken numerous appeals from Russian depositories and investors into account.

"This is a clear and positive signal that gives grounds to expect a decision on the issue of unblocking securities of Russian private investors," Otkritie analysts said. Owned by MOEX Group, which also runs Russia's largest exchange,, the NSD, is equivalent to the Euroclear and Clearstream settlement and clearing houses, and plays an important role in the country's financial system as an intermediary with international markets. Russia had planned to use the NSD to service Eurobonds, before sanctions against Moscow were imposed for sending tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in late February.

The EU sanctions on the NSD, as well as other Western measures aimed at restricting Russia's access to global financial infrastructure, have blocked many Russian investors' access to securities held in jurisdictions outside Russia. The NSD said it had received its first general licence from the European regulator. "Comments and interpretations of the text will be given later, after consultation with the group's legal consultant," the NSD said.

(Reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya and Alexander Marrow; editing by Grant McCool)