Belgium has unblocked some Russian assets

According to the media, Bank Saint Petersburg has received a license from the Belgian Treasury to unblock its assets worth about $110 million frozen on the account of the National Settlement Depository (NSD) in the Belgian depository Euroclear Bank. However, the license concerns only the bank's own funds but not those of its clients.

At the end of January 2023, the Moscow Arbitration Court satisfied in full the claim of the Bank "Saint Petersburg" to recover from Euroclear 107 million dollars and 489 million euro in losses and court expenses. The Bank's funds were credited to NSD's account with Euroclear. However, the Bank wasn’t able to receive these assets because Euroclear imposed restrictions on the disposal of funds in the National Settlement Depository’s accounts. The Russian court found that the suspension of transactions was solely at the initiative of Euroclear before the official ban on cooperation with NSD was imposed.

The court ruling may have influenced the Belgian Treasury's decision to issue a license. However, there is an opinion that the Russian bank will be able to use it only after receiving approvals from the British and American agencies, since the US and the UK have imposed sanctions on the credit institution.

Until July 24, 2023, Russian investors who have not fallen under the European sanctions may submit requests to the Ministries of Finance of Belgium and Luxembourg (in respect of funds in the accounts of another major European depositary, Clearstream) to unblock their assets. It is reported that over a thousand applications have been filed to the Belgian authority alone. Previously, positive decisions have already been made with respect to certain individuals, but the issuance of a license to Bank Saint Petersburg is the first publicly confirmed case of unblocking of assets of a securities trader.