Beautiful Virgin Islands

Monday, Feb 26, 2024

More than $400M in Russian assets frozen in VI- Premier Wheatley

More than $400M in Russian assets frozen in VI- Premier Wheatley

As part of sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, more than $400M in Russian assets have been frozen in the Virgin Islands (VI) and millions of dollars in assets have been frozen elsewhere due to information provided to other financial services jurisdictions by the VI.

This is according to Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7).

More than $400m in assets frozen


Delivering a statement during the Sixth Sitting of the Fourth Session of the Fourth House of Assembly (HoA) at Save the Seed Energy Centre in Duff’s Bottom, Tortola on July 21, 2022, Premier Wheatley said it was the employment of the Beneficial Ownership Secure Search (BOSS) system, which facilitated efficient information transfer about Russian affiliated holdings that led to the freezing of assets in the Virgin Islands.

He said the Governor’s Office, as the competent authority for sanctioning in the territory, has received confirmation that assets with an estimated value of more than four hundred million dollars have been frozen as of May 11, 2022.

Delivering a statement during the Sixth Sitting of the Fourth Session of the Fourth House of Assembly (HoA) at Save the Seed Energy Centre in Duff’s Bottom, Tortola on July 21, 2022, Premier Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) said it was the employment of the BOSS System, which facilitated efficient information transfer about Russian affiliated holdings that led to the freezing of assets in the Virgin Islands.


Info provided to other jurisdictions


“Separately, I am advised further that it is perceivable that information provided by BVI to other jurisdictions has contributed to the freezing of assets worth millions of dollars elsewhere.”

Dr Wheatley said although the figures of assests seized in “some of our competitive jurisdictions” are much higher, “we ought to be careful not to lose sight” of the fact that those jurisdictions are anchored more strongly on a base comprising hedge, private equity and other investment funds.

He said the consequence of this is that the imposition of a sanction on a single entity can sometimes be measured in billions of dollars.

“Overall, sums of dollars are not a proxy for commitment or effectiveness and we should be confident that we have done and have the resources to continue to do our part.”

Increase in requests for info


The Premier also disclosed that so far for 2022, the Financial Investigation Agency has recorded almost 500 requests for information, inclusive of requests under the Exchange of Notes.

“Whilst all of these were not specifically related to Russian sanctions there was a noticeable increase in the number of Beneficial Ownership related requests submitted between February and April this year, 2022, undoubtedly linked to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.”

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