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UKRAINE

Yachts, houses and bank accounts: France draws up list of Russian oligarchs’ property for seizure

France is drawing up a list of property owned by Russian oligarchs including luxury cars and yachts that can be seized under EU sanctions imposed following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Yachts, houses and bank accounts: France draws up list of Russian oligarchs' property for seizure
The French Riviera has long been a favoured playground for Russian oligarchs. Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

The French Riviera has long been a playground for ultra-wealthy Russians, with many spending their summers on yachts or in their luxury villas on the Mediterranean coast.

“At the request of the president, we are continuing a full survey of the financial assets, real estate, yachts and luxury vehicles (in France) which belong to Russian personalities targeted by European sanctions,” Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said Monday.

He added that France was also working on identifying the property of other Russians who might hit by further rounds of sanctions “because of their proximity with the Russian government.”

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, speaking beside Le Maire after a Monday morning meeting of France’s Defence Council, said measures would be taken “in a very short space of time” against “Russian propaganda organs” which were responsible for “disinformation” in Europe.

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen announced on Sunday that the European Union would ban Russian state media Russia Today – known as RT – and Sputnik. RT has a substantial operation in France, employing more than 100 people. 

French President Emmanuel Macron spearheaded diplomatic efforts to prevent a war in Ukraine and held more than six hours of talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Moscow on February 7th.

After Putin informed him of his decision to officially recognise two Russian-backed separatist provinces in eastern Ukraine last week, a prelude to his invasion, Macron warned him of the reaction, the Journal du Dimanche newspaper reported on Sunday.

“You know there will be very severe consequences,” the French president reportedly said. “You shouldn’t underestimate them.”

READ ALSO Visas, flight bans and property seizure: How the EU’s sanctions will affect France

Member comments

  1. When a country starts seizing property because it might have been bought with so-called “dirty money” or they take issue with the person that bought it, that country has taken a very slippery path.

  2. Sanctions like this is a form of economic warfare I hope the EU knows what is doing by taking such aggressive actions, Putin’s Russia is a tough Nation and actions like these might only escalate tensions. Diplomacy the ultimate way of resolving this crisis.

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HEALTH

French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

After the seismic decision of the US Supreme Court on Friday, French MPs are calling for the right to abortion in France to be protected by the constitution.

French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

Lawmakers from French President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party are to propose a parliamentary bill on Saturday that would enshrine the right to abortion in the constitution. 

The move comes after the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 “Roe v. Wade” decision on Friday.

“In France we guarantee and advance the rights of women. We protect them,” said Aurore Bergé – the head of Renaissance in the Assemblée nationale and one of the key sponsors of the bill. 

Another co-sponsor, Marie-Pierre Rixain tweeted: “What happens in elsewhere cannot happen in France. We must protect the right to abortion for future generations. 

In 2018 and 2019, Emmanuel Macron’s party – which back then was known as La République en Marche – refused to back bills proposed by left-wing party, La France Insoumise, to enshrine abortion rights into the constitution. 

In a Saturday interview with France Inter, Bergé suggested that the success of Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National during parliamentary elections earlier this month had created a sense of newfound urgency. 

She described the far-right MPs as “fierce opponents of women’s access to abortion” and said it was important “to take no risk” in securing it. 

READ MORE France’s Macron condemns US abortion ruling

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has come out in support of the bill. 

The left-wing opposition block, NUPES, also backs it and had planned to propose an identical piece legislation of its own on Monday. 

Macron is seeking parliamentary allies to pass reforms after his formation lost its majority in legislative elections earlier this month.

The legal timeframe to terminate a pregnancy in France was extended from 12 to 14 weeks in the last legislature.

Changing the constitution requires the National Assembly and Senate to adopt the same text, then a three-fifths majority of parliament sitting in congress. The other option is a referendum.

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