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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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POLICE

France proposes getting rid of penalties for ‘minor’ speeding offences

The French government is considering changing speeding laws so that drivers will not lose points on their licence if they are caught going just a few kilometres over the speed limit.

France proposes getting rid of penalties for 'minor' speeding offences

France’s Interior Ministry is considering changing its current rules for minor speeding violations – proposing getting rid of the penalty for drivers who only violate the rule by going just a few kilometres over the speed limit.

The Ministry has not laid out a timeline for when this could come into effect, but they said they are currently in the preliminary stages of studying how the change could be carried out.

“The fine of course remains,” said the Interior Ministry to French daily Le Parisien.

That is to say you can still be fined for going five kilometres over the speed limit, but there might not be any more lost points for driving a couple kilometres over the posted limit. 

READ ALSO These are the offences that can cost you points on your driving licence

Of the 13 million speeding tickets issued each year in France, 58 percent are for speeding violations of less than 5 km per hour over the limit, with many coming from automated radar machines.

How does the current rule work?

The rule itself is already a bit flexible, depending on where the speeding violation occurs.

If the violation happens in an urban area or low-speed zone (under 50 km per hour limit), then it is considered a 4th class offence, which involves a fixed fine of €135. Drivers can also lose a point on their licences as a penalty for this offence. 

Whereas, on highways and high-speed roads, the consequences of speeding by 5 km per hour are less severe. The offence is only considered 3rd class, which means the fixed fine is €68. There is still the possibility of losing a point on your licence, however. 

How do people feel about this?

Pierre Chasseray, a representative from the organisation “40 Millions d’Automobilistes,” thinks the government should do away with all penalties for minor speeding offences, including fines. He told French daily Le Parisien that this is only a “first step.”

Meanwhile, others are concerned that the move to get rid of points-deductions could end up encouraging people to speed, as they’ll think there is no longer any consequence.

To avoid being accused of carelessness, France’s Interior Ministry is also promising to become “firmer” with regards to people who use other people’s licences in order to get out of losing points – say by sending their spouse’s or grandmother’s instead of their own after being caught speeding. The Interior Ministry plans to digitalise license and registration in an effort to combat this. 

Ultimately, if you are worried about running out of points on your licence, there are still ways to recover them.

You can recover your points after six months of driving without committing any other offences, and there are also awareness training courses that allow you to gain your points back. It should be noted, however, that these trainings typically cost between €150 and €250, and they do not allow you to regain more than four points.

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