Misappropriation Sanctions : Discovering the Threshold for Freezing Assets of Ousted Kleptocrats with EU Restrictive Measures
Abstract: The misappropriation sanctions refer to the European Union sanctions adopted against foreign kleptocrats to address the suspected theft of public funds. After the regimes had been successfully overthrown in the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt in 2011 as well as the Maidan Revolution in Ukraine in 2014, the misappropriation sanctions were imposed, in all three cases, as the ousted leaders and their close associates were suspected of stealing vast amounts of public funds from their respective countries and hiding the misappropriated funds overseas. The misappropriation sanctions take the form of asset freezes against individuals considered being responsible for “misappropriation of state funds”. The sanctions in question have been extensively reviewed by the Court of Justice of the European Union as numerous of the targeted individuals have applied for annulment of the sanctions in the parts that concern them. The purpose of this thesis is to examine, on the basis of the case law of the CJEU, the threshold for legitimate listing of a targeted individuals in the misappropriation sanctions. It is concluded that threshold vis-à-vis the criteria or the listing grounds must be regarded as reasonable, while the threshold concerning the respect of fundamental rights is creating a heavy burden to bear.
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