Freezing of the assets of Russian oligarchs

2023 01 17 Giacardi

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Principality is, in accordance with its international commitments, applying the European Union sanctions which freeze the assets of individuals and organisations with links to the Kremlin. These complex sanctions impact both the individuals targeted and those with whom they have links.

Formally, the economic sanctions are included in decisions issued by the Ministry of State and published on the Prince’s Government’s website.

Monaco’s asset freezing procedure is governed by Ordinance No. 8.664, dated 26 May 2021, as amended.
This new ordinance brings together, in a single text, the provisions governing procedures for asset freezing in relation to the fight against terrorism and those relating to the implementation of economic sanctions. The procedures were previously covered by two separate ordinances.

General information


  • Restriction of the right of the individuals sanctioned to freely dispose of their assets;
  • Ban introduced preventing third parties from directly or indirectly making assets available to sanctioned individuals;
  • Ban introduced preventing third parties from providing services to sanctioned individuals.

Assets affected:

  • Funds, including financial assets (deposits, life insurance payments, interest, dividends, etc.);
  • Economic resources, i.e. any assets that can be used to obtain funds (property, cars, yachts, jewellery, artworks, etc.) or services, including financial services.

Scope of the freeze

Assets which are owned, held or controlled, wholly or jointly, directly or indirectly, by sanctioned individuals are frozen.

While direct ownership, holding or control poses few difficulties, indirect or joint ownership, holding or control requires the utmost caution.

Asset freezing measures apply to the assets of entities (companies, trusts, etc.) of which the sanctioned individuals are the effective beneficiaries under Monegasque law.

Income generated by agreements concluded with sanctioned individuals is also frozen. There is, however, no requirement to terminate agreements.

The fate of contracts which require payments to be made by sanctioned individuals depends on whether there is an exemption:

  • If the contract is not covered by the exemptions set out in the regulations, it may be terminated in light of the default by the sanctioned individuals;
  • If the contract may be covered by an exemption, the obligation to execute agreements in good faith means that it cannot be terminated unless the Minister of State refuses to release funds.

Appealing a decision to freeze or a refusal to release funds

Decisions to freeze assets may be challenged through the Court of First Instance within the two months following the date of publication.

In addition, individuals sanctioned under a decision to freeze assets or any third party with a claim to the frozen assets may ask the Minister of State to release some assets where an exemption is permitted by the provisions which govern the economic sanctions.

Decisions rejecting requests to release assets may be appealed via the Supreme Court.