Belgium expects to use $2.4 billion in tax on frozen Russian assets to fund Ukraine

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgium, where most frozen Russian central bank assets are held, said on Wednesday it expects to collect 2.3 billion euros ($2.44 billion) in taxes on the assets and use it to help reconstruct Ukraine, a spokesperson for Belgium’s prime minister said on Wednesday.

The European Union along with the Group of Seven countries have been discussing whether they could use the interest made on over 300 billion euros of immobilised Russian public money to fund Ukraine.

Over 200 billion of that amount is held in Europe with around 125 billion managed by Belgian clearing house Euroclear.

Euroclear declined to comment.

The European Commission said in July it would present a proposal on whether there was a legally sound way to use the funds once the G7 agreed in principle.

“We only needed EU approval to use the interest. We are simply applying the Belgian tax code, which is our competence,” a spokesperson for Belgium’s prime minister said.

Belgium expects to gather 625 million euros ($663.81 million) from 2023 tax revenues on frozen Russian assets and an estimated 1.7 billion euros ($1.81 billion) in 2024.

“Last year, it was very clear to us that the taxation on the proceeds of those assets should go 100% to the Ukrainian population,” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo told reporters earlier on Wednesday.

“That fund will be used for buying military equipment. We will do that in consultation; as well it will be used for humanitarian support.”

($1 = 0.9412 euros)

($1 = 0.9415 euros)

(Reporting by Julia Payne; additional reporting by Huw Jones in London; Editing by Alison Williams and Christina Fincher)