Despite its declarative support for such sanctions, Romania has made few efforts to freeze Russian-owwned businesses and assets in Romania, which are proceeding mainly at the same pace as before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
A check by BIRN of Russian-owned companies and individuals in Romania whose goods or assets were blocked found out that only a few companies with ties to Russia had been sanctioned by March 2022 by the National Tax Administration Agency, ANAF.
The six were: MMK METALURJI SANAY TICARET VE LIMAN ISLETMECILIGI A.S, METAOINVEST TRADING AG, TMK EUROPE GMBH, TMK ASSETS SRL, TMK ARTROM SA and AEROFLOT.
In July and August 2022, ANAF issued two orders to unblock funds and economic resources owned by TMK ASSETS SRL and TMK ARTROM SA.
Romanian Foreign Minister Luminita Odobescu said on August 29 that Bucharest supports the use of Russian assets frozen and immobilised on EU territory to reconstruct Ukraine after the war.
“We reviewed the measures aimed at sanctioning and holding Russia accountable. We agreed on the relevance of the coordinated sanctions adopted in cooperation with our allies and partners, emphasising strengthening the transatlantic relationship and the actions initiated with the G7,” she said.
“In the case of Russia’s illegal aggression against Ukraine, coordination must take place on three levels: the adoption, implementation and countering of the evasion of sanctions,” Odobescu added during a meeting with her Lithuanian counterpart, Gabrielius Landsbergis, at the Annual Meeting of Romanian Diplomacy.
The Russian group TMK owns the ALRO Slatina alumina plant. This was privatised in 1998 by the group of Russian companies owned by oligarch Oleg Deripaska, currently on the international sanctions list. In the meantime, it came into the possession of the Vimetco company, controlled by the Russian businessman Vitaly Mashitskyi. In March 2022, it underwent management changes and its Russian bosses disappeared.
Many Russian companies in Romania changed their Russian heads shortly before or at the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, replacing them with people of other nationalities to avoid international sanctions.
TMK ASSETS SRL is a company producing tubular steel pipes and profiles based in Slatina. It was controlled by a person previously on the list of sanctions ordered at EU level. Later, it changed its name to ARTROM ASSETS SRL. The Russian billionaire Dmitry Pumpyansky now controls the company, which in 2020 had a turnover of over one billion lei [over 200 million euros].
Previously, in March 2022, former Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca stated that three Russian entities and two natural persons had been identified for sanctions. “[The identified companies] are subject to sanctions by the Romanian authorities. We are obliged to implement decisions taken at European Union level,” said Ciuca.
Source : BalkanInsight