EU sanctions watch

With the help of their corrupt networks, kleptocrats steal billions from their citizens every year. The European Union has imposed misappropriation sanctions against high level officials and other people suspected of corruption to freeze their assets.

Sanctioned people by country

We are documenting the people under these sanctions and analysing sanctions as a tool against corruption.

How do misappropriation sanctions work?

Following the revolutions in 2011 in Tunisia and Egypt and 2014 in Ukraine, the Council of the European Union imposed misappropriation sanctions on people suspected of corruption from the ousted regimes. These require that any assets relating to people on the list, including houses and bank accounts, are frozen in all EU Member States.

Are misappropriation sanctions effective as a tool against corruption?

Our research shows that the effectiveness of misappropriation sanctions should be questioned.

  • Sanctions have been successful at signalling political support to the new governments of Tunisia, Egypt and Ukraine.
  • Very few stolen assets have been returned back to these countries and some individuals have already been delisted.
  • Sanctions for possible corruption have only been applied in these three cases, and criteria for listing are unclear.

Why should the private sector care about misappropriation sanctions?

As well as assisting the countries of origin, businesses have a role and responsibilities to both report and to act when there is a suspicion that they are dealing with people subject to sanctions.


  • The European Court of Justice annuls Ukrainian sanctions – what now?

    The European Court of Justice in its decision of the 11 July 2019 annulled the 2014-2018 EU sanctions that had been in force to freeze the assets of several high-ranking former Ukrainian officials since 2013, including those of former president Yanukovych. These asset freezes had been put in place after the Ukrainian revolution to support[…]

  • Freeze, confiscate, restore? Swiss ideas for future EU sanctions

    This article is drawn from Clara Portela’s report for CiFAR – Sanctioning kleptocrats: An assessment of EU misappropriation sanctions written for CiFAR’s EU Sanctions Watch project. The blog was initially written for the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and can be read in full on their website.  Sanctions for ‘misappropriation’ have proved their worth in forging ties[…]

  • What are the EU misappropriation sanctions and what are we doing about them?

    With the help of their corrupt networks, kleptocrats steal billions from their citizens every year. One of the tools the European Union has at its disposal to fight kleptocrats are sanctions that freeze their assets. On 6th of March, at a Brussels event co-organised by our partners at Transparency International EU, CiFAR launched EU Sanctions Watch –[…]