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New EU sanctions open door to seizing Helsinki arena from Russian oligarchs Rotenberg and Timchenko, STT reports

The 12th package of EU sanctions against Russia will allow Finnish authorities to seize the Helsinki Halli (formerly Hartwall Arena), an indoor arena owned by the oligarchs Arkady Rotenberg, Boris Rotenberg, and Gennady Timchenko, according to a report by the Finnish News Agency (STT). The EU has previously imposed sanctions on all three businessmen, which are close personal friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to the publication, under the new package, individuals who are subject to sanctions may be given the opportunity to sell their frozen assets. If they agree to sell, their assets may be unblocked for six months, but the proceeds of the sale will remain frozen.

If they refuse to sell, the assets are confiscated. According to STT, property can be expropriated in cases of “public need,” subject to government approval. The decision can be appealed. The owner of the property will receive compensation, but in the case of Helsinki Halli, the funds will be frozen.

The land under Helsinki Halli is owned by the City of Helsinki. The arena has been out of use since last spring, and at the end of 2022 there were reports in the Finnish media of Timchenko and Rotenbergs' intention to sell the facility. In September 2023, Timchenko's charge d'affaires in Finland, Kai Paananen, confirmed to Helsingin Sanomat that the businessmen had approved the sale of the arena, without disclosing the value of the deal.

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